While another beloved Coloradan institution seems to disappear every week, the demise of the Flossy McGrews costume shop hit harder than most losses. From the storefront, embellished with Lovecraftian decorations, to the lovingly crafted costumes, the place boasted an overwhelming variety of spooky and strange shopping delights that made it a must-stop not just at Halloween, but all through the year. But after founder/proprietor Suelynn Gustafson, aka Granny Goth, passed away three years ago, financial woes forced the closure of the shop at 1824 South Broadway.
While many Denverites feared that meant the end of Flossy McGrews, her friends and family started working behind the scenes and will now reopen the costume shop in a new location on Saturday, October 1 — just in time for the Halloween season. "When Flossy passed, the owner, her son, took time to conceive his own concepts," says Tamara Pidhayny, director of retail sales. "This location met all of our needs for the present and left the possibility of future expansion open."
It also kept Granny Goth's vision alive for another generation. "Family business and small businesses are important to the history and culture of any place," Pidhayny says, adding that the store's organizers have resolved to "fight to overcome the obstacles that come with a growing population. If it means physically moving, we will adjust."
The new store, located in a cluster of businesses in an industrial area along the South Platte, lacks the walkability and visibility of the original, but it's also unlikely to be replaced by a CrossFit gym in this rapidly developing city. "It's more desolate," Pidhayny admits, "but with the trademark fixtures up, there's no doubt where you are!"
While it's sad that the old location, which had been managed by the Gustafsons for three successive generations, is gone, it's almost fitting that the new shop requires something of a pilgrimage. And it's a journey well worth taking, because this Flossy McGrews holds another treasure trove of such oddments as masks, vintage clothing, morbid Victoriana, detailed costumes, decoupage lunchboxes, ugly Christmas sweaters and even a haunting collection of antiques, all fitting within the theme of "fanciful fun and frenzied fantasy."
"In many ways, the new store is a gift," says Pidhayny. "We have an opportunity to build from scratch, applying the knowledge from already running the operation to applying various new concepts. Our business can move, but we still carry our spirit with us. Flossy's is still as vibrant as ever. We will not succumb to physical change. We have a loyal populace who treasures our eccentricity and flamboyance. It's become hard to find one-of-a-kind items. Because we have a unique brand, it's irreplaceable to this city — no matter the location."
The grand opening for the new Flossy McGrews store at 2645 South Santa Fe Drive is Saturday, October 1. The shop is a work in progress, and will only accept credit and debit cards — for now. Find out more on the Flossy McGrews Facebook page, or call 303-895-8474.
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.