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Business Happenings - May 2003

Everything under the Sun: Desert Sun Gifts
by Marvelee Brewer


Desert Sun Gifts
71 North Main
Moab UT 84532
(435) 259-5448

As one heads down Main Street Moab, about midway through the block between 100 North and Center on the west side of Main, a little shop stands with open doors inviting customers to enter its immaculate, ornate doorway. A single plant on a decorative plant stand adorns each side of the walkway leading up to the main entrance. Etched in the concrete at the threshold of the door, a hand crafted sun, splashed with color, extends both inside and out of the entryway. Inside, the shop is bustling with activity. This is no ordinary day. It is the beginning of Easter weekend with Jeep Safari in full swing. The lady behind the counter can be overheard visiting with a patron from Wisconsin, just passing through unsuspectingly during one of the very busiest weekends of the year in this desert hideaway on Highway 191.

This scene is not uncommon in a town that caters to tourists, nor is this shop vastly different from the many other shops that line Moab’s Main Street. This particular shop is the home of Desert Sun Gifts, owned by Nate and Jacque Knight, but there’s no question but what this is Jacque’s baby. On this particular day, Jacque can be seen hustling around the shop setting out merchandise and visiting with customers. She greets each patron warmly, smiling as she goes about her activities. “I love to shop,” states Jacque. “I try to have something for everyone.” The pride she takes in this business is everywhere evident. It was selected for the Beautification Award from the Moab Area Chamber of Commerce for the Month of April 2003.

From high end artwork to moderately priced children’s toys and sundry gifts, the shop is packed with a veritable feast of goods including a wide selection of jewelry (Native American pieces and others), pottery, candles, glass ornaments, metal arts, handbags, clothing, footwear, hats, natural soaps and many other unique gift ideas, keepsakes and knickknacks. Among Jacque’s favorites are her lines of Kathy Clooney artwork and stationary as well as the sequined, beaded handbags in various motifs. Other lines include such brands as Earth Creations clothing which claims an “earth friendly” manufacturing process, Oobç and Whimsy (childrens’ jewelry and sun wear). Live cactus arts and wild blackberry honey (made in Utah) round out the selection, as well as a line of candies packaged specifically for Desert Sun Gifts.

Nate and Jacque aren’t new to the entrepreneurial scene. Long-time Moab residents, the pair have been involved in several area businesses. Nate’s current ventures include Nate Knight Accounting and the Aarchway Inn. Jacque was a partner in a fabric shop in Moab before opening the gift shop in 1994 when it became apparent that the tourist industry was where Moab’s economy was headed. “People would peek through the window,” Jacque said while cupping her hands around her eyes as if looking through a window, “and pass on by when they saw it was fabric inside.” Her father’s friend who has a gift shop in Durango helped her select her initial inventory for the gift shop and it took off from there.

The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Jacque wants local residents to know her shop doesn’t just have merchandise for the tourists. There really is something for everyone and she and her one full- and four part-time employees invite all to peruse their wares in this charming little shop on Moab’s Main Street.

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