Small Town Spotlight: Created out of necessity, Edith’s Collective now a staple in Malad
MALAD CITY — In 2020, when the COVID pandemic froze life as we know, many — if not all — industries were affected. Many lives were forever changed.
Malad native Kelley Neal embraced that change and ran with it.
“I was working in the event world — the event industry — and events came to a complete and screeching halt,” Neal told EastIdahoNews.com.
He lost his job Easter week, he explained. Needing an immediate plan to create income, he decided on a temporary pop-up store to provide the Malad Valley community with Mother’s Day gifts.
So, he turned a 120-square-foot shed into a small shop, where he sold his signature floral arrangements and small gifts.
Since, his shop — Edith’s Collective — has grown with each passing year. Now, that shop can be seen just off Idaho Highway 38, between Malad City and Samaria — though it may just look like well-decorated grain silos to those unaware of its existence.
Neal’s shop, which is located on his family’s ranch, plays a role in that ranch’s ability to host grand events like weddings and school formals — including this year’s Malad High School senior prom.
In an email recommending EastIdahoNews.com feature Neal and Edith’s Collective on Small Town Spotlight, Ame Murphy praised Neal for his tireless work.
“Between hosting weddings, selling the cutest little home decor or arranging the most beautiful flower bouquets, Kelley is busy, but you (wouldn’t) know if he was tired — there is always a smile on his face and he is always so cheerful,” Murphy said.
Since its humble beginnings as a 10-foot by 12-foot shed, Edith’s Collective has undergone three separate expansions to now include two silos. One of those silos is Neal’s workstation, where he creates the floral arrangements Murphy mentioned.
“I pride myself in everyone of them looking different,” he said. “That’s not something you would expect to find in a small rural town but something you would find more in a high-end, more urban setting.”
In addition to his floral arrangements, Neal keeps his surprising amount of shelving stocked with an assortment of different items — much of which are made in the Malad Valley. He finds items to feature in very much the same way he advertises — through word-of-mouth.
As he explained, Neal shops the local farmer’s market, not just as a shopper but also as a business owner looking for his next item to sell.
“I’m always keeping my eye out for somebody that has something unique and interesting, and a little bit different, that would fit a ‘collective,'” he chuckles while air-quoting.
And, as he added, he also keeps his shop well-stocked with “Idaho-centric,” “gifty” items for the tourists passing through. Edith’s Collective is the first listed gift shop on maps after crossing the Utah border.
Due to his location, in one of the sections, shoppers will find Neal’s trademarked “Malad, where Idaho begins” apparel and accessories.
“We have to hit every demographic and every genre, otherwise it doesn’t work,” he said. “If you don’t have something everybody loves … you’re not a ‘collective.'”
As he continues surging into his third year of business, Neal took a second to reflect on how his “close-knit community” helped him recover from an Easter disaster.
“It was just a pop-up shop. It was just supposed to be here and there, for holidays and special occasions,” he said. “It’s turned into a full-time business — and it’s thriving.
“I can’t say enough about the community and their support, they’ve been really supportive. The little town needed something else to get their juices flowing — with gas prices the way they are, to go out of town to buy a gift or something small is just not feasible.”
Now, Neal takes great pride in offering a local shop, where his community can get those gifts. And support each other while doing so.
To see what sorts of items are available at Edith’s Collective, visit the business Facebook page or website. If you would rather just check it out in person, Edith’s Collective is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located at 923 West Idaho Highway 38 in Malad City.
Small Town Spotlight wants to shine a light on all the good going on in small-town Idaho. If you know of someone or something in one of Idaho’s many small towns that deserve to be featured on Small Town Spotlight, email Kalama@EastIdahoNews.com and include “spotlight” in the subject line.