Story last updated at 12/11/2013 - 5:39 pm
South Franklin Street is not the busiest of downtown Juneau areas in early December. But Trove’s storefront—and the storefront of the vacant space next to it— is colorful, seasonal proof that it doesn’t have to be the case.
On an early December, post-Thanksgiving weekday, partners Tamala Booton and Anissa Jackson decorated the front of an empty store next door with Trove products, Christmas trees, snowflakes, and snow. (Partners own the building and have rented out the space for next summer.)
Inside, the store was busy with customers shopping for presents — or for themselves.
Enlivening the south end of Franklin Street during the winter was part of partners’ goals when they began the store. They took courage, they said, from year-round South Franklin businesses Invisible World, The Red Lady, and The Red Dog Saloon.
“Our goal here, or our mission, was simply to bring cool and interesting products that you don’t see everywhere else in Juneau,” said partner Michael Tripp. “And we wanted to bring a successful year-round store down to this end of Franklin Street and see if it would work.”
“Juneau’s retail core in the wintertime is centered more on Front Street,” Tripp said. “That’s our biggest challenge. But our customers come down. They fight through the wind, the snow, the lack of parking… and we’re very grateful for that.”
Tripp is also a partner in the Alaska Shirt Company, founded in 1995. In winter shows, he and buyers for that store found “all kinds of cool stuff” that just didn’t fit with the Alaska Shirt Company’s aesthetic.
“We always had the idea of having a year-round store we could actually have those treasures in,” he said.
And so, in the summer of 2011, Trove became a place for treasures from all over the world. Trove carries products from a wide variety of countries, from England, to Vietnam, to Peru, to many different places in the U.S.
“We scour all four corners of the country, and buy overseas as well,” Tripp said.
Tripp said one of his favorite products are “prosperity hens” from Peru. They’re sewn from reclaimed fabrics. Many Trove products are created from reclaimed items — right now, for example, they’re selling Christmas tree ornaments from Vietnam made from rolled up Mentos and other wrappers.
One of store manager Meghan Johns’ favorite products is Butter nail polish, which she said has natural ingredients, in contrast to most chemical nail polishes.
Trove also has books. It’s got cards. It’s got little fabric magnets shaped like stuffed birds. It’s got jewelry — another of Johns’ favorites. It’s got all kinds of ticking clocks in a variety of funny faces and shapes. It’s got sweaters, and lanterns, and scarves, and wallets, and purses, and little magnetic word games. They’re making little terrariums with small plants they’ve been cultivating as a seasonal item.
The store’s offerings are always changing: another Trove goal is to keep things fresh and interesting both for customers and employees.
“It’s a discovery of new things that’s really important for us, as well as our customers,” Tripp said. “We have a few staples, but we really try to turn over the inventory.”
Trove is located at 406 South Franklin Street.
Find out more at troveshops.com.
Making Local Work is a bi-weekly feature sponsored by Alaska Pacific Bank. If you have a Southeast Alaskan business you’d like to see featured, email email@example.com.