Retailer closes two stores in Front Range, opens shop in Basalt
The surge of online retail sales and challenging times facing downtown Basalt didn’t discourage Julie DelPonte from closing two stores on Colorado’s Front Range and opening a unique gift shop in the midvalley.
DelPonte opened Love You More this month at 355 Gold River Court, Suite 212A in Basalt. That’s in the Riverside Plaza building with a space fronting Two Rivers Road. Love You More is east of the new Free Range Kitchen restaurant.
She said she was impressed when she visited Basalt last summer.
“I was up here maybe three weeks and fell in love with Basalt,” she said. “People were just so friendly up here.
“Basalt was like what someone called a hidden gem.”
She closed gift shops in Castle Rock and Centennial to free up time, merchandise and capital for the Basalt store. She plans to move to the Roaring Fork Valley full time.
The store features an eclectic mix of merchandise. Items with hearts are big, as could be guessed from the name. There are hats, shirts and memorabilia that feature Colorado’s Centennial State logo. There are vintage antiques, jewelry, shoes, purses and greeting cards. There is a lot of decadent candy — caramel corn that melts in your mouth, peanut brittle and rice crispy treats slightly smaller than Rhode Island.
“I love chocolate, so there’s always a sample out,” DelPonte said.
There are license plates from every state that can be customized with any message. There are women’s pocketbooks made from old bras. Profits go to fight breast cancer.
“I don’t buy anything that I don’t love and wouldn’t buy myself,” DelPonte said.
And then there’s the name. It has sentimental value. When she was girl growing up in Colorado, she would tell her mom she loved her. Her mom would always reply, “Love you more.” It’s a way of remembering and honoring her deceased mother.
DelPonte is undaunted by massive growth by Amazon and online retailers. She said there are still enough people similar to her who like to browse — to see and feel products, maybe buy something they weren’t thinking of and getting instant gratification.
Basalt’s downtown also has faced ongoing challenges. Three major retailers relocated to Willits Town Center, where Whole Foods Market draws traffic. Some business operators and commercial property owners say the downtown needs a stimulus to make up for the lack of vitality after Labor Day.
DelPonte initially looked for a space to rent on Midland Avenue, Basalt’s main street, but liked the visibility of the space in Riverside Plaza. The chiropractic office next door brings in good foot traffic, she said. New restaurant and wine bar Free Range Kitchen is drawing rave reviews two spaces to the west. The space adjacent to the west is vacant. Cocina del Valle, owned by a cooperative, was unable to find success and closed this winter. The space is for rent.
DelPonte said she ended up renting a larger space than she intended.
“But as you can see, I filled it up,” she said.
She’s working alone, for now. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
DelPonte said she also is looking for new merchandise to keep her store unique.
“I love using local artists and people in town as much as I can,” she said.
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