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Business Happenings - April 2005

Hogan is High-End Outlet
for Native American Art

By Carrie Switzer

Hogan Trading Company
Main Street and 100 South

Pedestals of polished, petrified wood offer an artistic throne to some of the finest silver jewelry available in Utah. That is one of the first impressions of Moab’s Hogan Trading Co., the manifestation of Vern Erb’s dream of owning a gallery of Native American art.

“I did a lot of research before I opened a store in the old Emporium building in 1989,” Vern said. “I went to high school in Blanding and got interested in Native American art. Now we are the largest Southwest art gallery in Utah, carrying all types of Native American art and Southwest furniture.”

No longer in the Emporium building, The Hogan Trading Co. now encompasses 8,000 square feet at the corner of Main Street and 100 South. It enjoys a “fairly steady” local clientele, and tourists from around the world purchase items large and small.

“We’ve shipped furniture to Europe,” Vern said. “Sometimes the shipping exceeds the cost of the purchase, but people want it.”

The furniture is unique and hand made, metal sculptured tables with rock art peeking through a glass-top surface. Hand-made beds are adorned with American Indian blankets. Lamps, candles, fountains and metal sculptures adorn the walls of the Hogan, inviting browsers to perhaps consider a remodel.

“People tend to enter and steer right, and they will go through the whole building before taking a second browse to purchase something,” Vern said. “Some people are here for hours.”

And why not? The soft flute music and running water through fountains of many shapes and sizes is much like a walk through a foreign paradise. Even from the sidewalk, brightly colored metal wind sculptures are inviting.
“I try to have an atmosphere that is appealing, and a flow to the environment that entices people to stay a while,” Vern said.

Wall paintings and hangings are hung with color schemes that segue from one display to the next. Similar pots, and work by particular artists are also so arranged. Vern said many of the artists he buys from have been with him from the early days in 1989, and many are Moab artists.

Items are made from copper, wood, stoneware, wax, wool and glass. The Hogan carries clothing and dolls, drums and masks. By far Vern said the biggest seller is the jewelry, which is found in a variety of stones, usually in sets and gold and silver.

“Some of our artists are alchemists,” Vern said, noting that the coloration of metal is a chemical process that uses no paint.

Vern minds the store at least five days a week, with the exception of the month of January, the only time the Hogan Trading Co. is closed. He is gearing up for a busy spring, and noted that because of an early Easter holiday, the months of April and May will provide a steady, if not hectic, pace.

The Hogan Trading Co. is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Items can be shipped anywhere.
The Hogan Trading Company is located at the corner of Main Street and 100 South in Moab and may be reached at 435-259-8118. Their website is

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