Photography: Courtesy of Chesa Fina
The discerning Main Street meanderer may have noticed that something was missing along the street starting early last summer. The Chesa Fina boutique, which sold items for the home, gift giving and bridal registries, closed its doors, leaving window shoppers and serious buyers wondering exactly what had happened. But the mother-and-son team of Judy Jackson and Chad Carter want everyone to know: the store has simply relocated, and business has never been better.
When Jackson and Carter moved Chesa Fina to a larger space at the Rail Central retail area, they knew it would cause a little confusion among customers, but the benefits would far outweigh the initial misperceptions. By moving to a new location, all three of the duo’s businesses now operate under one roof.
In addition to Chesa Fina, Jackson and Carter run j2, a special events firm, and Chesa Verde, a floral design service. While the combination surprises some clients, Carter says the businesses complement each other perfectly. “The three really feed off each other,” he explains.
Start with j2, a company that Jackson formed a year before the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. After many years of marketing management, high-level event planning and branding experience (Jackson’s work history includes bringing Alan Greenspan to a Utah fundraiser for Utah 1st Bank), she was ready to create a new focus. j2 caters to a high-end corporate clientele that prefers events involving branding campaigns and other marketing and business goals. “We really wrap our arms around the whole process and say, ‘What is it you want to get out of this?’” Jackson says.
During the Olympics, j2 orchestrated an 18-day client appreciation event for an international software company, which involved two Park Meadows homes with everything from turndown service and a private chef to transportation and ticket buying for the Games. j2 has also hosted events in Napa Valley, Palm Beach and Saint Moritz. As part of planning the events, j2 always offers the option of creating the perfect setting for the occasion, including décor, the wait staff’s attire and floral arrangements. And that’s where Chesa Fina and Chesa Verde enter the picture.
Prospective clients can get an idea of the possibilities for everything from linens and invitations to corporate gifts and floral containers simply by visiting Chesa Fina’s retail space. “It’s our way of getting them to touch and feel a product,” Carter says. And now that the company has branched out to offer wedding planning and the coordination of small, private dinner parties, the floral designs of Chesa Verde serve as a key draw. “The floral element helps us control the overall look,” he explains.
Jackson first began collaborating with her son during the Olympics on a purely temporary basis when Carter returned to Utah from Brazil where
he was working in a recording studio. The j2 project went so well he decided to stay in Park City. “It’s an absolute pleasure working with Chad,” Jackson says. “We never thought it would happen this way; it just evolved.” The business partners say they complement each other perfectly. “We’re yin and yang,” she describes. “He sees things in a logical, systematic way, and I’m the emotional one.”
Whether it’s their working relationship, mother-and-son connection or impressive history of successes, you can bet that Jackson and Carter will continue to create great moments for their clients as they grow their business triumvirate.
Lucy Burningham is a full-time freelance writer who recently relocated from Salt Lake City to Portland, Oregon.