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New Columbia Falls shop features local, regional artists

by CHRIS PETERSON
Hungry Horse News | March 12, 2023 12:00 AM

Nucleus Avenue has a new art shop with deep roots in the valley. Callie Hulslander-Cooper and Traci Staves have opened Persimmon in Columbia Falls.

Persimmon was a well-received shop in downtown Bigfork for 14 years featuring local and regional artists and craftsmen, but two of the owners retired and it closed a couple of years ago.

Staves and Hulslander-Cooper then decided to reopen the shop in Columbia Falls.

“I’m a Columbia Falls gal,” Hulslander-Cooper said. “It’s been a dream of mine to open a brick and mortar store in Columbia Falls.”

The shop may be small, but it features a host of different artists and craftsmen, including works by Bobbie Almer, Camilla Emond, Wendy Anderson, Hindu Hillbilly, Mandy Mohler, Larry Phan Ceramics and Cooper Jeppsen pottery, to name a few.

The idea behind the shop is to showcase accessible art and artists. For example, a person can walk out of the store with two nice gifts for a little over $50, or a quality original painting or drawing for less than $200.

It’s very high-quality work, too.

“By and large, it’s an artisan’s store,” Hulslander-Cooper said.

Hulslander-Cooper’s husband is John Cooper, the assistant principal at Columbia Falls Junior High. She said she hopes to work with the junior high and other schools to showcase student art in the future.

The shop also plans on having artist receptions as well.

Hulslander-Cooper said she travels the state looking for new artists — getting to know them better during visits to their studios.

The shop is very much a family affair. They remodeled it themselves with help from family members.

It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.