The ten best stores on Broadway
Lowbrow's Tymla Welch and Lauren Seip.
We gave the Broadway/Baker retail strip the award for Denver's Best Neighborhood Shopping District two years in a row -- in 2012 and 2013 -- for so many good reasons: The area is spilling over with hip, modern creative ventures. But some of that contemporary spark flares further south, too, along Antique Row. Here are ten of our favorite local retailers on Broadway: Some are old, some are new, but every one of them rocks.
10. Decade Decade is the grand old lady of South Broadway, and she's earned her longevity by keeping it fresh, year after year. Here's what we said about Decade way back in 2001, and it still holds true today:
This small, stylish retro boutique is a welcome alternative to the pricey stores farther down Broadway on Antique Row. Decade always has a reasonably priced selection of antique armoires, vanities, couches and chairs; you may also find 1950s- and '60s-era dinette sets. And that's just the furniture stocked at Decade. The store also has authentic and reproduction homeware from decades past, including deco-style kitchen clocks, vases, pillows and lamps -- everything you need to dress up your home. Venturing into the back of the store -- with its assortment of vintage faux fur-collared coats, snap-shut purses and white gloves -- is like visiting grandma's closet, but Decade stocks plenty of hip, new attire too. The store's inventory changes frequently -- giving you a good excuse to go there often.
9. True Love This affordable -- and sassy -- shoe emporium, a favorite with drag queens and shop-till-you-drop girlfriends alike, hit Broadway just as the street began transitioning into the hipster haven it is today. We laid on some shoe-fetish love in 2007:
Sarah Lilly-Ray has raised the cheap shoe to stiletto-heel heights at her Broadway footwear emporium, where the prices rarely climb above fifty bucks a pair. And what pairs! Lilly-Ray's shelves are proficiently stocked with nearly 100 styles of inexpensive shoes, from ballet flats to knockoff wedges, made predominantly from vegan-friendly materials and oozing with personality. Walk on!
Hazel & Dewey
8. Hazel & Dewey We named Hazel & Dewey Best Kitchen Store in 2012:
Don't go into Hazel & Dewey looking for the ordinary: Clean, sparse and, oh, maybe a little bit precious, the independent kitchen shop sports a Scandinavian aura, though it's not specifically Scandinavian in scope. Billing itself as a "modern mercantile," the foodie-forward boutique carries everything from Helvetica-character cookie cutters and Moroccan glassware to elegant Japanese wooden dishes and stylish La Théière cast-iron tea kettles in cool green shades; these wares, hand-picked by owner Jenna Miles according to her own discerning taste, are served like cake on round tabletops and tidy shelves. It's the perfect place to buy a memorable hostess gift or a be-good-to-yourself secret splurge. (While not bargain-priced, most of the merchandise costs less than $100.) Coming up this spring? Fresh-cut flowers, sold out of the shop's wood-paneled walk-in cooler. Broadway will be blooming!
7. ArtsMyths Tiffany Smyth's amazing masks won these kudos from us in 2009:
Fire-eater, belly-dancer and mask-maker Tiffany Smyth is young in years, but her skills as a craftsperson seem as old as the Renaissance, which is a clear influence for her. And it's a potent combination of youth and wisdom that goes into creating the flights of fancy she builds from leather, feathers and beads -- from the most realistic elf ears you've ever attached to your head to larger-than-life, black-light dragon masks with fiery haloes of flame. Lightweight and absorbent, they are also as comfortable as they are impressive to look at. This is your go-to, the next time you need to look smashing at a masquerade.
6. Indyink Screen-printing emporium and urban-art gallery Indyink celebrated its tenth anniversary last summer with a reunion show of work by artists who'd launched their careers there. A South Broadway stalwart, the shop continues to peddle T-shirts, art prints and print services, and as of this month, also provides pop-up urban toy space for Plastic Chapel, which closed its store on East Colfax at the end of March.
5. Concoctory Only a few weeks old, the Concoctory Creativity Shoppe caters to the city's wannabe Teslas and mad scientists. And true to its name, it's a kind of a creativity incubator. "It's a shop for makers and DIY nerds; it's a fusion of electronics and arts. Basically, the idea behind Concoctory is that anyone can be a maker. There are a lot of amazing craft shops around Denver, and one thing they're really missing is the electronic aspect of it," owner Mar Williams told Westword last month. Classes and workshops are being added by the day.
4. Fancy Tiger Though Fancy Tiger -- both the clothing store and the crafters' paradise -- has grown into a true linchpin of the Baker neighborhood, and has been through a few changes over the years, here's what we said about the twin hipster havens when they still shared one space in 2007:
From the moment partners Matthew Brown and Jaime Jennings opened Fancy Tiger, its blend of DIY mentality and hipster fashions meshed perfectly with the neighborhood and adjacent social centers hi-dive and Sputnik. And like a good bar, it has something for girls and guys alike: hip make-your-own kits, unisex saddle bags, jeans and street wear, knitting supplies, old buttons, open craft nights, sewing classes for men, deejaying classes for everyone and plenty of other busy-bee activities to keep the corner humming day and night. Plus, the blog at fancytiger.com keeps a record of it all. Fancy Tiger, how did we ever live without you?
3. Ironwood From the day it opened its doors, Ironwood brought a jungle of timeless enthusiasms to Broadway, and it still bewitches all who walk in the door. We gave it a Best of Denver award for Best Eclectica in 2012. Here are the reasons why:
Alyson Two Eagles and Jeff Childress like to call their shop Ironwood a "things we love store," and that's exactly what it is: a place where you walk in and fall in love. It's perfectly unlike any other place, and resembles nothing so much as a strangely modern museum of Victoriana, with its antique shelves and dark walls artfully cluttered with shadowboxed butterflies, potted succulents, terrariums, raw rocks and crystals, wooden arrows and what seems like a million objects, old and new. A select range of beautiful books, many of them scientific in nature, nest all around them, and art by local artists fills in the walls, shelves and window front: a Ravi Zupa assemblage here, Elena Stonaker's hand-embroidered and beaded creatures there, and a mass of Brittany Gould's cave-like polyhedrons dripping from the ceiling. Though the owners are young, Ironwood has a delicious old soul -- one young woman minding the counter told us that it's not unusual for the store's hipster clientele to come back with their parents in tow -- and the steampunk vibe of oiled metal and grinding gears amid growing things
2. Sewn We can't love Sewn too much: The shared domain of creative clothiers Jil Cappuccio and Kirsten Coplans, it's a sheer delight, brimming with beautiful ideas and one-of-a-kind pieces to refresh any wardrobe. Here's why we gave it the Best of Denver award for Best Store on Broadway in 2012:
It feels as if friends and colleagues Jil Cappuccio and Kirsten Coplans, both talented seamstress/upcyclers, have been working toward opening SEWN together for a long time; the two have been recognized in the local retail fashion scene as a team for some time, sharing craft-show booths and pop-up boutiques to sell their wares. And once they discovered how well their particular lines go together, they merchandised them as mix-and-match partners, easily accessorized with one of Jil's whimsical tapestry bags or their shared passion: an array of vintage Frye or cowboy boots. Since then, they've worked pieces by other designers into the mix. But this kismet goes even further than that when you consider the neighborhood shift that allowed Cappuccio and Coplans to hang the SEWN shingle over their door at 18 South Broadway, former home of Fancy Tiger Clothing, which moved up the street. As a result, SEWN, which opened at the end of January 2012, not only ups the overall vibe of the street, but also brings a new level of cozy comfort by offering clothing that's original and trendy without being the least bit pretentious or body-conscious.
1. Lowbrow A newcomer on the street, Lowbrow opened last year with a welcoming spirit and a credo based on the idea that anyone can find and cultivate the artist within. That convinced us to welcome it right back with Best Store on Broadway tribute for 2013:
Ever get a hankering to open up a coloring book and go at it with a box of crayons? Got the gift for glitter? If so, Lowbrow is the place for you. Ladies Fancywork Society yarnbombers Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch came out of the anonymous street-artist closet to open the Broadway shop -- which proffers a little bit of everything, from scented markers and glitter to DIY craft books and collectible vinyl toys -- for a reason: "Art isn't just confined to museums," they proclaim on their Facebook page. In defense of that attitude, they also host inexpensive workshops that focus on making anyone an artist, on and off the streets: classes in screenprinting using household products, graffiti-writing, wheat-pasting, book art and, in cooperation with the Denver Zine Library, zine-making. Lowbrow also doubles as a gallery for -- you guessed it -- lowbrow and graffiti art; you could say it's a gallery that sometimes colors outside the lines.
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