Five new retail stores we'd like to see in Denver
Now that IKEA and H&M have both signed on the dotted line in metro area, folks who've waited patiently for their first chance to walk in the door of either of those trendy Scandinavian outlets will finally have their day. But after those open, and we're all done dancing in the streets, what's next? Here are few ideas:
Topping the list of retail outposts Coloradans whine about not having the most, Trader Joe's floats aloft in our collective dreams as the national Valhalla of eating well for cheap, an edible adventure in a box store. And soon, it seems, there will be TJ's in every state except Colorado. Albuquerque has Trader Joe's. Ditto for Omaha. So, what are we, anyway? Chopped liver?
Well, in reality the reports these days on TJ's are mixed, ranging from transcendent to pure yuck. But we need to find out for ourselves: Get here now, Trader Joe's, and open wide your Hawaiian-flowered overcoat of gourmet goodies to the Rocky Mountain palate, like, this instant. We want our Two Buck Chuck!
This San Francisco Japantown funplex houses a Murakami-esque onslaught of Japanese pop culture within its three above-ground stories, not to mention the Viz Cinema theater in the basement, where anime and live-action films from Japan are screened, and it's totally a trip. Probably the kind of trip, in fact, that belongs only in San Francisco, with its gothic lolita and tabi shoe boutiques, art gallery and emporium of weird stuff like Poketo's cool Mushroom Land t-shirts, wallets designed by Tokyo cartoonist Hideyasu Moto, Devilrobots artist stickers, Gloomy Bear iPhone cases and more. But surely Denver could embrace a core store. It's new, people.
Because my family tree has rich roots in New York, I can never see Bloomingdales as just another department store. It is, sure, but it's one that comes in every color of the rainbow, something I long ago discovered as a young woman set loose in the city to peruse cashmere sweaters and Norma Kamali sweatshirts. And even before that, when I was still a kid and my family visited New York, the pilgrimage was understood. Macy's was too middle-class, Bergdorf's too fancy. But Bloomingdales -- Bloomingdales! -- was just right: Modern and hip, with a youthful style. God forbid that Macy's, which actually owns Bloomingdales, should ever lose the separate brand. I have never been able to shake my reverence and never will, I suppose, until one really opens here and proves me otherwise.
-Magma Books (tip of the hat to Samuel Schimek, in the H&M shirt above)
This fashion-forward London shop, dedicated to the contemporary design scene, has a long way to travel if it is ever going to make it to Denver. But it's loads of fun, with a sharp modern eye for the slick and contemporary. Denver's got sweet; Denver's got swanky; Denver's even got some serious design chops. But since the shop Composition went out of business, Denver's got nothing quite like this: Some examples of merchandise include a Japanese kit of papercraft trolls, Giambattista Bodoni's Manual of Typography, Samuel Ho's Rocobot T-shirt, a customizable paper watch, an acrylic wall-mounted pigeon lamp with a clothespin clip-on, a make-and-shoot pinhole camera kit and a variety of ecologically correct ceramic notepads.
This is a good, old-fashioned pick for anyone who's ever had a yen to swim through a sea of buttons and trim, and Denver's got plenty of crafty cottage-industry types and local designers who would fall over with glee to discover a resource such as this, so close to home. A Union Square staple in San Francisco for more than fifty years, Britex boasts four floors of merchandise, including an entire floor dedicated to notions (with -- and this is just the tease -- more than 40,000 buttons), a bargain remnant floor, complete home decor and bridal departments and sumptuous couture fabrics, as well as everything else. If it ever was to open a branch here, we wouldn't change a thing.
How about you? What new stores would you like to see open up along the Front Range? Leave your suggestions in the comments.