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Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Make Shopping an Adventure

There is plenty to see and buy at Jackalope.  Customers wander through acres of products organized into fascinating boutiques.

Key Question:


Give customers room to discover something to buy. Jackalope wants the customer to be engaged, creative, spontaneous. They hope their guests put together items they will enjoy using and looking at in their homes. The discovery process is the fun. This is not the place to run in and pick up a pair of candle holders. This is the place is relax, be stimulated by sights and sounds, think about what you want to take home, then leave feeling as if you have been around the world.

For years customers have found Jackalope in the same place on the highway going into Santa Fe. Now Jackalope is more than "folkart by the truckload," it is a natural entertainment center. Though there is still plenty to buy, there is also plenty to see . . .. working artists creating the products and singing their music, a prairie-dog enclave, restaurant, chilies roasting, animals roaming, birds in an aviary, music in the air, and so much more.

With products on the property from exotic places like Bali, and Tahiti, the imagination takes the shopper away from the mundane. Therefore, the experience is so positive, the shopper returns for more.

Think about it

Do customers have fun when they come to your place of business?  Do you find ways to surprise customers?  Do customers say about your business, "You just have to go there?"

Clip from: Jackalope, where myth and poetry meet reality

Santa Fe, New Mexico: Take a little bit of mystery, add fantasy, mix one part entertainment with demonstrations of the arts in progress, then add great food, decorative arts for the home, a little zoo on the side, and space to wander and fantasize about the meaning and value of life ...and you have come to Jackalope. It is a new kind of retail. Part bazaar, a little bizarre, yet always business as art. You have to experience it to believe it and there is no better place than Santa Fe.

Come meet this soft-spoken gentleman, a free spirit who dreams dreams. Meet Darby McQuade.

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Darby McQuade, Founder

2820 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505 471 8539

Visit our web site:

Office: 505 471 8539

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1976

Make Shopping an Adventure

HATTIE: (Voiceover) He was called to create a village, much like ones he had grown to love on his travels into Mexico. At this village, visitors could experience shopping as entertainment, and products would be almost accidently discovered.

BRUCE BARR (introduction comes later): In the normal retail store, you're bombarded with opportunities to buy through signing, through promotion, through massive, sometimes garish, displays of tremendous – you know – gobs of merchandise. When you come to Jackalope, you're encouraged to be creative in your own right, make your own decisions, put things together, walk from one end of the property to the other, kind of designing your living room or your breakfast table, and picking up a little bit of salsa here, some fresh green-roasted chili here, a pot for the veranda there, and we don't force anything down your throat. In other words, it's the type of thing that stimulates you, as a customer, to be creative and make your own decision to buy.

And secondly, come back and tell all your friends about us and have fun.

DARBY: Every business has a personality, and that personality shows itself. And you can go in the store five years from now, and the merchandise may be different, but the personality is still there.

HATTIE: OK, your first thought when you see something. Is your first thought, `Do I like this?' Or is your first thought, `Will customers buy this?'

DARBY: `Do I like this?'

CUSTOMER #2: ...we spend lots of time and money here. I usually do when I come to Santa Fe.

DARBY: People return to places where they have good experiences. And the entire business is built on the idea that it's entertainment.

(On walking through the store) This is from Mexico, from Mexico, from Bali.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The store is crammed floor to ceiling with merchandise from Morocco, Bali, Africa, Thailand, China, Mexico, the Philippines, Peru and New Mexico.

HATTIE: But this is a cow.

DARBY: That's a cow skull.

HATTIE: Well, what do you think?

DARBY: And...

HATTIE: Do you think Georgia O'Keeffe has helped you sell a few of these?

DARBY: Yes. God bless Georgia O'Keeffe.

HATTIE: There is an enclosed aviary with a collection of exotic birds, and you can stop to watch the prairie dogs play.

DARBY: And if someone sounds the alarm, then they all dive.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Darby knows the rules of business because he has an MBA and went straight from graduate school to spend two years on Wall Street. But Jackalope is the result of a man following his heart, not the rules.

DARBY: I really was sort of a square peg in a round hole. A friend that I worked with bought a motorcycle.

HATTIE: In Manhattan?

DARBY: In Manhattan. And he was from Colorado. And so I bought one, too. And I needed boots, and so I bought a pair of sort of cowboy boots at the motorcycle shop.

HATTIE: You're still in Manhattan.

DARBY: I'm still in Manhattan. And I was waiting on First Avenue for an uptown bus to my apartment. And I was standing there at the bus stop holding a box with a pair of cowboy boots, and I just started looking around, and I just kind of started grinning inside, and I thought, `You folks standing here don't realize it, but I'm outta here.'

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