It’s been a big year for Mountain Village business.
The number of retail stores in the Mountain Village core essentially doubled over the last year’s, thanks in part to a Telluride Ski and Golf Co. initiative to fill empty storefronts and help create more vitality in this often sleepy ski area base village. TSG’s opening of the Resort Store and Telluride Naturals last ski season was followed by their subsequent opening of two more stores, the Gold Hill Gallery and the Swanky Buckle this winter.
“As a ski company, we have a vested interest in the vitality of the Mountain Village core. As property owners in the core, we welcomed the opportunity to create more vitality by establishing a greater shopping experience here,” explained TSG Retail Manager Elaine Giuliani.
The Swanky Buckle has quickly earned acclaim for bringing a decidedly feminine touch to the existing ski and snowboard gear-heavy shopping milieu in Mountain Village, with fun-to-elegant fashions from a wide range of well-known to up-and-coming designers.
Also adding to the Mountain Village Core’s retail mix this winter is Home, the posh and lovely home-furnishings store which opened up shop next door to the Swanky Buckle in December.
Home, pleasantly packed with all manner of home décor details, is the brainchild of Brenda Van Der Mije, proprietor of the Mountain Village’s East Meets West Gallery. Home will celebrate its Grand Opening today (Thursday, Dec. 30) with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments; in addition, East Meets West will host an artists’ reception, with wildlife photographer Bill Hitz, at the Capella Gallery, today, 4-7 p.m., and an on-site gallery opening for Ezra Tucker, at the same time.
The realm of food and beverage wasn’t left out of the Mountain Village’s 2010 renewal, either. Longtime Telluride and Mountain Village restaurateur Paolo Canclini opened La Pizzeria, a neighborhood restaurant that is deliciously redolent of a true Italian pizzeria. Canclini has remained true to his Italian roots with his La Pizzeria recipes, importing all of the basic building blocks of a good Italian pizza from Italy (from the oven in which La Pizzeria pizzas are cooked to the flour and tomatoes from which they’re made. Even the water that goes into the pizza dough comes from Italian bottled water.)
Mountain Village’s Town Hall Plaza also received a little boost in 2010 with the opening of Gondola Grounds, a small but mighty coffee shop opened by Mountain Village resident and M.V. Town Council member Richard Child – who has committed to keeping the coffee flowing year-round (off-seasons included.)
Paragon Outside/Bootdoctors, Garden Store, Heirlooms and Apothecary Liven Up Main Street
The Mountain Village-headquartered Bootdoctors store has come down the mountainside to Telluride, following a merger with Paragon, making it a new three-location sporting-goods empire. Up in the Mountain Village, the flagship store is now dubbed Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors (they’re still operating the Mountain Village Ice Rink Skate Rentals, at the ice rink, as well). Downtown, the old Paragon rental store (also dubbed Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors, it’s at the southernmost end of Oak St., kitty-corner from the Telluride Gondola) “has been completely remodeled,” says Penelope Gleason, whose husband, Bob, is the eponymous Bootdoctor, stripping away “layers of construction dating back to the 1800s.” That store – also known as Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors – now features full ski and snowboard rentals, 100 lockers, and a boot-fitting department staffed “with many familiar faces” who have trained under the Bootdoctor himself. The main street store – now known as Paragon Outdoors/Bootdoctors – has been transformed, as well, into a Nordic equipment center, complete with demos and retail equipment, shoes, and ski and adventure clothing. Skis and snowboards can be dropped off at any one of the three stores (“tunes and rentals”); for overnight tunes, there’s a brand new Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors van that delivers them “to your condo, to your friend’s house, your hotel” or wherever you’re staying, says Gleason.
Elsewhere in Telluride, new faces include the east Main Street Heirlooms rug store, in the New San Juan Building space previously occupied by Panhandler, now home to Lincoln and Paula Wilson, who have operated Old World Heirlooms, an import and rug shop in Tubac, Ariz., for over two decades. Wilson’s parents opened The Art Bank, an Oriental rug center in Colorado Springs, in the mid-70s. Most of Heirlooms’ rugs are made by Zapotec weavers from Oaxaca, Mexico. “We deal directly with about fifty families, with several weavers in each family,” said Wilson, noting that many of the designs found in the store are traditional to the Zapotec Indians. Despite the common belief that these oft-used designs emerged from the Navajo culture, Wilson explains to customers, many, in fact, were first introduced in North America via the influx of Turkish and Eastern rugs brought here by trading posts. “The Zapotec have been weaving since before time – longer than the Navajo, in fact,” said Wilson, who sells vintage rugs as well…. Also this summer, the Lawson Hill Garden Store opened a Telluride branch on the east end of main street (although its Society Turn Business Center location remains the larger and ever-more-abundantly stocked of the two stores), on the corner of Main Street and Willow St. By Thanksgiving, it had moved even a few more storefronts to the east, where Owner Kristin Undhjem stocks up on something for everyone, with prices ranging from $15 to $2,000….Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy opened its doors on the south side of main street (in between Pine and Fir streets) just in time for Telluride’s Noel Night shoppers, in early December; in addition to a full selection of Shining Mountain Herbs’ products, there’s a pharmacist on-duty, seven days a week…. Complete with an open-to-the-public climbing wall, Gravity Works opened Thanksgiving Day, on the east end of town, where it’s selling climbing gear, ski and snowboard gear and related merchandise….The most-innovative community-service business idea this year came from Two Skirts’ Kristin Holbrook, in the form of Clutch for a Cause. “I stole it from a friend back East, because I thought it was a great idea,” Holbrook confided of the event, for which her store accepted donated clutches, purses, handbags and shoulder-bags to sell as a late-July fundraiser for San Miguel Resource Center. In times of economic downturn, observed Holbrook, domestic violence becomes more prevalent. And in her six years on the board of the SMRC, which takes as its mission working to end domestic violence and sexual assault in the county, she had been on the lookout for the perfect summertime complement to the Fling. All of the proceeds from Clutch, which raised over $4,000 in its first year, went to SMRC, and Holbrook is planning another Clutch fundraiser in the summer of 2011.