Prickly Pear Paper closes, making way for Cactus Country design firm

Mark Johnston, Lauren Johnston
Mark and Lauren Johnston's new venture is Cactus Country design firm. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Mark and Lauren Johnston's new venture is Cactus Country design firm. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Mark and Lauren Johnston closed Prickly Pear Paper on Feb. 20 at Barnone, the maker’s community in Agritopia, at 3000 E. Ray Road, Bldg. 6, Ste. 104, Gilbert. The company sold premium paper products and did letterpress printing and design work.

The couple has now opened Cactus Country as a multidisciplinary independent design firm specializing in brand identity and illustration.


“We always offered design services out of our shop and felt this was the direction our business was headed for the future,” Lauren Johnston wrote in an email. “It also allows us the ability for more creative opportunities and having a better personal work/life balance outside of the retail environment.”

The company has no brick-and-mortar location. However, it will offer a small selection of apparel and accessories, including T-shirts, hats, enamel pins, mugs and more, featuring its designs, which will be available to shop online on its website beginning March 21. www.thisiscactuscountry.com
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.