Letter From Home Sweet Home

We here at Home Sweet Home have a question for you: Who do you think you are?

Obviously, you know who you are, but where does a person like you get off? You are more than welcome to come into Home Sweet Home and ask for an interview, and we have been more than happy to oblige. But, in order to do an interview you have to inform us of needing one. We had no idea that you were doing a story about Sheridan, let alone a piece on us. Not only should you have informed the owner of your visit for a journalistic reason, but you should have informed the worker you spoke with of who you are and why you were there. It’s slightly ironic that every other author who wrote for the “On The Edge” story was capable of writing about the store, not about a small percentage of its customers, yet you are not.

Some people may be a fan of yours, (including the girl you spoke with), but after reading your article “about” Home Sweet Home, your fans surely are disappointed. Was your personal agenda trying to bash us? Or was that what you were told to do, in some irrelevant fashion (what on earth does ICP have to do with a head shop that has been around for thirty years?).

If you wanted to do a story about ICP why didn’t you go check out Primos? They would have been ecstatic to take the title of “ICP Headquarters.”

Have you met Jennie Porter, or her son Golden? No, most likely not. That’s because the two people in charge were never informed of your visit. But they sure would have been happy to tell you all you ever wanted to know about Home Sweet Home. Jennie could have told you about the history of her business, and how they’ve been on Sheridan for thirty years, or about the fire that destroyed their first store on Wadsworth. Golden would have told you stories about the crazy pipes he’s invented and what it was like to grow up with parents that own a head shop. Talk to the employees that work here, and they’ll tell you about fantastic customers who got engaged at a Grateful Dead concert, or about how we can relate to them when they pull up on their Harley’s and have a true respect for the life of a motorcycle rider.

You see, Adam Cayton-Holland, there was a story to be told. Not about ICP fans, and not about Pierced Tounge, whose name happens to be Dani. The story is this: Home Sweet Home has a great history, one that is filled with heart break, success, and a small business that has unintentionally lent a hand to the pipe industry. This is our story…

Upon entering Home Sweet Home one cannot help but to notice an odor in the air. It does not smell like “the plastic odor of screen printed tee-shirts, mildewed carpets, faint hints of weed” but more like a sweet musky mixture of Peace of Mind, Mysteriosa, Super Hit and Fizzy Pop incense. The carpet in the main hall is a little worn, but by the looks of it, it’s only a sign of good business.

“Time to replace it!” giggles Jennie, the owner of the store. The paint’s a little chipped, but that just means that soon the renovations to the store will make it look brand new. But what if those paint chipped walls could talk? Would they talk about ICP fans, or Zeppelin fans? No. They would tell you about the three couples that met here while employed, who eventually got married. They would tell you about some of the shoplifters who smiled when they got their picture on the wall of shame. They would tell you about the owners, Greg and Jennie, and about how heart breaking it was to see Greg pass seven years ago. One thing the walls would tell you is this- Home Sweet Home is like no other shop in the world.

Home Sweet Home began with a hope and a dream of Greg and Jennie Porter, the couple who owned the shop. In 1978, they opened the first Home Sweet Home on Wadsworth in Wheatridge. But after only six months of occupying the space they were put out of business by a devastating fire. The lot that once held the precious store is now a historical landmark in Wheatridge. Even through such a great loss, the Porter’s tried again. This time on Sheridan and 38th. It was there that Home Sweet Home went without electricity throughout the entire winter season due to a cement truck plowing through the store. They had to obtain a permit from the city to use generators to heat the store, just so they could stay open for their customers who needed last minute Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza presents. After finding the parking lot too hazardous, and sometimes too flooded to operate the store successfully they decided to move locations. So, the Porter’s tried once more in 1983, and opened the store at their current site at 1st and Sheridan, which was bound to be a success. Which it was!

Over the past 29 years Home Sweet Home has gone through its fair share of interesting events. Among its everyday throngs of people who stop by for a visit, a few celebrities have managed to sneak their way into the store, and have walked over the dilapidated carpet. But regardless of Hollywood status, anyone that walks in there is going to walk out with a smile.

There are some customers who come in all the way from North Dakota every year, even if it’s just to say hi. Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, South Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah are just some of the states that customers make a yearly visit from. There must be something about this particular head shop that draws them there, and this writer is pretty sure they know what it is. It’s the selection of over 100 rock n’ roll tee-shirts, the beautiful, summery dresses that are now 50% off. It’s the unique glass at an extremely reasonable price, it’s the sweet band posters, the trippy black light posters, and the immense amount of fantastic gifts. It’s the lovely tapestries, and the funky beaded curtains. It’s going in there every time and seeing a different customer, that’s totally opposite, or exactly like you. That’s one of the neatest parts about Home Sweet Home; the customers. They come from all walks of life, some from Sheridan some from Cherry Creek. Some who have faced and overcome incredible hardship to those who have never experienced it. Some of these customers are ICP fans and some are Dead Heads. Some are in their 70’s, some are second generations, and some are just barely considered adults. But no matter where they are from, how old they are (although you have to be 18 or over to purchase any tobacco products or paraphernalia) they are loved and welcomed into Home Sweet Home’s embrace. No matter who they are, they are all wonderful people, and we appreciate them more than one can know.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Cronin