Mobile boutique debuts with holiday presence, fresh Christmas trees
Joshua Tree, California, is a great place to visit in the winter — mild temperatures, stunning landscapes, desert flora and fauna, and the unique and distinctive Joshua Tree. The one thing it was missing was a local Christmas tree lot.
Andrew and Chelsea Evans, owners of Roaming Travelers, a gift and apparel retail shop with two brick-and-mortar locations in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, decided to change that in 2022. Growing up on the East Coast, they had much different holiday traditions than what they found in the desert. “Our families would spend hours picking out a Christmas Tree and spending the day at a local tree farm,” they said.
“After moving to Joshua Tree six years ago, we saw a void,” Andrew Evans said. “There are obviously no tree farms, but more so the only option or place to buy a Christmas tree in the High Desert was a big-box hardware store. We opted to create the experience we felt the community was lacking with our Holidaze Market: a place families could come to pick out a Christmas tree and do some holiday shopping while supporting local vendors and makers,” he said.
The couple partnered with the owners of the JT Trading Post to use their vacant parking lot to create the Holidaze Market. “We invited 20-30 local vendors on a rotating basis for the month of December to participate in our market,” Andrew Evans said. They also had a variety of rotating food vendors and a full bar on site as well. Proceeds from the event were donated to local organizations. “Last year, we donated 89 trees to families in need,” Evans said. “This year, through continued community outreach and donation support, we hope to donate over 150 trees to local families.”
Anchoring the Holidaze Market is the Roaming Travelers’ custom-built 1968 Airstream Land Yacht. Decorated for the holidays, the mobile shop featured grab-and-go gift items — items that represented the desert at reasonable price points. “We added as many holiday touches as we could from a live Christmas tree to homemade dehydrated garland,” he added.
“Dehydrated cocktail mixes were a big hit this year alongside our core Roaming Travelers branded graphic t-shirts,” Andrew Evans said. In addition to unique gifts and souvenirs, the Roaming Travelers stores are filled with locally made goods, handmade jewelry and desert-inspired artwork.
The Evanses have put countless hours into creating a unique aesthetic for each store. “We have strived to build a memorable experience no matter which location you visit or shop,” Andrew Evans said. “It’s an elevated experience with curated product offerings that extend through our social footprint to our website and down to our mobile app, which is available in Google Play and iOS App Store,” he added.
Above: A dapper shop dog completes the holiday vignette. Below: Chelsea Evans brought her East Coast tradition of live Christmas trees to the Roaming Travelers mobile shop at Holidaze Market. Proceeds were donated to local organizations and 89 trees were donated to families in need.
Read Holiday Shop 2023, a special issue presented by Gift Shop Plus and Stationery Trends.