Editor’s Note: We first published this post about Iconoclast Books last spring.
We got to drop in on Iconoclast Books (Ketchum, Idaho) and its dynamic owner Sarah Hedrick on a road trip last week. Hedrick is about as welcoming a bookstore hostess as you could imagine (What’s that you’re drinking, Tully’s? Throw that out. How about something organic and local? A house-made chai?), and this quality, not surprisingly, makes her an excellent saleswoman. Observing that we were checking out her display of Out of Print T-shirts, she had us pegged. Did you see Pride & Prejudice? The soft v-neck with the peacock feathers? (Sold. Two actually.) Have you read this yet? She raptured about the forthcoming novel You Deserve Nothing (from Tonga—an imprint of Europa Editions, edited by Alice Sebold) by local boy/Iowa Writer’s grad Alexander Maksik until we were begging for her copy of the galley.
Hedrick opened Iconoclast in its Sun Valley Road location in 2007 with her late husband, Gary Hunt, the original iconoclast. The current store is one of several iterations of Iconoclast (the store) that Hunt had opened since 1994 (there are just two locations now, this one and a satellite in the next-door-neighbor town Hailey). Hunt and Hedrick met in a Ketchum bookstore in the early nineties, but Hunt was a mere ski bum then and didn’t work up the courage to ask Hedrick out until he opened his own store. They have one daughter, Penelope (5), and Hunt was a father to Hedrick’s three children from a previous marriage. He died in a car accident in 2008.
Hedrick gave us a tour of the long sun-lit store, stopping to straighten displays and point out some of her favorite sidelines. She travels to New York and Seattle for gift shows and is a gift buyer at heart, with a taste for the high-end stuff, which suits her location. She loves Tegu blocks and organic cotton and wooden toys from Jackrabbit Creations (check out the magnetic pirate ship!) and prominently displays purses made from NYT book reviews from Couture Planet and the store’s bestselling sidelines, tiny buttons from The Button Girl in Portland and local yoga guru and Iconoclast regular Richard Odom‘s yoga dvd’s.
She introduced us to staff members, some of whom she’s known since they were in utero, and dished gossip about former staff members, including a certain celebrity’s son who thought working in a bookstore meant perching himself on a stool at the cash register with a paperback.
After lunch at Perry’s, the restaurant in the same building where Hunt opened the first Iconoclast, we stopped by to say goodbye, but Hedrick was ferrying two of her kids from school and coordinating childcare so she could sell books at a library event for author Stephen Hawley (Recovering a Lost River) that night. We ordered another chai for the road. Just ahead of us, a tween in Ugg boots ordered a “Tillie,” a banana chai frappe named for Hedrick’s middle daughter.
In Hailey, we stopped at Hedrick’s new venture, Yellow Brick Road, a co-op she shares with 13 other local stores. Iconoclast occupies the front of the store, with a selection of bestsellers, staff favorites and sidelines. Hedrick pays $295 a month for rent and seven percent of her sales for staffing. She’s been thrilled with the model and thinks it might be a good one for other stores.
We got to see Hedrick and daughters Darby and Tillie at Yellow Brick Road for a few minutes, interrupted twice by store customers who wanted to say hello. In the short time, Hedrick checked in with the co-op’s manager and salesperson about recent sales, bought Tillie a pair of short-shorts from another store there, declined to buy 13-year-old Darby a pair of three-inch-high wedges, wished us a warm goodbye and then they were off to basketball practice.
(Editor’s note: Hedrick tells us that Yellow Brick Road is now closed, but she’s just launched a new venture in part of the space with three other businesses. Called The Modern Mercantile, it will feature Iconoclast Books, Ketchum Bed and Bath, Tater Tots (high-end kids’ clothing) and Designs by Lisa (jewelry, scarves, clothes, candles . . .).