Well, of course they were. Despite the big box stores that line South Townsend Ave. – with enough stuff inside to easily make a home complete – the fact remains: a town without a bustling Main Street is a town severely diminished. And that means the shops and galleries at its core must flourish. Participating vendors in this month’s First Friday Stroll will include:
- An artist demonstration from local woodworker Adam Duncan at the A+Y Gallery, who will show the techniques he uses to coax the beauty out of unfinished wood. The gallery will also feature an exhibit of green, meaning furniture and paintings with that color on or in them, as well as green, environmentally friendly products.
- At Fabula, “Instead of showing green things, we’re going green,” owner Sonja Horn said. Specifically, the three-floor home décor, gift and kitchen-accessories shop will focus on eco-friendly foods, kitchen items and toys. There’ll be a special presentation on the black and white varieties of Himalayan salt, for use at table or as a bath salt, and special guest Brian Hitt will be on hand to discuss the popular counter-top surface Corian, which he re-purposes into cutting boards.
- At the Simpson gallery, owner Mike Simpson will show how he paints watercolors; if you ask nicely, he may also offer a demonstration of his latest passion, gilding. And at Canyon Gallery, there’ll be a special sale on a print of Mount Sneffels in its full glory (that would be in autumn, at sunset). Around the Corner Gallery will introduce the work of two new artists its has recently added to its stable: husband-and-wife team Mike and Linda Ballas. He sculpts colorful fish out of raku, and she makes needle-felted landscape/wall hangings, purses and more.
- Among the other participating vendors will be Dahlia’s Floral, Pollux, and She She’s Boutique, where local artist Karen Shamp will exhibit her contemporary and Southwest-inspired jewelry.
There will also be food, beverages and tunes on offer; Horsefly and Two Rascals breweries will (naturally) serve green beer, and Canyon Creek B&B will host a musical jam. The galleries will also offer beverages and appetizers. Canyon Creek, for example, is conducting a wine tasting, featuring a domestic chardonnay and Pinot noir from Don & Sons, as well as a French offering – Les Vignes de Bila-Haut – which Linda Angelo of the Pour House calls a “velvety, complex, fabulous little red.” Angelo believes strongly in the First Friday Strolls, the Main in Motions, the Christmas events and all the other things in which merchants participate, in order to keep interest in downtown Montrose high, particularly in a tough economy. “I understand their concern,” she said. “The Pour House is located on the other side of the railroad tracks on West Main Street. We have had to make the store a destination in itself to get people to come.” These days, a core group of business owners is “breathing new life” into downtown, she said. “They have a vision. They understand the bigger picture. You have to do something” to help keep businesses vibrant. “You don’t want a town without a downtown.”
It’s not easy being green.