Thursday, August 13, 2020
SCOTTeVEST Benefits Community Library, Others, as Retail COVID Journey Evolves
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Laura and Scott Jordan moved SCOTTeVEST from Chicago Sun Valley in 2003.
   
Thursday, July 30, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

On Friday SCOTTeVEST will donate 20 percent of all sales in its flagship Ketchum store to The Community Library.  

Shoppers are invited to stop by the store across from Hotel Ketchum at Leadville and Sixth Street between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to check out the store’s pocket-filled clothing, meet the SCOTTeVEST poodles, which have become celebrities of sorts, and even tour the very unusual environmentally friendly building from the bottom floor to the roof top.

And, perhaps, learn of the journey that SCOTTeVEST has been on since the coronavirus began having an impact in China.

 
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The Jordans finished their apartment in downtown Ketchum six years ago.
 

Scott and Laura Jordan, who founded the digitally-native apparel in 2000 to save the world from a fanny-pack army as business people discarded suits and briefcases for casual wear and gadgets, began feeling the impact of coronavirus earlier than some as they began getting emails from Chinese factories in early February before the first known death of coronavirus in the United States was recorded.

 “As the corona virus outbreaks in China, you should know, all is delayed, all the factories in China cannot open until this month end maybe. Hope you can understand this. We are all staying home…”

“We couldn’t stop talking about it,” Laura Jordan noted. “Can you imagine it? An entire country closing businesses and everyone staying home?”

Weeks later they, too, found themselves staying home as Wood River Valley residents were told to shelter in place and blinking signs appeared at the edges of Ketchum warning people to stay away as Blaine County became the coronavirus hot spot of the world.

 
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Scott Jordan said he is only too happy to have people take pictures of his poodles in his classic BMW.
 

The shutdown came just days before they’d planned to have a huge sample sale and party for tourists and locals during the heart of ski season at their new flagship store in Ketchum.

They saw their sales on Amazon plummet by 90 percent as Amazon warned potential customers of disruptions in supply. Sales on their own website dropped 70 percent. And not a single independent travel store placed a wholesale order through the end of May.

The Jordans compensated by building relationships with customers, asking them to share travel photos and stories, which they compiled into entertaining Armchair Traveler emails during quarantine.

They took note of customers who described how SCOTTeVEST’s many pockets were perfect for tissues, sanitizer, gloves, masks and wipes. And they laughed as others offered: “One pocket for the beer, one for the remote, one for the snacks, one for the phone.”

 
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Scott Jordan loves to watch the sun rise from his corner bed on his rooftop patio.
 

They held a soft opening for their new store over Memorial Day Weekend but it was “a far cry from the pre-pandemic planned pandemonium,” Laura Jordan noted. They recruited locals who work in the tourist industry to send customers their way.

And now they’re partnering with local nonprofits, such as The Hunger Coalition and Mountain Humane, hoping to introduce more customers to their store while benefitting the charities at the same time. All they ask is that beneficiaries send out notices to supporters alerting them of sales.

Those who can’t make it to Friday’s sale in person can still have 20 percent of their purchase made online at www.scottevest.com donated to The Community Library by typing “Community Library” in the order notes at checkout.

“The Gold Mine, which benefits the Community Library is dear to our heart as for many years it’s the only place you could buy SCOTTeVESTs in the valley,” said Scott Jordan. “We’re trying to give back to the community and, selfishly, get traffic to our business at the same time.”

Carter Hedberg, the library’s director of Philanthropy, is thrilled that the library is the beneficiary of Friday’s sales.

“It’s a great way for them to celebrate their commitment to the community and we’re honored that they’ve chosen the library for this round,” he said. “We reopened the library as soon as we could because we wanted to provide access to computers, particularly for those out of work.

“We’re seeing about 80 percent of the patrons we did last summer. We’ve been able to use the outdoor spaces that we had just finished to extend the library to have outdoor programs featuring poet Richard Blanco and Hemingway author Phil Huss.  And we’ve been pleased to find that so many of the things we incorporated in our renovation, such as the self-checkout system and the book kenneling system, are coming in handy during COVID.”

Laura Jordan says many people would be surprised to know that SCOTTeVEST’s inventory has expanded beyond the vests it was known for in its early days to include dress clothing, blouses and skirts. Everything has one thing in common--even pajamas and underwear feature pockets for cell phone, sunglasses, wallets and keys.

In addition to holding sales to benefit nonprofit organizations, the Jordans want to open their multi-level building up to different groups who might want to use it for fundraisers or other events.

SCOTTeVEST occupies the lower floors with a playground for the dogs, gym and more. Their dream apartment occupies on the top floor with a gallery for photos of standard poodles and climbing wall on the stairs. Fountains, telescopes, hot tubs and more occupy outdoor patios and the rooftop.

The Jordans have already opened their rooftop to Gather Yoga while that business was awaiting a permit to hold yoga in the park.

The building itself features environmentally friendly Trombe walls with small portholes that regulate the temperature so energy costs are almost insignificant. Bathrooms feature black quartz and white quartz.

“We just want to make it available to different organizations, even businesses,” said Scott Jordan. “As you can tell, you could hold a socially distanced event for up to 200 with 50 people on one floor and others spread out throughout the building.”

 

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