Moose icon to make a return to Old Town
Large fiberglass moose, apparently, can generate a lot of small-town angst. Place one in front of a retail store and the moose becomes a city’s icon. Take it away and residents protest with emotional fervor.
At least that’s been the experience of Chloe Lane, the store where Loosey the Moosey, created by Brent Brimhall, has taken residence for the last three years — until she recently moved in back of the store to undergo a two-month makeover.
Weather and time eroded Loosey in the three years since Chloe Lane owner Michael Gribbits purchased the moose at a fundraiser auction.
"The Moose was in such horrible shape, it just looked horrible," said Nancy Nichols, Chloe Lane general manager.
The company decided to refurbish the moose as a team in April. Soon after transporting Loosey behind the store for her makeover, residents’ complaints flooded the answering machine.
"We didn’t think anything about it when we moved it," Nichols said. "We would come to work and listen to the messages on speakerphone. People were leaving messages about the moose, they were getting upset and asking why we were taking the moose away, that it’s a town symbol and we can’t take it away. It’s far more of a landmark than we realized. We didn’t think it would create so much drama moving it. We had at least one phone call a day asking about it."
The mourning over Loosey’s departure isn’t so baffling when one understands her quick rise to fame. The moose sat outside the store in the historical Park City district and quickly became a celebrity in the area. MTV’s television show, "Entourage" used Loosey in many of its shots. Wire Image magazine asked to pay Chloe Lane to snap photos of the moose when it covered the Sundance Film Festival, according to Gribbits.
"Someone that wanted to make a lot of money could have taken their digital camera or camcorder and sat in front of the moose and charged people for pictures," Gribbits said. "There were tens of thousands of people that took their picture with Loosey; children would go crazy looking at the details."
Nichols said some older people demanded Loosey’s return. Several people, Nichols said, take pictures every year with their families and create Christmas cards out of them. Neighboring stores also asked about the moose, wanting to see its return.
Other moose were purchased three years ago, but this moose, according to Nichols, is the only one that people can walk up to and get close enough for a photo. Loosey is majestic as well as inviting for tourists and residents.
Chloe Lane is in the process of expanding their store again. After starting as a small store, it has expanded three times. They now have Chloe Lane Collections department, denim department and the men’s department. According to Nichols, they are the largest denim store outside of New York. Much of the success of the store is credited to Loosey.
"People take pictures of the moose and linger around by the store, it brings a lot of customers in," Nichols said.
Gribbits agrees. "Loosey represents Chloe Lane, the two are completely tied together. Sometimes when we’re giving people directions will most often say look for the moose in the red hat. It’s an important popular icon to our business."
Residents, who may have worried about Loosey’s fate, need not fret any longer. According to Nichols, Lucy would be back in front of the store by Tuesday.
"Loosey needed a little vacation, she went to visit the spa and she had a little makeover," Gribbits said.
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