It was decided in June to create the Wannigan Gift Shop at 152 Johnson Avenue. Jared and Anne Gray purchased the property and weren’t immediately sure what they wanted to do. The building sat empty for a year as the idea came together, then the family worked all summer to make it happen. The initial plans included a restaurant too, for smoked and barbequed entrees, but that portion of the business in still a work in progress and will require a little more time and construction. For now their attention is focused on the gift shop.
Jared grew up in Orofino and said he left the area for about 10 years to work and attend school. He met and married Anne who is from Kuna and they had two daughters before returning to Orofino approximately seven years ago. Anne fell in love with the area. The family was blessed with three more children for a total of five, who are all homeschooled. Jared works at CVH as a Physical Therapy Assistant. The Grays have 16 rentals to maintain and oversee as well.
Anne started the shop’s inventory with the remaining sculptures and gift items from Whipples when they changed owners. Anne will continue to build the shop’s inventory, adding greeting cards, homemade milk candles, and other fun and unique items in the near future. The Grays wanted to have things for the local clientele as well as for those visiting our area,
Jared’s niece, Deseret Leavitt painted the forest mural along one wall of the shop and designed the shop’s logo. Cindy Beardin created the vinyl lettering for the signs. Jared wanted the name to tie in with the local history of our community. A replica of a wannigan, built by Clark Jenks, is on display, for those visitors wondering what a wannigan looks like.
“It’s been a fun week,” says Anne, “We were told that having the business may be hard on the family, but I think it has actually brought us closer, as we’ve done it together. We’ve all worked on this project.”