By Griffin Swartzell, Peterson Space Observer
The Downtown Partnership has launched its Pop Up Shop program for the fifth year running, placing retail concepts in empty storefronts for two months, subsidizing their rent and giving them the chance to grow into something that will hopefully last. This year, downtown shoppers will find new options for interior decor, furniture, fashion and more.
Fair Finds Home Decor
104 N. Tejon St., 417/459-0082, fairfindshomedecor.com
Candace Williams, the owner of Fair Finds Home Decor, knows what it’s like to PCS every two to four years — her brother’s a career military service member. And that means she’s familiar with the choice between paying to ship furniture or selling and buying new.
“I wanted to be able to offer a product that actually was really stylish and affordable price that military people may only have for a couple years before they have to move on to the next [duty station],” she said. It’s an escape from endless Ikea trips and, bonus, there’s no assembly required.
Williams has worked as a furniture sales rep for around a year now — she managed a corporate car rental location for ten years before — but her father, Don Svenby, has been in furniture for 45 years.
Svenby has worked for companies like LA-Z-BOY and Weberg Furniture, working as a seller and as a buyer.
“I started [Fair Finds] online in the beginning of the summer,” she said. “And it was kind of slow going, so I decided to try this holiday pop up program to see if the retail space is necessary… . It’s basically a trial run on whether or not I’m going to continue to have a retail space or just focus on online sales.”
Fair Finds specializes in modern and contemporary furniture and home decor, though she does stock some more traditional pieces. Customers will also be able to find a selection of leather motion furniture — think recliners — plus handmade pottery, and lamps and lighting solutions. And to help her customers have easier access to beautiful homes, she keeps prices low by buying showroom furniture.
“What that means is that it’s brand new. It’s never been owned. It’s just what the factories rolled out for people in the industry,” she said. “And then, when the factories brought out the new stuff, I bought the showroom [pieces].”
She’s also leveraging her high-visibility downtown space to support charities. Customers who come in with an unopened toy for Toys for Tots or a three-pack of socks for Come On In will receive a 10 percent discount on all home decor and 5 percent off all furniture. Plus, they offer a military discount.
226 N. Tejon St., lunieva.com
Milan Shrestha’s store, Lunieva, sells cotton and wool clothing goods handmade in Nepal, his home country. This downtown popup is a trial run not for a new or web-based business but for a retail operation that already has two locations: one in downtown Manitou Springs, and one in Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. He hopes that this location will allow him to expand into Colorado Springs proper.
Shrestha has been in retail for the last 12 years, but it’s not what he’s always wanted to do. He came to the United States 20 years ago in order to earn his MA in psychology from Boulder’s Naropa University.
He did that for 10 years total, first moonlighting then fully committing to retail, which he says he’s found more rewarding. That’s in part because he has a mission beyond simple retail: supporting Nepalese women.
“I came from a country which [has a] male dominated society,” he said. “It is a smaller [fraction] of Nepalese women who are able to have a job and be able to support their family in a male-dominated society.”
He considers Lunieva to be a win-win-win situation for all involved. Coloradans have access to
high-quality wool and cotton goods. The people who produce these goods can use their skills to more directly support themselves. And Shrestha can make a buck while doing good for people back home.
“These women being independent and supporting their family and having their own job, it helps them improve their self-worth,” he said, “so this is really rewarding in that sense.”
The Local Honey Collective
9 E. Bijou St., thelocalhoneyco.com
Hailey Sardi has wanted to run a women’s clothing store since high school, according to Local Honey’s other co-owner, Cara McQueeney. But things only coalesced to allow them to pursue Sardi’s dream in February of 2019. But when things pick up, they don’t slow down, and after opening as an online retailer in September, the two are trying their hand at selling in a brick-and-mortar situation, focusing on a mid-20s to mid-30s demographic. They’ve hoped to open a storefront since they started planning, but that’s a means to their primary goal.
“Our mission is to encourage and empower women and the community, and we see that there’s a way to do that through clothing and fashion and welcoming women to a space like ours that is approachable,” said McQueeney. “We want a common ground for women.”
Sardi says they picked the name because, in the big box-dominated shopping landscape that is the Springs, it was important to them to get people thinking about shopping local. They explain that it takes a whole hive of bees working together to produce honey, which is a metaphor for what they want to do with regards to community-building.
As for what they’re stocking, they’ve curated a selection of clothing from brands that aren’t the biggest names on the fashion market but nonetheless make stylish clothing. They aren’t trying to sell one-season-and-done clothing, either, focusing instead on helping shoppers build what’s called a capsule wardrobe, a selection of clothing that doesn’t go out of fashion and can be worn in any season.
It’s all new clothing, picked to be approachable but unique. They also offer a selection of jewelry and accessories to provide that last little pop to bring an outfit together.