With her son graduating from high school, Sue Jones began to rethink her own career as a math teacher at Carson High School. More and more, she was drawn back to retail, where she had gotten her start at the Ace Hardware her father owned in Incline Village.
Then it came to her — in a dream — the store that would help people connect with one another through meaningful gifts.
“I really just woke up with this idea of having a very heartfelt store,” she said.
She just had to pitch it to her husband Stan, a retired general in the Nevada Army National Guard. To her surprise, he was not only supportive, he was immediately helpful.
“I thought, I better let Stanley know, and he had the name right away,” she recalled. “Literally, within 10 seconds he said, ‘I have the perfect name.’”
And 15 years ago this week, The Purple Avocado was born.
“It was just the perfect name,” Sue said. “Purple is high energy and inspirational. Avocado is a pretty magical fruit. Those were all the things I wanted the gifts in our store to be. It was a lot better than Sue’s Gifts. It was just meant to be.”
The store will celebrate its 15th anniversary with refreshments and special deals on Saturday.
“We want all of our friends and customers to come by and say ‘hi,’” Sue said.
While the store has its loyal customers, she said, new people stop by every day.
“We’re really lucky to live in the age of the smart phone,” Sue said.
Stan’s inspiration in naming the store, he said, is sustained over time by Sue’s talent in selecting inventory.
“She has that ability to buy what people like,” Stan said. “That really is a great ability.”
Her formula is a personal one.
“When I decide what is going into the store, the first criteria is that I love it,” Sue said. “I love everything in the store, and that makes it easy to sell. The second is that it’s unique and different, and it makes people happy.”
The couple runs the store together, along with their 6-year-old Yorkiepoo, Bella.
“We just get along,” said Stan, who will celebrate 30 years of marriage with Sue this year. “It’s been a great partnership.”
Sue, who serves on the board of directors for the Downtown Business Association, said Stan, former president of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce and present board member for the Carson City Visitors Bureau, is often the more social one. She directs her attention mostly to the everyday running of the store and setting up displays.
“There’s never been a bad day at work,” she said. “Every day, I enjoy it. It’s fun and it feels good. This is my happy place.”