Century-old Grand Canyon gift shop to close

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (AP) 1-08

A century-old gift shop at the Grand Canyon will close in September, ending a family’s three-generation run that began with its patriarch selling souvenirs out of a tent in 1905.

The family-owned Verkamp’s Curios gift shop, which is on the more popular South Rim, did not reapply for a concession contract with the National Park Service, according to agency spokeswoman Pamela Walls.

A request for proposals for a concession contract was issued in July, and proposals were due last Oct. 22.

Walls said the Park Service was considering whether to continue having another business run the gift shop or use the space for some other purpose.

Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin said in a statement that the Verkamp family’s contribution to the Grand Canyon National Park cannot be overstated.

“They have provided a service to millions of park visitors and residents over the last 102 years through their retail operation,” he said. “Family members were always considered more than just business people – they have been part of the fabric that has weaved this community together to help make this wonderful place what it is today.”

Among the items sold at the gift shop are hand-selected items from local American Indian artists and regional traders. They include Navajo rugs, Hopi kachinas, Zuni fetishes, pottery, baskets and jewelry.

On the Net:

Verkamp’s Curios: http://verkamps.com/

Grand Canyon National Park: http://www.nps.gov/grca/