In May 1998 I purchased two round the world tickets – One for me and one for my girlfriend ( now wife ) Sonia Gomez. Idea was to see the world and visit my older brother, who trying to escape Yugoslavian civil war, moved to Mount Isa – heart of Queensland. Not far from Singapore, on Tioman Islands, we met couple that had a blast on Bali – so we decided to go see it ourselves.
Few days latter while on Bali – Suharto lost power – Rupiah collapsed – and 2 American warships showed up on horizon in front of Melia Hotel we were staying in. There was violence in Jakarta – but nothing on Bali – it actually became shopping paradise for dollar holders. All the items we wanted for our New York City apartment suddenly were very affordable.
We kept on buying until we had full 20′ container. Australia was great – and month later we were back home – container arrived 2 weeks later and as soon as it was unloaded – our friend purchased just about all items. So normally, in September we were back on Bali. But, Rupiah rebounded, Indonesia remained non violent and stable and prices more then doubled on everything – We rented 4×4, got driver and went for a month on expedition, almost entire Java – I use to think I was tough – but after two weeks of fried rice and tea for breakfast I was dying for cappuccino.
Month on Java was eye opener, I felt I should hold collage class about “recycled” , “reclaimed” claims by many companies in USA that are darlings of Ivy League school educated trust babies from Greenwich CT and alike. Java was tough – Surabaya may be the ugliest city in the world – Solo was great – Yogyakarta fantastic – my favorite in Indonesia – Bali.
Back in New York it was clear we need store front. In January 1999 we got 1800 squre feet location at the corner of 7th and B in east Village. After 3 months of renovation we opened in April 1999. New Yorkers loved Amaran – New York Times came, Elle Decor, New Yorker – even Japanese tv travel chanel made video in the store – so for a year we used to get Japanese tourist in East Village. We did so good that on August 1 – we closed for a month and went to Europe. For next 14 years I end up spending 3-4 months of the year between India and Indonesia – buying product for Amaran – In 2007 we got 5 High Cube 40′ containers. In 2008 – Gang from Wall Street ruined US and World Economy ( not one got punished ever – love it or leave it ) and in 2010 we got one container. On the end of 2012 – and the end of our second seven years Lease term – it was clear we are not going to reach agreement with Landlord for the third seven year term. John Bishop old friend from Jackson Hole, in a casual conversation mentioned that there is a location on Town Square. I run the retail store on Town Square back in 1987 – and loved Jackson Hole. I January I flew to Jackson to see that location – one more trip at the end of February and I signed the Lease for much bigger location at 36 East Broadway.
From March 9 to April 11 I went to Mumbai, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Bali – buying for Amaran. On April 21st started to drive to Jackson Hole from New York – somewhere in Ohio passed, honked and waved at our trucker pulling 53′ trailer to Jackson Hole. Unloaded on 24th of April and plan to open Amaran Jackson Hole for Memorial day, May 25, 2013.
With closing of Amaran New York and buying for Amaran Jackson Hole – flaying around the world ( jet-lagged to oblivion ) then loading 53′ trailer and day later driving 2200 miles to Jackson to unload at 4 am – I averaged to work 12 to 13 hours a day since November 2012. Let us hope Amaran Jackson Hole is loved as much as Amaran New York was. One of my most favorite Emails arrived almost at the end of Amaran New York and it was send by one of my favorite costumers – that looks like John Malkovich twin brother- here it is :
Hi Ivan : we wanted to tell you that the items from your store have vastly improved the look and energy of our house in the woods. They are a joy to live with, look at, and we’re delighted to have met you! What’s your next move? Jackson Hole, Hudson Clarkson ?
SVP Assoc Broker
THE CORCORAN GROUP
49 East 10th Street
New York, New York 10003
Kenny Meris- yes I am at Jackson Hole – and I love it – you and anyone else who likes beauty is welcome at Amaran Jackson Hole
36 East Broadway – Town Square, come to see Yellowstone, Tetons …… and yes …..Cheers