In Denver, the name of a neighborhood can be a touchy subject. The Highlands/Highland/Northside inspire endless debate, and some imaginary areas have now become real, like LoDo and LoHi. And a particular section of South Broadway that has been known as Antique Row for decades almost became something totally different in 2014.
Last fall, a group of pot shops along that stretch proposed rebranding Antique Row as the "Green Mile" — which didn't sit well with some existing businesses. "I was told that Antique Row was 'dated' and it needed to be fresh and new and exciting for young people," says Rachel Hoffman, president of the Antique Row Merchant Association. "It was this move to change the name and identity of the area to promote marijuana. It was devastating. It was just so one-sided." Hoffman — whose family has run Turn of the Century Antiques on South Broadway for four decades — says the "dated" designation was unfair.
Along with antique shops and book stores that have been on the strip for many years, there are plenty of newer retailers and restaurants that have opened up. In fact, Hoffman says, Antique Row is and always has been home to an eclectic group of merchants, and attracted people from all ages and walks of life. "We are a lifestyle district — we offer so many things in many prices ranges," she adds. "There is something for everyone. You can come spend the weekend and enjoy yourself regardless of your background."
While the area is known as Antique Row, the variety of businesses — even the dispensaries — make this district unique in Denver.From the ARC Thrift Store to Corky's Antiques to La Cour Art Bar and Maria Empanada, Antique Row is much more than just antiques. "We have never excluded the marijuana businesses — we've just tried to be nice neighbors," Hoffman says. "But we certainly didn't go in and say, 'You're not allowed here.'"
You can get neighborly tomorrow, August 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., when the Antique Row Merchants Association will host its annual block party, involving dozens of businesses along the seven-block strip. Hoffman hopes that longtime shoppers and new visitors alike will come down and enjoy free live music, sidewalk sales, special activities for kids and plenty of shopping, eating and drinking specials. "We really just want to show people what we are about," says Hoffman. For more information on the Antique Row Block Party, visit the Antique Row Facebook page.
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