Dillon boutique owner goes from firefighting to fashion

marieprom (marieprom)

If you’re simultaneously in the market for an intricately carved briarwood smoking pipe and clothes from the swinging ’60s, Jessica Holschbach at Retro Rebel Trading Co. in Dillon has your back.

In October Holschbach opened the boutique, which boasts a minimalist floorplan befitting of an art gallery, along with an eclectic mix of vintage, Western, native and mid-century clothing, boots, jewelry, furniture and other memorabilia.

Jessica models a vintage jacket

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A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — where residents also have a love for pasties, the 33-year-old says — Holschbach has long been drawn to clothes with a history.

She grew up in a small rural town that, like Butte and Anaconda, at one time boasted residents from all over the world who came to the U.S. to work in copper mines.

During her youth, Holschbach said her dad worked as a logger and her family spent a lot of time in the woods. She said hunting was a way of life in her hometown, where she spent her free time working at an antique store.

“I always kind of liked older stuff,” said Holschbach. “When I was a kid I’d shop at thrift stores. I’d find bellbottoms from the ’60s and ’70s and that’s what I would wear.”

However, becoming a shop owner wasn’t Holschbach’s first calling.

Before moving to Dillon, Holschbach worked for 11 years as a wildland firefighter in Zortman.

Holschbach became interested in the trade while attending Northern Michigan University. There a few of her male classmates were taking a class in wildland firefighting and told stories about fighting fires in the proverbial “out west.”

After hearing the stories, Holschbach said, she told her friends that she, too, wanted to fight fires.

“They we’re just looking at me like, ‘whatever, you could never do that job,’” said Holschbach. “Two years later, I ended up taking the class and then I actually ended up coming out here and doing it.”

However, Holschbach didn’t become completely sold on the profession until she fought her first fire.

“I remember that night we stayed out there at the fire line,” said Holschbach. “I remember waking up under the stars, I just laid my sleeping bag out on the ground … I was just like, man, I love this job.”

Holschbach continued in the profession for 11 years until it began to take a toll on her body. At that point, the Michigan native came to Dillon to pursue a degree in natural resource management from the University of Montana Western. While in Dillon, said Holschbach, she began working a day job and selling vintage clothing on Etsy: a website dedicated to showcasing small vendors, especially those who make handcrafted goods.

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2016-12-26 -04:00
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