Photo courtesy of Delaware North Parks & Resorts

Gift Shop Plus Winter 2023
Sheer splendor: Old Faithful General Store a premier gateway to the Yellowstone experience By Carly McFadden

Photos courtesy of Delaware North Parks & Resorts

Cozy, warm and welcoming.

Photo courtesy of Delaware North Parks & Resorts
Products at the shop include apparel, water bottles and souvenirs.

Those are the feelings Old Faithful General Store aims to evoke in customers as they traverse through Yellowstone National Park. The store, located in a log cabin built in 1929 by Charles Hamilton, greets visitors with a massive stone fireplace and hundreds of products from both local and top brands.

Old Faithful General Store is one of 11 general stores in Yellowstone, and each shop is operated by global hospitality and entertainment company Delaware North‘s parks and resorts division. This particular shop is located alongside the Old Faithful geyser and is the most heavily trafficked store in the park.

Product offerings

Old Faithful General Store features a wide selection of merchandise, including groceries, souvenirs, apparel and gifts, according to Cendy Sangermano, director of merchandise for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division.

“It provides a variety of items: everything you need to build your s’mores for the campfire, great Yellowstone apparel to outfit your family in, or that one unique item that may be produced locally by Native American tribes that are affiliated with the park at that location,” Sangermano explained.

Over the years, Delaware North has partnered with multiple name brands to provide high-end products, including Yeti, HydroFlask, Corkcicle and Columbia. The shop also partners with Pendleton, which creates a blanket specifically for Yellowstone each year.

Photo courtesy of Delaware North Parks & Resorts
The gift shop offers products produced locally by Native American tribes affiliated with the park.

“It’s a limited edition,” Sangermano elaborated. “We have guests that call every year and want to buy this specific blanket, and there’s a wide following of guests that want this particular blanket.”

While top brands have proven popular with customers, Old Faithful General Store also values working with local suppliers and artisans.

“People always want something local, so we work with a lot of local suppliers from either Montana, Wyoming or Idaho,” Sangermano said. “Yellowstone is located in all three of those states, Wyoming being the largest. We feature about 50 different local artisans in the park, anything from hand-thrown pottery to the local favorite of Huckleberry jam and jelly — or Huckleberry ice cream, which is delicious.”

While the park is open year-round, Yellowstone’s gift shops are open from the end of April through October, with peak business occurring between the third week of June and the second week of August.

“Old Faithful General Store, with its national park historic vibe, it’s a place you want to go and see,” Sangermano said. “You can find collections that help tell the story of Yellowstone, such as Yellowstone being the world’s first national park. We’ve got a great collection of souvenirs based off of the first pennants that were waved at the entrance of the park on opening day, which used to be a tradition when the park would open annually every year. [The store] ties [its offerings] back into those stories.”

Going green

Sustainability is at the heart of Old Faithful General Store’s values. One mission of the shop is to help visitors understand Yellowstone and how they can protect the park while visiting, with hopes they will take those practices home with them.

Photo courtesy of Delaware North Parks & Resorts
The Green Room is an area of Old Faithful General Store dedicated to sustainable products and companies.

In fact, the shop has an area inside dubbed the “Green Room,” which offers products that are made from recycled materials, promote reuse or are sourced from companies diverting their waste streams.

Yellowstone has seven interpretive themes, some of which are geology, the ecosystem, wildlife and human history (which includes the 27 Native American tribes affiliated with the park).

“When we’re developing a product, we want to make sure that that product is telling one of those seven themes,” Sangermano explained. “It can be either through the artwork on the product, through an interpretive tag hanging on the park product or an interpretive sign that just tells that specific story.”

Ultimately, Old Faithful General Store reflects the values of Yellowstone and the National Park System in general.

“We want the guest to be aware of the environment that they’re in and the resources and values of Yellowstone, and hopefully provide a unique souvenir to help them remember their experience,” Sangermano said.

Carly McFadden

Carly McFadden is the editorial director of Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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