Gracy’s, an Aspen consignment store, to open Meadows branch |

Gracy’s, an Aspen consignment store, to open Meadows branch

While a number of popular restaurants and stores appear to be threatened with permanent closure, one Aspen landmark is broadening its horizons.Gracy’s consignment store has been operating in Aspen since the 1970s, but a year and half ago, it, too, was facing extinction. Current owners Karen and Brad Carner were dealing with Aspen-style rent plus the additional cost of upgrading their basement location on East Cooper Street to make it handicapped-accessible. The potential costs were enough that the Carners thought they might have to shut down.Then Crystal Palace owner Mead Metcalf offered them a new home next to the theater. The Carners signed a six-year lease, and they’re finding success in the new, ground-floor space – an improvement over their former subgrade home next to Kemosabe.But the growth spurt hasn’t ended there. The Carners plan to open a new Gracy’s in Glenwood Springs in the next couple of weeks. They’re in the process of designing a space near the new Target in the Glenwood Meadows shopping area.The new store will have a different feel, but Brad Carner says the shopping experience there will be as unique as it is in Aspen.The Glenwood store will sport a runway complete with music and fashion-show lighting, so patrons can model their potential buys. A fireplace will add ambiance, and there will even be a $30,000, handmade log pool table – for sale on consignment.”You can shop, and your husband can shoot pool,” Carner said.Carner said he and his wife might apply for a liquor license at the Glenwood store, with the goal of enhancing the shopping experience – not creating a party atmosphere.”It depends on that market,” he said. “We have to test it out a little bit. It’s something we want to offer in a tasteful way.”One of the driving forces for the expansion is to foster business in the offseason. Although locals are Gracy’s “most prized customers,” Carner said, roughly three quarters of the Aspen store’s business comes from tourists in high season.”Glenwood Springs is a more steady, year-round market,” he said. “The offseason in Aspen is just brutal.”The merchandise downvalley will be slightly different from that in Aspen. Although the original store is known as a consignment store, it also offers some new fashions. Sometimes, Carner said, New York designers will want an Aspen address, so Gracy’s will offer their new fashions.”We’ve kind of evolved into a consignment store/outlet store,” said Carner.The Glenwood store will continue to offer consigned merchandise, but the lease requires that 75 percent of the merchandise be new.The Carners hope to open the Glenwood store in the next couple of weeks, and they expect the experience at the new store to be as unique as it is in Aspen.”I think it’s going to be a real nice addition to our type of product,” he said.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is

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