Building businesses and growing roots in Jackson Hole.
//By Mike Koshmrl
Mekki Jaidi was a New York City-based derivative trader when he first glimpsed Jackson Hole in August of 2012. He and his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Jane, were aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to the Jackson Hole Airport. The pilot made one of those standard, yet incredible, slow descents down the Snake River corridor through the heart of the valley. It was Jaidi’s first time seeing the Tetons, and, trite as it sounds, it was love at first sight. “I didn’t even think something like that existed in the United States,” says Jaidi, who grew up in New York. A little more than a decade after that first trip, Jaidi is one of the largest employers in the valley and, with Jane, is raising two daughters here.
It wasn’t just the awe factor of the physical landscape that appealed to Jaidi and Jane. Over their long weekend vacation, they were taken by the valley’s slower-going lifestyle, which was quite the contrast to the hustle and bustle of keeping up with New York City’s eight-plus million residents. “It was just the openness and the connectedness of the community, just the feeling of knowing your neighbor, ” Jaidi says.
The Jaidis didn’t move immediately to Jackson. But in 2013 their intense attraction to the northwest corner of Wyoming led them to buy a condo in town as an investment. Jaidi convinced his mom and sister to do the same. The investment condo was only an investment for a year, though. In 2014, Jaidi and Jane moved to Jackson full-time and dug into the community. The couple—they married in 2015—now have two daughters, ages five and two, and Jaidi has become enmeshed in the valley’s business and nonprofit communities. “My daughters get to know people in the community, they see them out in public. Growing up back East, we were taught to not look strangers in the eye,” Jaidi says. “We’re definitely in a happy place and fortunate enough to be in the position we are, and that’s why I feel the desire to give back to the community.”
Jaidi’s first bite at business in Jackson Hole was in 2014, when he founded Outpost, a property-management company. He was motivated by dissatisfaction with the property manager for his own rental and thought he could do better, especially by providing clients with more straightforward pricing without all the fees. Initially, Outpost was seven properties and just Jaidi, who didn’t have experience with property management and had yet to get his real estate license. (About the latter, which he did get, he says, “I saw that as my route to live full-time in Jackson Hole.”)
It turned out that he wasn’t the only homeowner who had been dissatisfied with the existing property-management options. Outpost’s business ballooned. Today the company has a portfolio of about 230 condos and homes—more than a third of all professionally managed rental properties in the valley.
As Outpost grew, so has the Jaidi empire. Six years ago, he launched O2 Cleaning, bringing the cleaning portion of rental management in-house. There’s also Terrain, which handles landscaping and snow removal. In 2020 Jaidi partnered with local chefs Clark Myers and Chas Baki to start Provisions Jackson Hole, a catering company, donut bakery, and meal-delivery service. Most recently, in late 2021, Jaidi acquired Snake River Roasting Co. from founders Ruth Ann Petroff and Mark Barron. The various businesses sprouted and grew together organically, and they complement each other functionally while cutting down on costs by eliminating the need for outside contractors. It’s an added benefit that they make the Outpost guest experience more seamless. Together, Jaidi’s businesses employ about 200 people. His management style is hiring smart, motivated people and keeping his hands off. “I like to put people in positions of power and see how they grow the business,” he says.
The purchase of Snake River Roasting didn’t only offset Outpost’s $40,000 annual investment in complimentary coffee for guests renting properties in its portfolio; it also gave the community a new gathering space. Jaidi takes pride in Snake River’s small-batch, hand-roasting process, which is still done in Jackson, and also the fact that the coffee shop that came with the business is one of the only joints in town that serves its own roasted coffee. After several months of remodeling and retrofitting the downtown coffee shop, it opened this past June as Snake River Roasting Co. Cafe. The acquisition has expanded Jaidi’s business reach so that he’s also serving and interacting with the local community, rather than solely making vacations easier for Outpost renters. “This community thrives on the people that are within the community,” he says. Now, they have a new place to guzzle down a cup of Jackson Hole-roasted joe.
Soccer helped shape some of the characteristics that lead to my success in my adult life, including seeing the results of hard, grueling work. I want to be part of an organization like Jackson Hole Youth Soccer, which shapes our kids while also allowing them to have fun.
My family frequents R Park during both the summer and winter. We were able to experience the mission of the Jackson Hole Land Trust first-hand and create memories that would have otherwise been privatized and developed for one or a handful of individuals rather than the community as a whole.
For such a small town, Jackson Hole has a vibrant cultural scene, and the Center for the Arts is the epicenter of that environment. I want to continue to see it flourish by directly helping the 22 nonprofit organizations that are member-residents of the Center and also help in the Center’s efforts to make its programming accessible to and enjoyable by the community as a whole.
Mekki’s Ideal Winter Day
Rendezvous Park has a nice sledding hill for my kids. Plus, it fits in nicely with my spot on the board of the Jackson Hole Land Trust, which owns and administers the park.” (jhlandtrust.org/r-park)
I like taking walks on the groomed Snake River levee at Emily’s Pond; when the afternoon sun hits, you get the warmth. You run into locals and have conversations along the way, and it’s just a beautiful spot to be along the river.
Fat-tire biking is nice for exercise. I like to do that on the groomed paths and on Cache Creek, not necessarily backcountry trails. It lets me free my mind and connect with nature, and honestly, some of my best ideas come during those times. (Rent a bike via tetonmtbike.com.)
Mekki’s Favorite Meals
1. We love the staff at the Snake River Grill. There’s just a cozy vibe with the fireplace. If you get there early enough and it’s snowing outside, you can see it coming down outside. snakerivergrill.com
2. The cocktails at [Snake River] Sporting Club are some of the best in the valley; they serve them in the right glass and have the right ice cubes for each individual drink. I’ve always really enjoyed whatever concoctions they make. snakeriversportingclub.com/dining
3. In terms of hospitality, Kampai (shown below) is doing a great job. They’ve been so accommodating, squeezing in last-minute reservations for locals. kampaijh.com JH