The Velvet Moose, located at 76 N. Main St. in Driggs, Idaho, offers
a wide variety of clothing, home décor, and gifts that are hard to find anywhere else.
When Deborah DeSmit opened the store in May 2021, she wanted to make sure she stocked items that other stores in the area didn’t have. Her goal was to expand the kind of offerings available and be a good partner to other retailers by not competing for the same business.
So far, her strategy has been working.
Inside The Velvet Moose, shoppers can find clothing and accessories for the whole family, home décor, glassware, and a wide range of gift items — from candles to humorous greeting cards. Deborah describes her inventory as “a few things of lots of stuff.” Many of the novelty items are inspired by the valley — such as T-shirts with “West Slope, Best Slope” or glassware engraved with the western slope of the Tetons. While inventory is always changing, Deborah says she tries to cater to the diverse community that lives in and visits the area.
“It’s my firm belief that everyone should be able to walk into a retail store and buy something new, regardless of their price point,” Deborah says. “We all have days where we need retail therapy.”
In alignment with her mission to be a good community partner, Deborah stocks artwork, jewelry, woodwork, and other handcrafted pieces from local artisans. She looks for unique items, such as the crystal bead necklaces that feature different phrases in Morse code, like, “I love you to the moon and back.”
“I feel super fortunate to be in the valley, there are so many creative people here,” Deborah says. “My focus is to support them and get their product in as many hands as possible.”
For customers who don’t live in the area, The Velvet Moose also sells their wares online.
Deborah also notes the importance of supporting local nonprofits. She often donates a percentage of her daily sales and has plans to host “Sip and Shop” fundraising events, in which the store stays open late and serves beverages and bites, donating a portion of the sales.
Although relatively new to the area, Deborah says she instantly felt at home in Driggs. She and her partner arrived in 2019 after spending two weeks in Idaho searching for their “next chapter.” The couple, who previously lived in Florida, missed the changing of the seasons, and Driggs felt like the right place for two active people who like to hunt, fish, and be outside.
That first visit is also how Deborah came up with the shop’s name, The Velvet Moose. During the trip, they spotted a massive moose whose antlers were covered in velvet and were blown away by its beauty. Whenever her friends asked about her trip, she mentioned the moose, referring to him as “the velvet moose.” One of the photos she snapped that day now hangs on the wall at the store.
Deborah herself grew up in a small town in Illinois, which instilled in her a dedication to being a good neighbor. She loves that all the small business owners in Driggs support each other.
“We love the community, we love the small town feel and how supportive everyone is of each other,” Deborah says. “It’s just 360-degrees of beautiful here.”