Rocky Mountain Seed Company uprooted: Denver landmark sells off history

When Westword moved into its first office, at 1439 Market Street, lower downtown was not known as LoDo. In 1977, this part of town was not a hip entertainment district. It was an old warehouse area, with a scattering of working-man's bars and a handful of businesses that had been operating for decades.

The Rocky Mountain Seed Company, which had put down roots in an old market at 1325 15th Street back in 1920, was a prime example.

When F.C. Vetting founded the company, there were other seed stores on the street, but one by one, they dried up or moved off, until, 85 years later, Rocky Mountain Seed was the last one left -- an artifact of the past that still sold seeds and supplies to farmers and urban gardeners who predated the locavore movement.

In the early 2000s, many people were far more interested in growing big dreams than growing plants, and two would-be entrepreneurs came up with the idea of putting a House of Blues in the Rocky Mountain Seed storefront. They bought both the building and the company from the Vetting family for a reported $3 million. But no House of Blues materialized, and the property wound up in the hands of Jerry Glick, a longtime downtown landowner, who remodeled the space that soon housed JohnstonWells Public Relations.

The parents of one of those eager entrepreneurs moved the business up to less valuable space at 6541 Washington Street, where they tried to keep it growing. But while the Rocky Mountain Seed Company was renowned for the hardiness of its seeds, the transplant did not go well. Last year, the PR firm moved to smaller offices in another Glick building in LoDo, where founder Gwin Johnston reports that it's doing well. Glick is working on a couple of deals to fill the old Rocky Mountain Seed space, looking for "the right tenant for the right place."

And the Rocky Mountain Seed Company, which started it all? It's holding a private liquidation sale this week -- selling off everything from vehicles to seeds to the custom-made oak cabinets that F.C. Vetting had shipped out to 15th Street over ninety years ago.

And so it grows.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Denver International Airport trains take an early morning detour (& that's no Mountain Mirage)."

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