How Jimmy Funkhauser's small town beginnings inspired him in his quest to start a new life — and business

By Marlene Lenthang
Updated November 16, 2016 09:25 AM

Episode 2 of AMERICAN DOERS, a new 12-part video series featuring original thinkers, innovators, craftspeople, risk-takers and artisans across the United States.

It wasn’t easy for 34-year-old Jimmy Funkhouser to leave his small hometown of Elberfeld, Indiana, and it was even harder to leave his nine younger siblings.

“It was hard. As the oldest, I’ve always had this sense of wanting to set an example,” Funkhouser tells PEOPLE. “I think being the oldest naturally instills within you this nature of blazing a path.”

This year, Funkhouser quit his 10-year corporate job, moved to Denver, Colorado and started on his mission for achieving his own American Dream — opening a mountain gear shop.

Credit: Dorie Hagler
Credit: Dorie Hagler

Funkhouser named his shop Feral, which means wild. It’s is a good word to describe Funkhouser: an outdoor-lover with an adventurous spirit.

“I kind of decided the best way I could set an example would be to live an authentic life, and that led me here,” he says.

It’s far from home, it’s far from his family, but it’s where his heart led him.

“This is home. This is my tribe,” he says of his newfound community.