WHO WE ARE
Celebrating 50 Years in Business!
The Potlatch is a family owned business, and Lisa & Aaron Nelson are the third generation to own the store. The Potlatch prides itself on supporting local and giving back to the community. This year, we are celebrating 50 years in business, and hope to be here for 50 more!
Lisa & Aaron Nelson
The Potlatch 1970
The Potlatch Today
In 1970, The Potlatch Shop opened its doors up on Ski Way, originally started by the Ross Family. Being from Washington state, they got the name “Potlatch” from the Northwestern Native American tribes and sold items inspired by these tribes as well. The Ross’ purchased the iconic totem pole that still proudly stands outside the doors of the Potlatch Shop in the Raley’s shopping center. The store was then briefly purchased by the Olsen family before it was sold to Edward and Beverley Wurtele. Edward and Beverley were Indian traders and had previously owned a similar store in Southern California. They would purchase jewelry from Native American tribes in the Southwest and drive around in their motorhome selling wholesale to retail stores (including to the Ross Family in the beginning) on the West Coast.
In 1987, Edward and Beverley then sold the store to current owner Lisa Nelson’s mother, Lynn Brown. Lynn and her family lived in the house attached to the back of the store, when it was still on Ski Way, until 1997 when the Potlatch moved locations to the Raley’s shopping center. Lynn started the annual Artie Yellowhorse jewelry show in the early 2000s which still continues to be one of the store’s most anticipated weekends of the year. Finally in 2010, current owners Lisa and Aaron Nelson took over and continue to run a business that truly has a special place in the Incline Village community.
As a store, The Potlatch supports over 1,000 Native American artists, buying the jewelry exclusively fair trade. Twice a year, Lisa makes a trip down to the Southwest to purchase new merchandise and continues to work with some of the same families that her grandparents worked with. Some of these relationships date back to the 1970s as Lisa used to ride in the motor home with her grandparents down to reservations. The Potlatch is proud to carry as many ‘Made in the USA’ products as possible and are always conscious of how business decisions affect the environment and community.