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Business Happenings - June 2002

HOGAN TRADING COMPANY - a very cool shopping experience
by Carrie Mossien

Some words are so overused they lose meaning. While cool may be one of them, at the Hogan Trading Company cool applies, in every sense of the word. Located at the southwest corner of Main Street and 100 South, the Hogan Trading Company may be the first or the last Moab “gift shop” Main Street strollers meander through; it certainly makes its mark of distinction at either end of a spree.

Ample space applies visually and literally, inviting even casual shoppers to spend enough time to get familiar with everything from high-end fine art to unreasonably reasonable-priced souvenirs. Although hailed as a Gallery of Fine Indian Art, its layout is more like home, either yours or the one you dream of.

Although the artwork is not necessarily displayed in clusters, three floors divide the Hogan Trading Company into pseudo-departments. The ground floor entrance is the invitation to explore further. Cool, oversized fountains molded by potters and sculpted by copper artists dance and sing in accompaniment to traditional Navajo flute music in the background. Sales people are smiling, and owner Vern Erb is usually nearby. It’s an instant hit of relaxation.

Vern visits Zuni, Hopi and Navajo reservations to purchase his inventory, as well as several pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona. Among the more famed artists with pieces available at the Hogan is Lyman Whitaker, whose copper wind sculptures can be seen on the sidewalk as well as throughout the store. Hopi jeweler Watson Honanie and Navajo jeweler Leo Yazzie are among those featured in a huge display of fine jewelry on the first floor. Local artists include David and James Eggling with their hand-painted gourds and photography; Gail Houston, ceramic artist; and a relative newcomer to Moab, John Foster, whose copper sculptures are adorned with “patinas.” Simply put for the lay artist, patinas are chemically produced recipes for color, which John says are “always a surprise,” even to him. The downstairs gallery is where the home furnishings are dominant, with hand milled, carved and built furniture arranged and decorated with functional and display pottery, painting and lighting. An aroma of scented candles greets the visitor on descent; again home furnishings run the gamut from showcase trophy home to rustic mountain cabin.

A notably smaller room upstairs feels like an art gallery. This is where lighting is dominant, with a few simple furnishings - mostly end tables and display pieces. Photography and fine art adorn the walls. Here it is quiet, with subdued lighting. A good place, and perhaps time to sit for a while and gaze.

I learned something about myself on my excursion, initiated by the prospect of writing this article. I found myself attracted to certain pieces throughout the store - first, second and third floors. Inevitably I was attracted to pieces produced by the same two or three artists. In other words, I found favorites, preferences. I learned what I liked by following my senses.

In a culture where shopping is nearly always driven by sensory overload, the Hogan Trading Company offers a different experience. Vern says that the home furnishings and local artwork attract many local and repeat customers. Many Navajo, Hopi and Zuni artists and craftsmen make their living by offering a reliable, consistent and quality inventory of original pieces.

An extensive shipping department accommodates travelers from all over the world.

The Hogan Trading Company is located at 100 South Main Street in Moab, and is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. A pictorial website is located at www. hogantrading.com. But hey, get inside the front door. I can only imagine in this case that if a picture tells a thousand words, your own sensibilities will give you millions.

 
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