Z Davis Robison loves anything and everything that is cool. He collects vintage furniture, local art, antiques, products from local brands and all other items that fit his definition of "cool" to stock his shop, Curating the Cool, in Lafayette.
Robison wanted to give customers a place where they could buy something unexpected -- whether they're shopping for gifts or just for themselves. "We try to have new and cool gifts, so that people don't have to necessarily drive into Denver or get online to find something unique," he says.
Originally from rural Oklahoma, Robison and his wife moved to Colorado eight years ago. After working as the manager of a medical facility and then in higher education, Robison decided they should pursue their dream of having their own business. "I've always been a collector and a lover of just things in general, from vintage to new," he says. "I really I love things, anything I classify as cool. My wife and I knew we wanted to have our own business so we decided to just open up a vintage, consignment and gift shop where I could kind of just have all the things that I like to offer to Lafayette."
Before landing in Lafayette, they lived in Boulder and Louisville. The sense of community they found in Lafayette, along with its support for local arts, made them feel at home, so they chose this town for their shop. "We feel that Lafayette has just taken the first steps to really becoming the 'it' place of Boulder County, and we're thankful to be a part of it and to kind of help shape that as well," Robison explains.
The shop contains everything from vintage furniture, mid-century lamps and leather luggage from the '20s and '30s to decorative items and Barbie houses. There's also a mix of local arts and high-end pieces. "We have everything from a Picasso to a piece of local art for $20, so I try to run the gamut of art so that anybody can hang something cool in their house," Robison says. "Because I'm a huge fan of art in general."
Curating the Cool also carries new items from local brands, including Sock it to Me, Vital Clothing, Field Notes and Clean Getaway; it has some consignment items from local businesses as well, including jewelry and hand-crafted wallets from Hot Butter.
Although vintage and antique items are usually expensive, Robison tries to keep the prices in his shop accessible to everyone. By finding and buying the items himself, he gives customers the best possible deals. "I hate going into places and seeing these cool things that are hundreds of dollars when I know for a fact that somebody found these for $10 at a garage sale somewhere," he says. "I don't want to have shelves full of things that are thousands of dollars that you can just look at and say, 'This is cool' and never have. I love passing it along so that people can have what I consider these great items in their own home."
He finds many of the items at online and local auctions, thrift stores and flea markets, and on his travels through Oklahoma, Wyoming and Texas. He also has help from pickers in the community who find cool items and pass them along.
Robison is constantly adding deals at the shop, like getting 10 percent off your purchase if you can answer the trivia on the blackboard. "I'm always trying to think of something fun for people to do. Part of 'cool' is really, to me, having a great time," he says.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.