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Business Happenings - August 2001

A Natural Place to Shop: Nature's West

Penny and Rex Tanner work hard. They own a large campground-Slickrock Campground— with a gift shop, snack bar, swimming pool and hot tubs. That’s enough to keep anyone busy, but a few years ago, they began looking into expanding their business. Rather than buy another campground, they decided to diversify and go into the retail business. Penny analyzed the market and saw the need for a high-end clothing store where both locals and visitors to Moab could buy attractive, high-quality apparel. Thus, Nature’s West was born in 1995.

Penny has been creative in finding her niche in Moab. During the early years of the business, she experimented with fun and fancy gardening implements, wind chimes, and other outdoor items. She then introduced candles to her shop. These “departments” were in addition to her large selection of men’s and women’s apparel. After five years of operation, she has firmly established herself as one of Moab’s high-end apparel shops.

“The gardening and candles and other gift items were fun,” says Penny, “but what we really need here is a place to buy nice clothing and accessories.”

When you walk into Nature’s West, you’ll see lots of brands you recognize such as Doc Marten’s, Lucky, True Grit and most recently, Levi’s. Until Penny started stocking Levi’s, there was nowhere in Moab to buy these famous brand jeans that most everyone can’t live without.

“It took a lot of work and about five years to land that line,” explains Penny. “I had to video tape the store myself, show them everything else I carried, film Main Street and my storefront. Some of these lines are very strict about where they allow their clothes to be sold. We passed the test, though, and now you can buy Levi’s in Moab.”

"Locals appreciate being able to pick up a new pair of Levi’s for the rodeo or car show. They also appreciate the fact you can buy quality shoes such as Naot and Dansko clogs. “Dankso clogs is probably one of my most successful lines. Everybody loves those clogs,” Penny says.

You can always find something to wear at Nature’s West whether it’s to a street dance, the swimming pool, or a special night out on the town. There are clothes to satisfy anyone who enjoys high quality, distinctive apparel. True Grit is a casual, contemporary western line featuring outdoor themed printed fleece jackets, vests, and shirts. Lucky clothing appeals to the younger set. Penny’s line of hats not only gives you protection from the sun, but also allows you to make a bold fashion statement.
“Sometimes people just want something new to wear and they decide that at the last minute. I’m glad we can be here to help out locals who have an eye for fashion and need something to wear on the spur of the moment,” says Penny.

Perhaps the best thing about Nature’s West is that you’ll find things you can’t find at the mall - any mall! Penny loves to go to the apparel shows and see what’s new so she can introduce it to Moab. She carries both men’s and women’s apparel and believes there is something that both a mother and a daughter, or a father and a son, would enjoy wearing and look good in.

“I try to appeal to locals first,” she says. “My heart is with the people who live here. I listen to what they want and what they need and try to buy accordingly. As it turns out, the selection makes people traveling to our town happy, too.”

In an effort to make shopping at Nature’s West even easier for locals, Penny offers layaways. She can also special order in special sizes or colors that she may not have in the store. Nature’s West also stays open most of the year. The store is always open through the holidays, Penny emphasizes, and in 2002 will be open all 12 months. During the summer season, Nature’s West is open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. Winter hours she closes at 5 p.m. and is open five days a week.

Besides running a retail store and campground, Penny and Rex are very active in community issues and events. Rex can often be found at city and county council meetings and is on the Grand County Search and Rescue Team. Penny recently coordinated a smashing 4th of July Celebration for the community, and her new project for fall is the Fat Tire Festival. Penny is focusing on the Fat Tire 2002 Swimsuit Edition Fashion Show. Nature’s West will contribute to the show with a swimsuit fashion show. Asked if she was going to model, Penny deferred, and said she was hoping for Yasmine Bleeth instead! For a preview of swimsuits-and other tempting ensembles-visit Nature’s West today. Nature's West is located at 50 North Main, in the heart of Moab. When you stop in to see what Nature's West has to offer, please be sure to mention that you read about Nature's West in the Moab Happenings.

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