Recycled retail: 2 prime Grand Junction spaces rented to artists, crafters after shops close
When Hi Fashion Fabrics closed and The Artist’s Haven relocated earlier this year, the nearly 25,000 square feet of combined space they left behind could have sat empty through the holidays. The end of the year is traditionally a slow time for the commercial real estate market, which locally was already showing reluctance to rebound.
But instead of barren parking lots and storefronts, there is new, if temporary, life in a pair of retail locations along two of the busiest roadways in town.
Dozens of local artists and crafters have temporarily converted the former fabric store at 2586 Patterson Road and the former art supplies retailer at 527 Bogart Lane into outlets to sell their services and products.
The arrangement provides a dual benefit: a cash boost for property owners Jeff Vogel and Claudine Bogart, who otherwise would likely have no rent money coming in, and an extended opportunity for small business owners to showcase their handiwork.
“For many, this store is a landmark. To see the store empty was hard on people. To see it alive again and to see people in this parking lot, it means a lot,” said Connie Ferguson, a longtime small-business promoter who helped create Shabby Chic, the boutique that has set up shop on Patterson Road.
Shabby Chic features 75 to 80 Colorado-based vendors selling everything from art, pottery and jewelry to apparel, candles and gourmet food. It opened a couple of weeks ago and quickly filled up, prompting Ferguson to expand further into the store. The boutique now occupies about 20,000 square feet.
Vendors pay a booth fee, plus 15 percent commission on each item they sell. The money covers the rent being paid to Vogel, who closed Hi Fashion Fabrics last May, as well as advertising and credit card machine costs. Vendors also volunteer two days a month to man the cash register and wrap gifts.
Ferguson said Shabby Chic has drawn in not only the full-time artists and crafters, but people who consider themselves hobbyists and need some extra cash.
“People in this economy need a second job, a second income,” she said. “They’re digging deep to find other talents they have. The economy isn’t good, and they’re finding skills they didn’t know they had. It’s bringing people out of the woodwork.”
The 4,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by The Artist’s Haven became available at the end of October. Like Ferguson and Vogel, Bogart, who owns the building along with its next-door neighbor, The Frame Depot, needed the rent money but also wanted to offer a venue for local artists. Vendors at Holiday Fair pay a booth fee and 10 percent commission, while Bogart is covering sales-tax and credit-card expenses.
Bogart said her plan for Holiday Fair came together late, so there currently are only nine artists in the building. Space is available for other artists, crafters or small business owners. Anyone interested can call 245-6999.
Bogart said she hopes to have a full-time renter for the building in January, but if one doesn’t materialize, she’ll keep it open for individual vendors.
“Rather than having it sit empty, we’ll do it on a month-to-month basis,” she said.
Shabby Chic is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Dec. 29. Holiday Fair is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday through at least the end of December.