Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tai Pan Trading plans soft opening Tuesday

These letters will spell "Tai Pan Trading"before long.
The Idaho Falls Tai Pan Trading store, at 1568 E. 17th Street, was still a work in progress today — the sign was a jumble of letters in the front window — but owner Jon Lee said he is determined to have a “very soft” opening Tuesday, with a grand opening to follow April 1-2.

“We’re trying to unpack as quickly as we can,” he said. “I think it will be a good reception. This is by far the biggest investment we’ve made in three or four years in a new store.”

Lee is the CEO of TPT Home, a company that franchises Tai Pan Trading stores in Boise, Logan, Utah, and Costa Mesa, Calif. He also owns shares in the parent company, Tai Pan Trading, which is based in Utah.

Store Owner Jon Lee
At nearly 23,000 square feet, the Idaho Falls store is twice the size of the store in Logan. He said he has seen a lot more excitement from people in Idaho Falls than he has in other markets. “Maybe it’s because it’s near Utah,” he said. “There is an existing fan base, for sure.”

Shane Murphy of Venture One Properties, who negotiated the Idaho Falls lease, is a Tai Pan Trading fan himself and he said he knows plenty of people who make special trips to Utah to shop there. “They loved the location and the price was right,” Murphy said. “I think they already knew they wanted to come here.”

Once it’s up and running, the Idaho Falls store will employ 15 people. Lee said he hopes customers will find it unique. “If we had to pick a competitor it would probably be Hobby Lobby, but the way we merchandise is completely different.”

Lee, 27, is taking extension business classes from Harvard, and anticipates having his degree in the fall. His first business, mysportsguys.com, involved streaming Utah high school sports, and through it he got acquainted with the Tai Pan Trading people.

If he opens any more Tai Pan stores, they could be “pop up” locations along the lines of Halloween City. The company makes half its money in the first three quarters of the year and the other half in the fourth quarter, he said.