The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Jacob and Tara Frehling are the newest generation of a host of entrepreneurial Frehlings in the Wood River Valley. Jacob’s mother Annette owns the clothing shop Sister in Ketchum, cousins Maeme and Callie Rasberry own the lunch spot Rasberry’s in Ketchum, and father James opened the original Esta’s restaurant on Main Street. Now Jacob and Tara own Maude’s, a combination coffee shop and vintage clothing store in the heart of Ketchum. After owning a food truck before Maude’s and with aspirations for future businesses, these Frehlings plan to leave a long legacy in Ketchum.
“Our whole pastime in life as a couple is spit-balling business ideas,” says Jacob. The business-minded couple, who married in 2017, met while attending the same high school in Portland, Oregon. Although Jacob grew up in the Valley, he attended the last few years of high school at Northwest Academy and then attended Portland State University a year behind Tara. “We were living in a house with seven other people, a total teenager house,” explains Tara. The couple began dating during college and graduated with degrees in psychology (her) and sociology (him) before Jacob headed back to his hometown to open the first of his business ventures, Dumpster Dogs.
Dumpster Dogs or “the wiener wagon” as Jacob fondly refers to it, was opened May 2014 and provided a much-needed late-night food option for Ketchum. Opening a hot dog truck wasn’t the couple’s life-long dream, per se, but the family entrepreneurial spirit was driven into Jacob from a young age and the options for businesses in Ketchum were seemingly endless. “My whole family has always had businesses here and I realized, especially after turning 21 and coming back from college, just how much stuff doesn’t exist here that should and would be pretty easy to do. In Portland, you can’t really do anything new; everything cool is already happening there. But here, there’s so much you can do that’ll be good for the community and for your pocketbook,” explains Jacob.
Dumpster Dog’s location in the empty lot next to Whiskey Jacque’s and its late-night hours meant that profits came at a surprisingly fast rate and people couldn’t get enough hot dogs. “We had zero ideas or expectations of how well it would do, but it definitely took off,” says Jacob. “People would come up from Hailey just to get a hotdog,” adds Tara. But the late hours took a tool and in fall of 2016, Dumpster Dog closed up shop. Looking for a break, Tara went to work with Annette at Sister (where she had worked on and off since 2014) while Jacob wanted to learn coffee roasting from fellow local Jens Peterson who owns Maps Coffee and is the son of Kurt Peterson who owns and roasts K&K Coffee and Grace Organics.
A New Venture – Maude’s Coffee & Clothes
Soon, the itch to start a new venture came along. While working at Sister, Tara discovered a storage unit of vintage clothing that Annette had collected over the years. When she presented Annette with the idea of her running a vintage store for her, Annette simply said, “Why don’t you do it?” The first seed of Maude’s had been planted and soon began to grow. Originally, they had planned to have just a vintage store but they also would only have half the space since another business, which held the building’s lease, was planning to use the other half. But when that fell through, Tara and Jacob were offered the lease for the whole building. They took it but realized they couldn’t fill an entire store with vintage clothing, thus, the idea for the coffee shop. “We’ve always talked about doing a coffee shop, even before Dumpster Dogs,” says Jacob. It had originally been their intention to have a vintage store with the option of having some coffee while you shop but with the new added space, the coffee shop took on a life of its own. “The coffee shop was totally secondary,” says Tara.
Maude’s (named after their weiner dog Maude, FYI) was born in March of 2017. The shop is a mix of eclectic and cool with funky signs and unique skateboard decks on the walls and random figurines throughout complimenting the bright colors and carefully-designed displays of the clothing side. Maude’s has become a Ketchum mainstay, both for the younger crowd looking to support their friends who both own and work there and for the older crowd who come for good coffee, a bit of town gossip, and delicious food. “We want Maude’s to be a place first and foremost for the people that live here year-round,” says Tara. “We wanted a mellow space for locals to spend time in,” adds Jacob. “Maude’s is about the small community who live here.”
The coffee shop has evolved to be more than just a coffee shop, it’s a spot to highlight great local product; Maude’s uses local milk, local honey, Maps coffee from Jen’s Peterson’s roasting house, food from Rasberry’s (who also source as many local ingredients as they can). Even a lot of their clothes are thrifted locally and in the men’s department, Jacob tries to only stock clothes made in the U.S.A. In the women’s clothing, Tara tries to source only ethically- and hand-made clothing made with integrity. “We care about the production process of everything we sell,” says Jacob.
On the clothing side, they also seek to cater to locals. Jacob sources the men’s clothing and tries to provide an alternative to the active-wear sold elsewhere in town. “Every guy wears pearl-snap shirts, t-shirts, and wool flannels here,” says Jacob so that’s what he keeps in constant supply. Tara finds the women’s clothes, using a good eye to source jewelry and new lines that are both unique and not carried elsewhere in town.
As for the future, Jacob and Tara have no end of ideas and definitely plan to open more businesses. They’ve tossed around some ideas for a bar (perhaps with a country feel) although the idea of having late nights again doesn’t sound too appealing to the couple, so that one might be a bit far out. The couple still owns the food truck and with the new food truck pod opening next to Whiskeys, only time will tell if they might venture back into that arena. Both start to go into more detail of their ideas but go strictly “off the record”. So, what’s next from the Frehlings? Stay tuned…