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John George Verkamp opened the first Grand Canyon curio shop, consisting of a tent from which he sold Native American crafts and souvenirs, in 1898. With few tourists, his first enterprise lasted only a few weeks, but following the construction of the El Tovar hotel on the South Rim, he returned, building Verkamp's Curios, which was completed in 1906. The Verkamp family closed the store in 2008, after just over 100 years of being in business. The building is now a National Park Service visitor contact station and museum.