Jane Drusel – From Little Babies to The Nutcrackers

Story and photos by Karen Boucek

Jane Drussell did not want to move to the Wood River Valley in 1970.

“Everything was dirty and there were no houses available, nothing to rent,” she recounted. “But I had no choice since my husband was moved here by the Forest Service. So, the six of us crowded into one of the little Red Top cabins on the highway.”

Fortunately for Wood River Valley residents, Drusel moved here because she has kept the valley stocked with office supplies, stationery, greeting cards, and art supplies for nearly 50 years, while also being involved in the valley’s civic affairs.

Her participation in Wood River Valley has earned her a place on the Blaine County Heritage Court, which honors women for their contributions to the Sun Valley area’s lifestyle.

Looking back, Jane was saying it turned out to be a great move. In fact, she calls summer she She and her family lived in a Red Top cabin while they waited to build a new home on Buttercup Road, one of the best places of her life.

“The kids didn’t know anyone,” she said, “so we spent the summer fishing as a family.” “My child caught his first fish in River Wood and he fished from the bank. In those days you could fish anywhere as there were no buildings along the river.”

Drusel grew up in Oklahoma, where she played the trombone in the school band, played on the basketball team, learned to play the piano and the accordion and wore her hands from her older brother.

She said, “My aunt brought us beautiful bags of flour and my mother made my clothes out of them.” “When I was eight, my mother ordered an Easter dress from the Spiegel catalog. On Easter morning, I was ready to go to church in a white hat, white shoes, and white gloves, but I had no dress. I was so annoyed that we made a principal The post office gets up from the bed and sees if the dress has come in. Sure.”

Healey, now home to about 8,500, was a town of 1,500 when Drussell moved here. It had only two lanes for traffic, a pharmacy, a clothing store, a Western Auto store, and a grocery store.

“The Merc, which later became Paul’s Division, had a huge dry goods division,” Drusel recounted. “You just didn’t drive to Twin Shopping then.”

In 1985, after several years working in the Valley retail business, Drusel and her second husband, Kenny Drussell, began setting up Jane’s Paper Place in Giacobbi Square in Ketchum. And soon they opened a second stationery store and a card shop in Hili where the wildflower is now.

“It’s time for me to have my own business,” she said. “When I lived in Ogden, I was a buyer of Sears. I had to do an inventory and gather ideas of what I’d want to do if I had my own store. We were the only place to have school supplies in Hailey. Kenny and I loved the kids so we kept the play stickers. and candy, as well as paper products.”

The biggest craze over the years, Drusel said, has been Ty Beanie Babies, a collection of stuffed toys that came in the form of unicorns, dragons, and puppy dogs.

She said, “People knocked on the door for these people.” “They were watching my shipment to see if I got a new box from them. Nowadays, the younger generation is not interested in collecting things.”

Drusel added that children today are drawn to spinners – triangular toys that spin.

In 1987 Drusel opened her first Christmas store – something she had long been passionate about. Until this year when I moved into a stationery store, Jane’s Holiday House boasted a great mix of Halloween, Christmas, and other holiday decor. Shoppers may find Santa Claus wearing orange masks for Halloween one day, while the Nutcrackers stand amid cats in black cloaks.

Fourth of July is her favorite holiday. She is heavily involved in planning Healy’s Days March in the Old West on the Fourth of July.

“It’s very patriotic and brings people together. It gives us the feel of the original city I want to have,” she said.

Drusel and her husband, Ken, sold the company in 2004 when they decided they needed a breather. They moved into a mobile home and went on the road in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, working as salespeople selling furniture and decor.

When the snow started to fly, they headed to places like Dallas. But they always came home for Christmas.

By 2009, Wood River Valley residents were asking them to reopen the store. Five years after hitting the road, they return to the valley and open the door to Jane’s business in downtown Healy.

Over the years, Drusel has served in the Bellevue District PTA and President of the Chamber of Commerce. She is also active in the Hailey Rotary Club and recently ran for Hailey City Council at the age of 82, hoping to provide a voice to the business community.

Drusel laments some of the changes in the US economy at the time since it first opened its business.

“I opened my shop in Ketchum for $14,000. I can’t open that much money today. You’re looking at $300,000 plus by the time you think about things like fixtures and rugs,” she said.

She also regrets that housing remains a major problem after nearly 50 years of struggling to find a place to live in Wood River Valley.

“I am concerned that the housing crisis and skyrocketing rents are making it difficult to attract and retain staff,” she said.

However, she says she has been blessed with employees who have been with her forever.

“Kristen Green is like one of my children. She has been with me for 30. Rachel has been with me for 20. Hugo, 13. I am so lucky that we as a family.”

Two of Drusel’s sons still live in the valley, working in construction work as Drusel’s late husband. Another son runs St. Alphonse Regional Medical Center in Boise and the fourth is a graphic designer in Bozeman.

Drusel says she does not intend to give up the business anytime soon.

“I love my job. As long as I am healthy and happy and love what I do, I am here. I love my employees, I love my clients, and I love children.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: