Local businesses are using beautiful and unique artwork to draw in customers
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REXBURG — It’s a startling sight on Main Street in Rexburg — a massive ring of painted gold with a beautifully illustrated diamond on its top.
It’s a mural on Main Street Diamonds in Rexburg, and it’s big enough for people to take photos in front of it.
The large diamond artwork is one of a growing number of murals popping up around eastern Idaho, created by local artists to help draw customers into businesses.
One very popular mural is the “Love” wall on the side of iSource in Rexburg.
“I was trying to think of an idea to attract people to come down here to the older part of Rexburg. One idea that we came up with was to paint the wall so that people came down and took pictures in front of it,” iSource owner Devin Dial says.
Although the phrase, LOVE, spelled out with giant hands, has nothing to do with repairing Apple products, Dial says it’s the most effective advertising decision he’s ever made since opening shop five years ago.
“It cost me $800 and it was really good advertising because people would come down and actually see the store,” Dial says.
Joe Horner, the creative hand who painted the sizable design, says he works to craft pieces that compliment the storefront.
“I have my own style, but sometimes I don’t want to bring my own style to the business,” Horner says. “I’m not just proclaiming what’s in my head, I’m collaborating with another business or idea.”
Horner, who’s behind a vast majority of the mural designs in Rexburg and one in Rigby, says he’s reached out to companies to showcase his service. He says many requests have come by word-of-mouth because of satisfied business owners.
“I’ve been really surprised at how effective a simple mural is, like a wall that says “Love” on it. When I did it I wasn’t thinking much of the effect it would have, but now that it’s done I kind of am humbled to realize how many people actually take a second and stop and look at it, or take a picture of it,” Horner says.
He’s also the artist behind another ‘Love’ wall in front of the Rexburg Jamba Juice, and the eccentric Lil’ Mikes Bar-B-Que wall in Rigby.
Lil’ Mikes Manager Jennifer Scarbrough says owners were initially wanting a graffiti look on their wall but were surprised to see what Joe had come up with.
“We kind of told him a few items that we wanted — a potato the shape of Idaho and kind of stuff that’s more specific to Rigby and Idaho,” Scarbrough says.
The final product encompassed a southwestern vibe and everything else in between. Its unique shade of light blue provides the perfect backdrop to offset the deep red artwork.
“We loved it. We thought it was awesome. We’re like that’s definitely going to catch the eye of anyone driving by that you can see off the highway,” Scarbrough says. “I think it’s just eye-catching it’s really cool– something that you’re not going to find it anywhere else.”
The diamond solitaire ring on Main Street Diamonds is the newest mural in Rexburg. It was completed four months ago and placed so that drivers traveling east on Main Street will always see it.
“My Dad’s always wanted a mural up on this wall,” artist Cleat Merrill says.
Cleat Merrill’s father, Rick Merrill, who’s owned the store for decades, was excited when a Brigham Young University-Idaho class approached the store with some marketing ideas.
“This class had a ton of ideas. There was one that had a big mountain design, scenery, really busy, and with the time crunch that I had (before the semester ended) … it was kind of unrealistic,” Cleat Merrill says.
For Merrill’s family, they wanted something simple that would pop. They didn’t want the iconic Teton silhouette that is used for so many Idaho businesses.
“I sketched something down and made sure they (the students) liked it but most importantly my dad had to like it,” Merrill says. “The idea for the design was that people could stand inside the ring and take pictures together.”
Sarah Merrill, Cleat Merrill’s wife was instrumental in painting the black backdrop and helping the realistic three-dimensional design come to life.
“I thought it was long overdue for Cleat to do something that big and I thought it was such a good idea since there’s such a good view of the Main Street when you’re coming down this way,” Sarah Merrill says. “I thought it would be really valuable.”
The Merrill’s say it’s been a great help to their business whether it’s people coming to purchase a ring or inquire about the design, it has brought in more guests.
“My dad says he’s seen more business from people mentioning it,” Cleat Merrill says.
For Horner, the mural business hasn’t just been a way for him to showcase his style in the area, but also to help brand various businesses throughout the country. He says his mural requests have expanded to other states allowing him to travel all over to collaborate unique designs.
“It’s been a huge blessing to me to have the opportunity to paint murals because it’s paid for me to get through college and I continue to do murals all the time,” Horner says.
Find more of Joe Horner’s work and contact information on his Instagram page.