TELLURIDE – The family business is a family affair at Wizard Custom Framing and Emporium, the co-creation of longtime Telluride locals Jackie and Chuck Arguelles and their children Jessie McConnell and Jarrett Arguelles.
The Arguelleses have operated Wizard Entertainment for the last 12 years, and are now seeing the three-decades-old institution into its next evolution. Jackie and Jessie recently unveiled Wizard Emporium, a gift shop with a locally made and environmentally conscious feeling, in the sub-street level Main Street space that for years served as Telluride’s music and film hub.
As McConnell explains, the growth of NetFlix, iTunes, and the like has pushed the rental DVD and retail CD market to the brink of extinction. But that market revolution has only served to push Wizard toward its next chapter, as a locally focused and sustainably minded artisans gallery.
“With the video and music business not what it used to be, my mom and I started brainstorming what we could do with the store, and we finally came up with the emporium idea – the foundation of which was that items we sell here would strictly be made in the USA, and with an environmentally conscious base,” McConnell says.
While the store will continue to sell concert tickets and still offers DVDs to rent, the Wizard space has been transformed to provide a platform for many local artists’ wares, as well as other handpicked American-made products.
Locally made jewelry comes from Brittany Miller and Shea McWilliams, as well as pottery from Norwood-based Goedele Vanhille. The creative textile art of Danielle Deroberts and many more also grace the shelves at the just-minted Wizard Emporium.
“We really wanted to have a place we could showcase local talent. Artists get a great opportunity during summer with the Farmer’s Market, but there isn’t a great option during the winter,” McConnell says. “We also want to help stimulate the local economy, through this business that allows people to buy local.”
The store also sells hand-selected products with an environmental emphasis, such as Mauka Woodwerks, a Fort Collins-based wooden toy manufacturer that utilizes recycled wood and wind-powered tools. Washington-based Glass Eye Studio hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments hold court beside refurbished ceiling tile picture frames from Dryads Dancing. The store also carries a selection of handmade greeting cards, imaginative wrapping paper, hand-dipped beeswax candles, and more.
“Each item we carry has been individually hand made, it’s all unique… a lot of thought and care and love goes into every piece that’s down here,” says McConnell.
Wizard Emporium, which recently underwent a full cosmetic overhaul that exposed some of the historic space’s stone walls and opened and brightened the downstairs location, is also home to Wizard Custom Framing – the most recent fruition of yet another longstanding Telluride business.
Father Chuck Arguelles and brother Jarrett purchased the framing business from Michael Spillman, who operated the frame shop in Telluride for over two decades. Chuck and wife Jackie owned and operated the beloved Telluride restaurant institution Sofio’s from 1980-2002. After they sold the restaurant, Chuck found himself with a lot of spare time and idle hands, which he ultimately put to use in learning the art of framing from Spillman after he purchased the business in 2009.
Meanwhile, son Jarrett had returned to Telluride from Florida, where he had been building motorcycles as a mechanic at Harley-Davidson. Parlaying his background as a mechanic into the new family framing business proved a smooth transition, and now Jarrett and his father are in the frame shop nearly every day, providing fully customized framing services with a selection of thousands of frame styles and matte colors.
Wizard Custom Framing and Emporium is open seven days a week, located beneath the Shanghai Palace restaurant on Telluride’s main street. For more information, call the store at 970/728-4924.