Glenwoods Mountain Peddler readies to move on
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Joan Chaffin believes in always having a plan B.Thursday morning was a typical day for Glenwoods original peddler, Chaffin. She opened the doors to her gift shop, The Mountain Peddler, promptly at 10 a.m. The 69-year-old brewed some coffee and settled in for the day just as she had most days over the past 31 years.Not long after, shoppers were making their way through the store peering at trinkets and knickknacks.I think Im ready, spoke one lady as she approached the counter, her arms carrying several souvenirs of her morning browse.A brief exchange of word, conversation among friends, followed by a faint laugh.Thank you, the lady said as she gathered her new gifts.Your very welcome, Chaffin responded, pleasantly.A response shes given several times over the years. A response that her customers wont hear much longer, as Chaffin plans to retire as Glenwoods purveyor of fine gifts.The business which Joan started just a few years after she and her husband Bob moved here in 1974 from Dublin, Ohio is arguably the oldest remaining retail business in Glenwood Springs. Nestled right in the heart of Glenwoods downtown district, the business wasnt her initial plan for a career, but it worked out very well in the end as the place they called home.We just decided to chuck it and we came out here without jobs, she recalled with a chuckle. We took a chance and we had a good life here.But change rolls through the valley as quickly as spring runoff. And as the runoff flows, so will Joan venture down the stream of life this spring to see where her raft will end up. It will likely end up on the Eastern side of the state, in Highlands Ranch, to be closer to her son and his family.Its time for a new adventure, Joan said. Her confident stare supporting her smile.After Bob passed away from kidney cancer in September 2001, Joan started working six days a week at the shop. It was her reason to get up every morning, she said. But with sudden significant change, time proves the best remedy. After the raging waters of grief began to calm, there was a decision for Joan to make.When (you lose your spouse) you have to make some life changes, she said. Everything comes to a grinding halt and you have to reassess what you want to do with your life.You have to go to plan B.Her working ways, and the six-days-a-week, were coming to a grinding halt as well. During a two-week trip to Japan to visit her daughter, she realized it was time for that change.That was the first two-week vacation that Ive ever taken, she said. And I didnt miss the shop at all.She knew the store was in good hands with her employees P.J. Click and Jan Scarlett looking after things, but Joan knew that the shop wasnt where she wanted to be anymore. It was no longer the life she wanted.Ive always felt a little claustrophobic in this narrow little valley, she said.There is no telling what the future will hold for the store space when its gone. But the Mountain Peddler will soon close and Joan will leave the mountains to return to the flatter ground she knew growing up in Ohio.Im a farm girl anyway. I grew up on flat ground, she said. Besides, Glenwood is changing and its not all for the good.It was surely a different scene on Grand Avenue when she and Bob blew into town. Just as it will surely be a different scene when shes gone. Her biggest concern is that she will become one of those, non-make-up wearing, sweat-suit wearing retirees. But, shes got a plan for that, too.Im going to buy a bike and stay fit, she said. Its the beginning of a new adventure and Im up to the challenge. This shop has been my reason to get up in the morning for the last five years. Theres more to life out there.Theres always a plan B.Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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