From the beginning, in 1976, it wasn't business with a capital "B." It never followed the rules, spoken or unspoken, of the business world. There were no suits and briefcases, hours spent pouring over calculators and computer print-outs, solemn visits with bankers about initial capitalization. It was a business from the ground up, a business of improvisation. Appearances did not suggest that it would become one of the most booming businesses in the region.
The first assets were simple, even crude. There was a $200 pick-up truck, with a hood that banged up and down and tires spray-painted with white polka dots. Flowered pots in blue, gold, red and green from Guadalajara, Mexico, filled the bed of the primer-gray truck. Even the merchant admits those pots were gaudy. Santa Fe roadsides were the sales sites, where three of the pots, and a macramé hanger, sold for $9.95. The side of the truck, which was the first retail "store" for this business, had one word scrawled on it in white spray paint: Jackalope.
Darby McQuade, then 33 years old, was the driver. He is the owner and founder of Jackalope Pottery, a company that has grown from that funky truck filled with pottery to 5 ½ acres of simulated Mexican markets on Cerrillos Road, and another retail store near the Plaza on Galisteo Street.
In 1984, a national business journal numbered Jackalope Pottery 329 on a list of the 500 fastest growing American businesses. In 1985, the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce named Jackalope Pottery "Business of the Year." Sixty people now work for the Santa Fe business, and payroll totaled about $500,000 last year…
The company provides a major financial base in several Mexican villages where artisans make the pottery that Jackalope buys and sells in Santa Fe. Jackalope's atmosphere and product line—a myriad of everything from green chile this time of year to pottery, from tin ornaments to hand-woven baskets, from hats to bird baths—have made it a Santa Fe destination that rivals the Plaza. It is one of the largest Santa Fe businesses in sales and scope that is solely owned and run by one person. Then, there are the prices, which, in a word, are low.
This year marks SFR’s 40th anniversary. Celebrate with us by reading excerpts of stories that have graced our pages through the years. Jackalope has recently restructured out of financial difficulties.