(Photo by Raychel Johnson) Sammy Brue, a local musician, entertains the crowd at an unofficial openinging gathering at the Only in Ogden store.
(Photo by Raychel Johnson) Sammy Brue, a local musician, entertains the crowd at an unofficial opening gathering for the Only in Ogden store.

Only in Ogden held an opening reception for community friends on Friday night to unofficially celebrate the opening of its new store.

Only in Ogden, a community-supporting organization, uses social media as a vehicle to expand the exposure of arts and culture in the community. Everything ranging from art galleries and performances to pictures of missing dogs can be found on the Only in Ogden Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

After undergoing what was more of an emotional process than a difficult one, Bryan Smith, founder of Only in Ogden, said setting up the organization’s permanent location took about a month and close to 70 gallons of paint.

Smith, who has been a part of the local scene for many years and started up Only in Ogden in 2010, enlisted the help of friends and locals to help him put together his new location.

“I’ve really been surprised at the number of people who have come out to be a part of it and help out,” Smith said. “It really transformed the space.”

Only in Ogden has taken over the space that was most previously known as Tookiloo Boutique on Washington and 23rd Street, but Smith said the building has 100 years’ worth of history.

“It was a fantasy land of cowboy belts, rhinestones, rodeo queen outfits, all kinds of things for young equestrian people and even for competitive cowboys and rodeo people,” Smith said. “For 100 years, that space really touched a lot of people in the whole Utah multi-state region. It really was a significant store.”

The Only in Ogden store primarily features a retail space that will sell locally made gifts, vintage photographs of Ogden and apparel. The space also includes an art gallery that will host arts events.

Smith said that in a way, he is bringing back “the heart of the town,” or, as he put it, “the thing that connects so many people and is a place where people come in on a regular basis to see some wonder.”

Smith said he was excited to carry the torch not only for the store, but also for the section of Washington Boulevard that is known for being desolate compared to Historic 25th Street a few blocks away. But there was strategy behind choosing his location.

“We have so much strength and so much energy that we are going to bring wherever we are, so I wanted to stake it out in a part of town that was neglected,” Smith said. “If you look at that block, there’s like five or six empty storefronts right now.”

According to Smith, more businesses are making offers on those properties and starting up businesses in the empty old buildings. A new pet grooming store next door to Only in Ogden, as well as an apartment development on the corner of 23rd Street, could bring more foot traffic to the area.

But Smith isn’t worried about constant foot traffic. He said the First Friday Arts Stroll, a monthly arts event in Ogden, will bring people into his store.

“We will do 7 p.m. to midnight as our First Friday Arts Stroll primary hours,” Smith said.

The prime hours of art events, including a fashion show and dancers, will be 9-11 p.m. Only in Ogden will function as the “tail end” of the arts stroll, and will allow for other gallery owners and stroll participants to unwind at the store.

Smith also said he was optimistic about not only the future of Only in Ogden, but also that part of town. Although Smith hasn’t officially acquired his business license yet, he said he already paid for it and is awaiting fire marshal inspection.

“It’s an art gallery and retail store and information center; it’s not any one thing, and because of that, it has better potential to stand on its own. I’m very excited.”

Only in Ogden will host the official grand opening party for the store on the first Friday of December in connection with the First Friday Arts Stroll.

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(Photo by Raychel Johnson) A horse statue, covered in photos taken from the I Am Ogden project, sits on display inside the gallery space of the new Only in Ogden store.
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