Kelly Vaughn

Jim Andrus (pictured) has a lot of stuff. So much that it fills cabinets and rooms, display cases and counters, closet shelves and several drawers, a sprawling front yard and a porch, too.

Stacks of vibrant Fiestaware and glassware line the counters of one room, while fishing, hunting and military items fill another. The “International Room” is stuffed with tchotchkes from Asia, furniture from Mexico and more. And those are just some of the rooms within the many at Jim’s Trading Post, a must-stop along the wide spot in the road that is Rimrock, Arizona. 

Nine years ago, Andrus needed a fresh start. Having spent more than two decades managing private country clubs and yacht clubs in California and Scottsdale, he was burned out. The job had taken its toll on him mentally and physically. 

“It was a stressful life, trying to keep a lot of other people happy,” Andrus says. “I tend to internalize my stress, and, of course, that manifests itself in health issues. So, I finally thought, You know what? This is going to kill me. My parents lived in Cottonwood, and I decided to move to Arizona.” 

A while later, Andrus was having breakfast with a friend when that old buddy started talking about a little house that was for rent. “My friend remembered that I like antiques and encouraged me to try to make it a business,” Andrus says. “The rental house had no fixtures, but there was a trading post in the Village of Oak Creek that was going out of business. The owner said, ‘Give me $500, and you can take every fixture out of here.’ ”

So, he did. And Jim’s Trading Post was born.

On a Friday morning in March, Andrus stands outside that old rental house, shuffling a few items around on the ledge of the porch. He has a face like that of a leading man in a Western film, and it beams when he talks about the trading post and the community he’s created within it. 

Take, for example, the woman who sits in a chair inside, a well-loved cowboy hat veiling her face, but only slightly. She’s Camille Rieck, a local retired cowgirl, a character and a human installation at the trading
post. “When she comes to visit, usually for hours, I hold my breath because I never know what will come out of her mouth or what tall tale she might spin,” Andrus says.

And it’s that kind of good-natured relationship with locals and tourists that keeps people coming back to Jim’s. “A lot of people that are up here to visit Montezuma Well stop in,” Andrus says. “That’s a big deal for me. But a lot of locals pop in, too, especially the people who like to collect Navajo rugs or the jewelry. They know that’s my specialty.” 

Indeed, cases are loaded with turquoise and coral, hefty sterling silver squash blossom necklaces and countless rings. Stacks and stacks of rugs reside in one of the rooms. Andrus sources many of the items in the trading post from customers and their referrals. 

“People bring me things every day, or they’ll call and make an appointment,” he says. “Sometimes people just don’t want to mess with a yard sale. Right now, I’m working with a big auction house in the Verde Valley that closed down. I’ll go out there with my big box truck, load up a bunch of stuff and bring it back.” 

One Arizona Highways reader told us about Jim’s, telling us that we’d be missing out if we didn’t pay the shop — and Andrus — a visit. “A stop there is like treasure hunting, or more like revelations, as items seemingly spring off their shelves [and into] your awareness,” Joan Graboski wrote in an email. “I never know what I’ll find there on each visit. Jim has a high-quality inventory of authentic vintage Native American jewelry, arts and crafts.”

She’s right. She’s a local. And Andrus is thankful, both to Joan and for the way the trading post has changed his life. “I’m really grateful, because sometimes it’s hard — we’re not on the beaten path,” he says. “But it’s nowhere near as hard as what I did before.”

RIMROCK Jim’s Trading Post, 2115 E. Beaver Creek Road, 928-554-5526