Gracy’s to shutter consignment shop
Aspen’s longest-running consignment shop, Gracy’s, is closing its doors for good this spring.Owner Karen Carner said she can no longer afford the rent on her subterranean space at the corner of Galena Street and Cooper Avenue. And so without another location lined up, the store will close indefinitely May 31.The shop opened almost 30 years ago, and three different owners helped mold the upscale consignment shop into what it is today.”I don’t want to be the one to end the dynasty, but I don’t know where else we can go right now,” Carner said.Gracy’s is known for carrying a little of everything and prides itself in being chock full of clothing, shoes, furniture, housewares, jewelry and even fur coats. In recent years Carner developed relationships with local retailers, selling their jewelry and clothing lines.
The store moved into its current space last spring, after it was bumped from its Hopkins Avenue location, which became home for two businesses displaced by the Obermeyer Place project. But walk-in business has been more brisk since the shop moved toward the center of town, and Carner said she was hoping to sign a long-term lease agreement to stay in the Mountain Plaza building.Landlord Jeannine Bidwell said she rented the space to Gracy’s a year ago well below market rent in order to fill the space for one year.”It was a one-year deal of a lifetime, but now the rent needs to go up to market rent,” she said. “They’ve been a fabulous tenant, and I offered them several options like subdividing the space so they could still be in the same location. We couldn’t work anything out.”Susan Harvey, owner of consignment shop Susie’s Limited, spent 12 years managing Gracy’s before opening her own business on Hopkins Avenue. Although Gracy’s was originally in a Victorian home at 202 W. Main St., the shop later moved to Hopkins Avenue, just a short distance from Susie’s.”I thought it was great to have a whole block of secondhand stuff – if people shopped at Gracy’s it was easy for them to come to my shop,” she said. “It was good business for both of us.”
Claudette Carter was the original owner behind Gracy’s and actually opened Aspen’s first consignment store, Cheap Shots, where Vectra Bank now stands, in the 1970s. She later owned a high-class children’s clothing store called Crackers in a nearby building, consigning clothes in a back room.That back room became Gracy’s, named after Carter’s business partner. The business resided in a Victorian on Main Street for many years before Amy Martineau bought the business, moving it to Hopkins Avenue.News of the Gracy’s closure shocked and saddened customers.”Quite frankly, I’m speechless,” said Carbondale resident Carol Klein, who was browsing through Gracy’s on Thursday afternoon. She said she bought a table there more than 15 years ago that she still owns. “It will be sorely missed.”Carner said she plans on discounting items in order to sell them before the shop closes, but she said anyone who has items they’ve consigned to the shop is welcome to retrieve them before discounts go into effect. Any unsold merchandise will go into a storage unit. Hopefully, she said, she’ll find a location to reopen the shop.
“I’m the kind of girl who never says die,” she said, looking around the shop sadly. “This town is not for the average shopper. I think Gracy’s really filled a need, appealing to people who want to find something of good quality but at a medium price.”Carner’s husband, Brad, said the shop has sold clothing and furniture to a number of Aspen’s celebrities, including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, Sally Field and Robert Wagner. Although Gracy’s was more of a thrift shop-type establishment many years ago, Carner tried to be selective about what she accepted for sale.”All of the people who have been our customers and consignors are like family for me – I’ll really miss them all,” she said.Local musician EJ Maret, who occasionally played at the shop’s parties, said he’ll miss the store.”I can’t imagine what would be better for that space – it’s a shame,” he said.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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