When Billy “Zeb” Smith and his wife, Kate, moved to Jackson Hole — or returned to the valley, in Zeb’s case — a couple of years ago they didn’t want to settle for remote work or founding another local film production company.
They wanted to be part of the community.
Growing up in New York City, the son of a fashion hotshot, Zeb spent months every winter and summer in Jackson Hole visiting his dad, David Smith, who moved to Wilson when Zeb was 3. Zeb spent the winters skiing and the summers hiking, climbing and generally “Huck Finn’ing [my] way through the Forest Service land that served as [my] backyard above Mosquito Creek,” he said.
“My old friend Jed owns Shiprock Gallery in Santa Fe with his wife, Samantha,” Zeb said. “His family has operated trading posts in New Mexico for five generations, so they’ve accumulated and curated the most unbelievable and comprehensive collection of antique Native American weavings and jewelry. We are so incredibly grateful to them for sharing some of their treasures with us and letting us be their northern outpost.”
Perhaps the biggest draw, though, are the handmade, custom-fitted jeans that feature Mercury Dimes and Buffalo Nickels in the fly, rather than the standard metal buttons found on most button-fly jeans. Though they may cost more than the average pair of jeans, at about $400 a pair, they are far from average. And with a lifetime warranty, they will quite literally last you the rest of your life and beyond. Kate notes, too, that many people she knows are willing to shell out far more than that for a pair of jeans that aren’t custom-fitted, don’t have the same quality denim and rivets, and most importantly lack the lifetime warranty.
Zeb and Kate have created a store that they said fills a sought-after niche, one that provides quality, handmade goods that aren’t easily matched. And they love the location, tucked in just to the north of Orsetto and to the south of Teton Tiger and Kampai, where they envision plenty of foot traffic.
And they might just have the greatest marketing tool of all. If you happen to be walking by or are waiting outside for a table to open up at one of the nearby restaurants and feel a tug at your pants leg, it could very well be soon-to-be 3-year-old Wilson “Pope” Smith encouraging you to take a gander at Grit General. Posy also spends plenty of hours at the store with mom, dad and brother.
Though Zeb and Kate’s son goes by “Pope,” his given first name, Wilson, is fitting. As Zeb explained, his son was named after the neighboring valley town, “the happiest place of my childhood, where I kind of always knew I’d return.”