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SHOPPING HAPPENINGS April 2008

Earth Spirit: Blessings and Beauty from the Earth
By Michaelene Pendleton

Living in a place she loves, with a husband she loves, running a business she loves, Linda Peek considers herself blessed.

Earth Spirit’s logo reflects that feeling with two hands lovingly cradling a blue world capped by celestial sunbeams. A Spirit of connectedness is reflected throughout the store and in Linda’s way of doing business.

When she opened Earth Spirit in April 2006, Linda looked for unique pieces of jewelry and objects d’arte, buying directly from the artists, many of them locals, rather than through a distributor. When asked why she bought a particular piece, Linda will tell you about the artist and talk knowledgeably about the creation process – then she grins and says, “I just liked it.”

Linda and her husband Steve lived in New Jersey where they raised two sons, Steven, now a surveyor and musician in Colorado, and Jason, who manages an online retail company, “Baby Age”. They also operated their own business, the Silver Mine Gallery. That was a seasonal gallery on Long Beach Island, NJ, selling Native American artifacts and jewelry. After her husband died, Linda operated that business for 2 more years, while also holding down a position as the Assistant Zoning Manager for a local municipality.

After moving to Colorado, Linda met Brad Peek. Linda relates that when she first met him, he seemed like a nice fellow. Then when they met again a year later, “sparks flew!” When Linda approached Brad with the idea of opening a business, Brad’s response was that since he works as a consulting geologist in minerals exploration, he could work from anywhere, so why not? Brad is a hardrock geologist, rather than a mudman, and Moab certainly has enough rocks. He is the “computer/paperwork guy.” She readily admits that she couldn’t do this without him.

Linda was looking for a small artsy community and having visited Moab many times over the years, decided this was the right place. Of that move, Linda says “Spirit brought me here.”

While an ephemeral Spirit may have informed the move, it takes plain old hard work to make a go of retail sales. Earth Spirit’s first location was half a block north of the two main shopping blocks, practically in the wilderness as far as Moab’s shopping is concerned. When Moabilia closed last winter, Linda jumped at the chance to move into a storefront in the main shopping path.

As Linda renovated the premises, her intent was to create a store that welcomed people and made them feel comfortable, a place where they know that they will be treated fairly and honestly and, with that Spirit impelling her, lovingly. The walk-in aura is more like a gallery than just another store selling mass-produced “stuff.”

Earth Spirit offers something for every pocketbook, from jewelry to woodwork to pottery to gourds, with many pieces qualifying as fine art. There is also a small book section with writings on spiritual and healing practices.

As the store grows, Linda will be faced with the problem that all businesses in Moab face: how to keep employees. She isn’t worried. “If you take care of your employees, they’ll be loyal.” Like any other business owner, Linda wants to be successful, but her emphasis is on enjoying life and being happy in what she does. She measures success in those terms rather than simply getting bigger. “If you are happy and your employees are happy, then your customers will be happy, too.”

Happiness rather just profit? Quirky. But then, Linda Peek is a quirky person. Surrounded by beautiful things, what really excites her right now? Silly little soft plastic dinosaurs that blink lights when you squeeze them.

Blessings come in all sizes and shapes.

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