Shoppe talk: Tran Wills is out of the business, but still has plenty of plans in store

shoppe_logo.jpg
Three years ago, designer Tran Wills took a trip to Chicago and was inspired by some of the cute stores she saw there -- so inspired that she decided to open the Shoppe on East Colfax. "The concept was always going to be cupcakes, cereal and coffee, open till two in the morning," she says.

Wills partnered with Emma Skala on the concept: Skala would bake the cupcakes, and Wills would do marketing and promotions. The arrangement worked well for about a year, Wills says, but then things went downhill.

"She wasn't going to be a partner; I was going to just have her bake the cupcakes when we started," Wills says of Skala. But Wills wasn't at the Shoppe all the time, and the relationship grew strained. "It started slowly being pushed out, not being told things, people getting fired without me being told, people being hired without me knowing," she remembers. "Then I got pregnant, I was really sick, and it got worse for us because I couldn't go in and talk to her, but I was still planning events and art shows. She wanted me to be physically there."

"There were a few instances like that," Skala acknowledges. "I think it basically didn't work out."

Wills gave birth to her youngest child last June, and in July, she received a letter saying the business had been dissolved. Skala refiled paperwork to open the Shoppe again under her name.

"For maybe a year and a half, I tried to buy her out, and made offer after offer," Skala explains. "I tried to write up a partnership agreement, and she wouldn't sign it. It didn't seem like there was any resolution to that."

Apart from re-branding and a new logo, Skala says the Shoppe is "pretty much gonna stay the same. I think the cupcakes are still going to stay the same, and we're still going to do art shows and stuff like that."

But Wills now has some new items on her plate. "We're opening a new gallery at 31st and Larimer; it's called Super Ordinary Gallery," she says. "We're helping Rebel Salon open a new barbershop called Proper, so Josh and I are going to do that and do the designing." She's planning on hosting Pecha Kucha nights at Super Ordinary, as well as some Prototype fashion shows and maybe even on-site Fresh City Life classes.

"And hopefully one day," Wills adds, "we want to open another concept like the Shoppe again. But on our terms."

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Location Info

The Shoppe - CLOSED

3103 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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41 comments
really?
really?

Can I ask some valid questions? Why was not ok for the wills to say anything? Why can't friends come to their defense? Isn't that what friends do? Just because the wills had the balls to do it on a public forum and ms. skala sent an email out and called her friends, what's the difference? if ms. skala has moved on or has new branding why is the wills sign design/branding still up outside and in? A little misleading, no? Why when people call and ask for the wills or ask for them when they come into the shoppe ms. skala and her staff say "their not here", again misleading. I know this for a fact because I went in to ask for one of them to help me with a project a few months ago and then ran into the wills months later and they had to tell me! BTW, I really need the wills help! Could of ms. skala and her staff so simply too have said "oh, their not part of the shoppe anymore". The wills had every right to say something in public because people went to the shoppe to support them too and for people to attack them over it is ridicules! If silence is key ms. skala enjoyed riding the wills' coattails as long as possible! Now the truth is out ms.skala and her friends are pissed! I am sure that sign is going to come down quick after all this. I wish them both well but let's get over this and move on and support everyone!

SparkleClean
SparkleClean

This Did happen a year ago. Why Now? Why keep coming back for more. Does someone really want this place to not be in business anymore? If You are looking forward into the future full of new ventures why keep digging up the past. If you want to be cutting edge then why not start with good old fashioned manors.

KillDozer
KillDozer

Still haven't seen a check from anything of mine at the FabricLab

Stephanie
Stephanie

The Wills are great people. Bringing this to the press was not good for anyone.

JeramyK
JeramyK

There was no need for this blog or write up. This should have been kept to the parties involved. I have even more respect for Ms. Skala and the shoppe as a whole because they have chosen the high road. Why did this writer go for this write up anyway?

Justsaying
Justsaying

I like that all of the pro-Wills comments came after Tran begged all her facebook friends to stick up for her! Social networking just helps people everyone stay nice and petty. Lets all let bygones be bygones people.

badnewssadnews
badnewssadnews

The very little amount of product I left in the fabric lab was moved to their pop-up shop in Mod livin. When they dissolved with the Shoppe, I was called immediately and my little show continued just fine. Tran is good people. I can say if it weren't for her friendliness and the love she eminates, I might not have felt so welcome as to participate in any corner of denver's art scene. She made things accessible for me. There are many people that talk about putting a collective together and that's all most people do, is talk. Critics that can't do. It would be next to impossible to have so many tots, manage so many events, business and relationships within. I suppose there wouldn't be any malicious comments if she just sat home, on a couch, eating pies. Which is what half of the complainers were doing before she called. I know one of these so-called "burned" people and he's a total doofus, critic, who totally can't buy his own drinks. When I am motivated to DO something, I will not hesitate to do it with Tran (!). I'm sure the people and artists closest to her will do the same. The rest can be upfront or get back. Also, last year, at a friend's wedding, I bit into a little white cupcake from the Shoppe and spit it right back out. When I looked in the trash can, my plastic-flavored cupcake was not alone. Many white cupcakes were spat that night. It was a WEDDING! How do you flub someones wedding cake? Sadness ensued.

Vanimal
Vanimal

Tran and Josh are amazing - creative and a positive addition to the Denver scene! BUT, that being said - this "story" is somewhat confusing, and why all this now, didn't this happen like over a year ago? It all seems like a last ditch effort in desperation, possibly a cry for attention. Funny how it took a full day to get people to come to the aid, and back up the Wills - rally the troops on phone and facebook, maybe? It all seems petty and childish, and to use ones influence with Westword writers makes you look silly, and Westword look amateur! Live and let live, I see no problem with announcing not being involved with a business, but to then slam the other person, and use here say (actually gossip, and base less) about complaints, was just mean and unwarranted. Good luck with the new venture and glad to hear the Wills are moving up, but this makes it sound like someone hasn't actually moved on. There is always two sides, actually three to any story, the two parties and the truth, so a simple announcement that "we are not involved" would have sufficed,but to go into this long drawn out explanation just wreaks of maliciousness? My biggest complaint is the Shoppe is not Dead - it's just different, not better or worse - Emma and whom ever else bakes is also very creative and talented! Any small business in Denver has the right to exist and last. If the products and services are good; they will prevail / if not : they fail, leave it at that, and judge people and business' on their merit, not who they know. I wish both the Wills and Ms Skalla the best, and hope both of their ventures success, and longevity!

*small business is what makes Denver, or any city original and unique so support, and unless you can make a tangible constructive comment, shut the F#%* up!

Kristi
Kristi

I'm amused by all the negative comments on here. Any mature and rational person knows that a "comment", just like on facebook, is almost always a cry for attention. In this case, it's a stab at someone's character. Those that choose to believe them, will never know these truly wonderful people. There will always be a good guy and a bad guy. The bottom line is how we treat others and how we allow them to treat us. I figure, if you're not posting something to help a situation or encourage someone...then you are simply showing your true colors. Trying to find the truth is hard enough with those we love, much less people posting random comments with fake screen names. Come on people, let's be adults. Let's love ourself and be happy, then post something! The hate just kills you...not anyone else! :)

@properbarbers
@properbarbers

The Wills are power couple of the decade as far as I'm concerned. Both equally as brilliant and passionate. I couldn't be more grateful to them for their decision to help me and Roxy of REBELLE Salon, not Rebel, design and bring PROPER BARBERSHOP to fruition. I love Tran and Josh and if I had a budget of 500k for what they've done for Proper, it would quite simply seem insufficient. Kudos Mr. And Mrs. Wills on everything you give to this fair city with your EXTRAORDINARY TALENTS.Props!Jordanthebarber

missingdenver
missingdenver

Very simply.. Josh & Tran are two of the nicest people in Denver making things happen right now. This post is a complete fabrication of lies. They will continue to push the boundaries & keep things fresh in the 303. Fuck haters.

Erica
Erica

Tran and Josh are amazing individuals. It sounds like those of you that have had "negative dealings", should be looking at yourself and not at Tran for your lackluster business acumen.

get real!
get real!

All of these people that are writing on this blog need to get a life.... Josh and Tran are amazing honest people!

Oside2000
Oside2000

I've worked with Tran before and I have had similar experiences. She's not clear in her communications and she still owes me money. Never Never Never go into business in any way shape or form with her!

Sean Herman
Sean Herman

The entire Wills family is amazing. Why is there so much hate in these comments? I see the Wills quite often and the entire family is amazing. Pretty simply put.

Rob
Rob

To balance the abundance of negative comments here, I feel like I have to say that all of my dealings with Tran have been great. I admire the Wills' for continually pushing the local creative scene forward, and think Denver is a better place because of them.

Baxmurphy
Baxmurphy

You know who has the bestcupcakes on colfax?? Notthe shoppe! Lovely Confections at colfax and Steele and they are organic!! And nice!!!

Letitraintomorrow
Letitraintomorrow

I must say that I don't know Tran personally, nor do I know Emma. I have no idea what went down at The Shoppe. What I do know, is that Tran decided to start hosting a Thursday night craft/fashion show at The Beauty Bar, and I seriously considered applying. After talking to nine, count that NINE, different people who had stuff on consignment in The Fabric Lab, I decided to keep as far away from Tran as I could. I was told by every single person (some knew each other, some didn't) that she shut down The Fabric Lab without notifying them, and never paid them what they were owed or gave their merchandise back that she had when she closed the doors. Every single person told me "she's really sweet, just never go into business with her and NEVER trust her with your stuff. She will rip you off and stop taking your calls". One person told me she asked them to restock their merchandise RIGHT BEFORE closing the doors to the Fabric Lab, and never gave anything back.Like I said, I have never met her, so I have never confronted her with what I have been told to get her side of the story. But since every person I talked to said negative things, and not a single person said anything positive besides throwing in that she is nice to your face, but basically a dishonest thief, well, I have made it a point to never meet her.I have lived in/around Denver for just over four years now, and I must say I have never heard so many complaints about one person by so many different people.

AdamCalteux
AdamCalteux

If you are friends with westword writers you insecurities become your reality and now "Truth". This is simply a fabrication. Nice Reporting

Ryan
Ryan

Simply Full a crap. A little Delusional?

CupcakeGirl
CupcakeGirl

I Love this establishment. It's one of a kind. It Is unique to Denver. The Colors, the sounds, the Art, even the crazy individuals that work there provide a one of a kind experience.

Stop Snitchen
Stop Snitchen

Really You went out of your way to blog this? Westword If you could only get the time back it spent to read this bull crap I will ask for no Money.

Pagoda
Pagoda

Wow, way to be on top of your gossip Westword. This happened over a year ago. How about writing on how the style wars concept was not a concept owned by this individual after hype'n it in your publication.

Girlsarecrazy
Girlsarecrazy

O So this is what Happened to the Fabric Lab

Dj
Dj

What a Load of Crap this is. Keep that Nose Brown amber

Mr Nelly
Mr Nelly

What a load of crap. If Tran wants to start telling the "real" story she best know that there are a whole lotta people that know the real "real" story. We just don't know Westword writers.

Silky.Johnstin
Silky.Johnstin

Where's the blog about Style Wars and how that was not her Idea. Where is the Blog how every local artist is constantly ripped off by this one individual that hides behind a laugh and a smile. This Blog post is a joke and not news worthy. It's like going public with a break up..... A Year Later.

Timemachine
Timemachine

Really Tran? Talk about living in full denial.

 Push.off.stomp.hard
Push.off.stomp.hard

Amber stop covering bullshit for personal favors... now, can we all get back to what is happening in Japan?

Aofishbrain
Aofishbrain

This Is the same wills lady who owes me money. Way to be on top of something that happen over a year ago.

Gus
Gus

you're an idiot, notice the correct usage of contraction, this post is "ridicules"

Skipper
Skipper

Damn that's beautiful

Scott
Scott

The Wills are amazing people. The reason people are sad is because the Wills are showering their misery on others. The Shoppe didn't go as *any* of the partners wanted. This step of being written up here and the Denver Egotist is not helping anything or anyone. It is just creating more drama.

Dan
Dan

Agreed they have done great things for this city. At the same time you can't keep Ripping people and not get caught up

Shy
Shy

Isn't this the same cupcake shop that took the shoppes space to begin with?

Friendly advice
Friendly advice

This is heresy and should have been kept to yourself. Unless you have personal, first hand knowledge of that behavior, you are walking a fine line of libelous speech. Even if you had first had knowledge you should be very careful before saying anything you can't back up with facts. Ms Willis probably has grounds to sue you over this post.

Aofishbrain
Aofishbrain

Isn't this blog all hearsay? Suing over Internet post. Funny

Mr Nelly
Mr Nelly

Um...heresy...is Tran the new church? I think you meant hearsay, which Letitrain pretty much stated the info to be. Jeez Louise, simmer down everybody!

Letitraintomorrow
Letitraintomorrow

I didn't mean for it to sound as if she's absolutely guilty, as I have no idea. So for that I sincerely apologize to her. I don't want people to think it's 100%, without a doubt true. Like I said, I never asked for her side, and there are two sides to every story. For all I know she got really sick and was on bed rest, not able to run the shop and carry out the duties.Again, I feel awful for that post. I wrote without even thinking. It might not even be the same person. Also, when I went back and thought about it, the one person that was the loudest about it turned out (for other reasons and in other situations) to be a complete liar. And about half of the other people were her friends. So who knows..I have flagged my comment for removal, and again apologize.

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