Talking Shop

A vacant building gets a second chance at the EZE life.

How Stephanie Shearer, the entrepreneur behind Pandora Jewelry and Soul Haus, obtained the storied EZE Mop building has already been detailed in these pages (go to westword.com/2009-04-16/news/the-city-should-clean-up-with-this-plan-for-eze-mop/2 for that saga), but the next page is a whole ’nother story.

According to plan, Shearer and her husband, Chris Bacorn, recently opened the retail end of what’s to be a sort of “urban funplex” there. Eventually, the Victorian home attached to the complex will become the Grind Haus, a tea and coffee counter with a walk-up window, plug-in Internet room and a low-cost private screening room, with nonprofit offices upstairs. In the summers, Shearer hopes to host outdoor film screenings on the lawn. Too community-minded to be true? Not really. Shearer is just that kind of person – the kind who would bother to preserve an old, nearly worthless house rather than tear it down for a parking lot – and it’s really all part of bigger plan in her head: the one where she envisions 17th Avenue as a new destination for shopping and dining, for “people who live in the city by choice.” And with three diverse storefronts in place to serve such people, there’s no reason to doubt her.

First off, the pastel-colored girlie gift shop, Peppermint, is sweet, but with a bite. “It has everything I wanted to carry at Pandora, but couldn’t; we’d literally outgrown our four walls there,” Shearer notes. In addition to a plethora of delightful gewgaws and locally made items, from repurposed tees and jackets by Pearl to TokyoMilk toiletries, there’s a healthy selection of Pandora jewelry to choose from. The store itself is entirely upcycled, retaining the original tin ceiling and tiled floor from what was once an early movie theater, wood recycled from EZE Mop shelves and other reclaimed architectural treasures. Next door, at the expanded Soul Haus, everything even smells more manly, and the look – tiger bamboo flooring and strategically placed bar stools – screams male inner sanctum. In addition to the clothes and accessories the old store was known for, Bacorn stocks old radios and other “mantiques.” And Babylon, a floral design wonder of the world owned by Arthur Williams, gives off a gentle shock with its raver green walls, a magnificent relic of an EZE Mop sign, dramatic fixtures, flowers and a fresh green scent.

The EZE Mop Complex is on the 1200 block of East 17th Avenue; for more, call Peppermint (303-861-4375), Soul Haus (303-830-7685) or Babylon (303-830-6855).
Mon., Aug. 31, 2009

 
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