Concoctory Creativity Shoppe and Cafe Crescendo celebrate with a grand opening party

The idea behind the Concoctory Creativity Shoppe was simple: to give people a place to tinker and create without being intimidated by the world of electronics. The venture will debut this Saturday, March 23 in a joint South Broadway Grand Opening Block Party with a new coffee shop, Cafe Crescendo, joining the ranks of cool craft shops in Denver aimed at getting people doing and making.

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"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," says shop owner Mar Wiliams.

Even though we interact with electricity on a regular basis, she explains it still remains a relatively foreign concept: "It's becoming so integrated in our daily lives, I wanted to represent that I grew up thinking electricity is scary and you shouldn't touch it, and I think a lot of people of my generation grew up the same way. It wasn't until later in life that I started tinkering with stuff and realizing oh, I can hook up my own lights to my bike so drivers can see me at night."

The Concoctory is split into two parts: "The Lab" in the back portion of the store will be a place for classes and workshops on electronics, the front is a retail space for electronics kits and crafting supplies. "But it doesn't stop at electronics," says Williams. "We also have coloring books and funny, silly stuff that inspires people to be creative."

The store is Williams's first foray into retail, and came from her desire to share her interest in electronics with a wider audience. "I used to be on the board of the Denver Hackerspace, which is a nonprofit organization that does a lot of the same thing," she says. "I felt like 'hack' is a dirty word to a lot of people, so I wanted to invite others to hack, but say it in an easier way that people could understand. I also wanted to do it in a high traffic area like South Broadway, where people could just walk in and play with stuff."

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You'll be able to play with much of the stuff at the store's opening party tomorrow night, which will feature retro arcade games, robots, live art and a Tesla coil experience just after dusk. The homemade unit from Mad Scientist Gomez will be showing off doses of simulated lightening; there will be other forms of art from Patty Leidy and A.V. Cassidy, as well as music from Sara Century and Caatinga Blues.

The always-entertaining Andrew Novick will be on hand with some sure-to-be-bizarre treats; there will also be snacks from food truck Snackgasms and plenty of coffee from Cafe Crescendo. A scavenger hunt will kick off at the cafe, and run all night.

The Concoctory Creativity Shoppe and Cafe Crescendo South Broadway Grand Opening Block Party will run from 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. All events are free; for more information, visit the Concoctory's website.

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