A couple of contrasting styles

For the Shermans, their businesses reflect their different personalities

Mary Kay Sherman and her husband Jonny have complementary personalities, though you might not guess it just by walking into their neighboring stores.

Mary Kay, owner of The Giving Tree, describes her style as "country primitive" while Jonny, owner of Nimrod's, is more into metal bands and nonmainstream fashion.

Yet the couple has been married nearly 16 years and said they enjoy spending all day every day together.

"We're together 24/7. It's great," Mary Kay said. "He may get sick of me but I don't get sick of him."

The two shops are divided by a wall but use the same doorway from Yampa Avenue.

"A lot of people walk a few steps in and say, 'Whoa,'" Jonny said of the strict contrast between the stores' themes. "They are wildly different."

Mary Kay said her style is in the same spirit as Country Living magazine, with a range of gifts including lodge-style and items that are a bit exotic.

She carries small home furnishings and accessories, as well as jewelry and soapstone sculptures made in Kenya. She also rents silk and dried flowers and offers wedding supplies.

She owned a store under the same name for two years in Kremmling and had another location in Craig before moving to her current one last April.

"I've done a lot better at this location, more room, more to offer," she said.

Jonny had been in restaurant management for 27 years and was looking for a change. So he opened Nimrod's in June.

"I know we have two teenagers and we were constantly driving them to Denver to buy clothes," he said. "Almost every person who walks in says it's about time for something like this in Craig."

Jonny said his most popular items are music T-shirts and women's pants. He also sells patches, posters, chains and other accessories. However, he said he only buys 12 of any one item so that not everyone owns the same things.

"There's some exclusivity of what you have," he said.

He also said he thinks it's important to promote local bands at his store, and he sells their CDs at cost.

"It's a great thing for kids to utilize their talent in a constructive way like that," Jonny said. "I think that's so important in a town like this."

In a town such as Craig, though, attracting business can be hard at times. The Shermans recently finished the busy summer months and are preparing for the holiday season. Profits fluctuate from month to month, which is difficult on family members who are supported solely by the businesses they own.

"We've had to do a lot of adjusting and be very flexible," Jonny said.

Mary Kay agreed. "Everything we have we want to put back into (the stores), but we can't always do that."

Not only do the styles of the stores contrast, but so do the couple's attire. Mary Kay sports a conservative look, with a touch of Western flair. Jonny, on the other hand, goes slightly more casual.

"If you see me in baggy pants and a Chevelle sweatshirt, I'm representing what I sell, and I believe in what I sell," he said. "I try not to be a poser and live the lifestyle."

Jonny takes his children -- Alex, a freshman, and Tyler, a sophomore at Moffat County High School -- to concerts frequently and found himself in a mosh pit a few weeks ago. And though he stays young practicing the lifestyle he's marketing, Jonny said home is a comfortable place for him.

"We have a very stable home life and family life," he said. "We always eat dinner together."

The four of them even cut wood together for winter.

"It's a nice checks-and-balances deal," Jonny said. "(Mary Kay) reels me in from time to time.

"If I get too far out there with a certain style, she'll definitely mention it to me."

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