It turns out John Frechette and Christian Burch are natural-born shopkeepers. But they certainly didn’t know that in 2010, when they opened their first store, Made, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “We don’t have a retail background,” Burch freely admits. “And I don’t even know the rules of retail.” That fresh approach is undoubtedly one of the secrets to the pair’s success.Burch, a Kansas native, had come to town in 1994 to attend the Teton Science Schools graduate program before reinventing himself as a male nanny, teaching 10th-grade world literature, and writing two successful young adult novels (The Manny Files and Hit the Road, Manny). Frechette, a Bostonian, arrived in Wyoming in 2007 to work with a real estate development group that ended up folding. By then, he had already met Burch, fallen in love with Jackson, and was looking for a way to stay.After learning to make fused-glass belt buckles and selling them for a summer, Frechette had the idea to start a small shop that would showcase a variety of handmade American artisan goods—apparel, jewelry, gifts, tableware and more. He and Burch decided to call it Made. “It was just a mom-and-pop shop,” Burch explains. “John contacted different artists to carry their work, and it just caught on.” Frechette adds, “We are proud to present an option where you can buy American-made goods.” And, says Burch, “The people in Jackson Hole are really supportive of small businesses.”
The welcoming storefronts of Made and Mountain Dandy are located across the Gaslight Alley boardwalk from one another, with an additional, spacious showroom nearby.
Five years and one thriving store later, the duo opened a second “brother” shop for housewares and furnishings with a collegiate/men’s club vibe. Inspired by Burch’s popular style blog, they named the new shop Mountain Dandy. “We go on buying trips together, and we end up at estate sales and in people’s barns, finding vintage pieces and filling up a truck,” Burch says. “We never know what we’re going to get.” They added a larger Mountain Dandy showroom last year.
The eclectic merchandise is meticulously selected and displayed.
On any given day, you’ll find a sophisticated yet fun mix of artful Americana, quintessentially Western and vintage industrial items that would add a dash of brilliance to any interior design scheme.
The Mountain Dandy aesthetic is eclectic and cool, with a subtle mountain twist. “We try to be really unfussy,” Burch says. “We focus on trying to be different.” And they recognize that Jackson is changing with the times. “Maybe there’s a new aesthetic that’s coming to town,” Burch muses. “Younger people are settling in, and they don’t necessarily want the traditional log cabin and antlers.”
Frechette and Burch like to consider the creative adventure of shopping. “When we go into shops that we like, it’s an experience,” Burch explains. “So that’s what we try to do. We never sit down and say, ‘What are people going to buy this season?’ It’s more: ‘Let’s create this this year.’”
“Running the shops allows us to give artists and makers that we love a voice in Jackson Hole,” says Frechette. Burch adds, “The people in Jackson Hole are really supportive of small businesses.”