GLENS FALLS — Bolton Landing has Happy Jacks and now Glens Falls has his rambunctious sister Rude Betty.
Jeff Strief has opened the new store at 18 Exchange St., selling a variety of edgy gifts including games, cards and hats and even an umbrella that looks like a wine bottle when unopened.
Strief said he was approached by building owner George Normandin, who has his public relations office upstairs, about doing a version of the Happy Jacks store downtown.
Strief said the store prides itself on having “fun, funky, original stuff that you don’t see anywhere else.
“We have a pretty snarky sense of humor. If it makes us laugh and brings us joy, we try to carry it in the store,” he said.
Strief opened Happy Jacks in 2004 in Bolton Landing. He loved the idea of living in a small resort community. He also has Happy Jacks Kids and a candy store called Mrs. Whizzy-Fizz-Popp’s at 4963 Lake Shore Drive.
Strief comes from a theater background. He said retail is a form of theater. In this store, they are selling entertainment items to customers looking to buy things on a lark.
“They’re not really shopping because they need a certain thing,” he said. “They’re shopping because it’s fun. I try to have a very entertaining and fun shop.”
Other items in the store include hand sanitizers with funny names, housewares including cups and bottles, and clocks and stereo headphones.
Strief said his Glens Falls location does not sell clothes and shoes like the shop in Bolton Landing does.
There is also a selection of adult and children’s books, including titles from the popular “Choose Your Own Adventure” series.
“I loved those as a kid,” he said.
Strief said it will be a little bit of a learning curve figuring out what customers like.
He cautioned it is not a store for kids. There may be some items with ribald language that people find inappropriate for children. He said the store is not as edgy as the stuff that people would see in a Spencer’s mall store. It is in the same vein as Ta-Da! in Clifton Park Center, he said.
Strief said he came up with the name Happy Jacks because it fit the style of what he was trying to do. He recalled that at the time there was a nearby store named Blueberry Basket and he thought that men do not want to go into a store with that name.
When coming up with the name for this new store, he wanted something that would indicate its relationship to the Bolton Landing store.
“Who knew his sister was a little obnoxious?” he asked. “It’s fun. It gives people an indication of the kind of stuff we sell right off the bat.”