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Jake’s Journey spreads “Life is Good” optimism


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Jim Bast had been in the food industry for more than 25 years when he decided he was ready for something different.

So in September 2007, Bast decided to switch career paths, leaving behind his tenure at Urbandale-based Nellis Management Co., and started to put together a business plan that would eventually lead him to the title of business owner.

“I just wanted a change of pace, and I was ready to learn something new,” Bast said.

With more than a year of planning and a month of construction, Bast has opened the doors of his retail store, Jake’s Journey, in West Glen Town Center, which features the “Life is Good” product line.

“(‘Life is Good’) is spreading optimism,” Bast said. “And that is what ‘Life is Good’ product is all about, is spreading optimism. It isn’t trendy; it will always be there.”

Bast said he and his family were on vacation and visited a store that carried “Life is Good” products and fell in love with them immediately.

“The product is comfortable, and it has a statement to it, for any journey that may be your own,” he said. “All the shirts have a story to the idea of spreading optimism, and the product itself is very durable and well-made.”

Jake’s Journey contains several aspects of the “Life is Good” product line, such as men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, including seasonal items such as boots, scarves and mittens. Bast said he will also have a catalog that shoppers can order from, which he hopes will help him gauge what customers are looking for.

Bast also hopes to make his new business a family venture and said his 15-year-old daughter will work at the register and his wife will help with merchandising. However, Bast said that so far, his youngest son has proven to be the best worker.

“My youngest one (age 9) is the best and hardest worker,” he said, “so he is in charge of the Rocket Shop.”

The Rocket Shop is an area of the store that contains products featuring one of the main characters of the brand, Jake’s dog, Rocket. Jake is a gender-neutral stick figure and is the main character of the brand and served as inspiration for the name of the store, Bast said.

“Jake’s Journey was based around a lot of things going on in here,” he said, claiming “it was like it was meant to be. This to me is my journey.”

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