Masks for sale

Nate Howard — Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
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Diana Bostwick of Oregon, sews a hand-made mask outside the home of her longtime friend and business partner, Anita Ritchey, July 17 in Gardiner.

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Diana Bostwick speaks to a customer who purchased masks for her family.

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Anita Ritchey holds a photograph of her grandfather, Wesley Ritchey, a businessman who operated Wesley Mercantile in the location of Rosie’s Bistro which was destroyed in the July 14th fire. Ritchey  recently found the photograph while cleaning the family home on West Scott Street in Gardiner. 

Enterprise photos by Nate Howard

Masks for sale — $10 a mask. 

And like the children’s book “Caps for Sale,” peddlers Anita Ritchey and Diana Bostwick sell gray, brown, blue and red masks, and many more colors and patterns. 

Rather than wearing the masks on top of their heads and wandering the town, as the storybook peddler does, the couple offer their masks for passersby, mostly tourists, entering Yellowstone National Park, from the front lawn of the old Ritchey family’s catalogue-purchased home on West Scott Street.

The masks wave like Tibetan prayer flags with elastic bands, hanging from clothes lines stretched across their front yard. 

Ritchey said since the Governor’s mask mandate was issued July 15, business has picked up for the couple who have been friends since they were 11 years old and neighbors in Colorado. The couple, who now live in Oregan, often visit Ritchey’s grandmother’s home in Gardiner.

Taking a break from sewing, Ritchey explains her family’s history in Gardiner and talks of the July 14th fire in Gardiner which destroyed four businesses, and one, Rosies Bistro, which was once home of her grandfather’s business, (Wesley) Ritchey’s Mercantile. 

In doing some house cleaning, she recently found an original mounted  photograph made by Berry Portraits and Views in Gardiner. 

On the back, lengthy notes written by Ritchey’s mother, Leah Collins Ritchey, identify Wesley at the counter along with notes on family history.