The Vintage Common: Fruita shop offers hand-made goods & crafts
Special to the Free Press
WHAT: The Vintage Common
WHERE: 116 N. Mulberry St. in downtown Fruita
WHEN: Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
At age 17, Michelle Cools sold hand-made clothes to tourists and locals at California’s Venice Beach boardwalk. Today, 36-year-old Cools sells her wares at 116 N. Mulberry St. in Fruita.
Her shop? It’s called The Vintage Common, and it began five years ago in connection to another Fruita staple — the Cavalcade. The small, cozy space is filled with jewelry, bags, books, records, antiques, and hand-made items. Music, like songs by Frank Sinatra for instance, often plays in the background.
According to Cools, her main goal for The Vintage Common is to create a community focused on creativity.
“We know so many talented people,” Cools said. “It’s not just a retail shop by any means; we have a goal of inspiring people to do things a little different.”
The Vintage Common carries work from over 40 different artists from the surrounding area. Tayler Fitzgerald makes handbags for $35 a piece, Ron Zimmerman supplies “seed bombs” (seeds rolled in balls of fertilizer and clay) priced between $5-12, and Robyn Shaw makes flowers from old T-shirts for $8 each.
“Not very many things are manufactured in the U.S. anymore,” Cools explained. “So, not only did I want to offer customers locally made goods, but I wanted to encourage people to make things themselves. It’s a good forum for people to be creative, and maybe make a little bit of money while they’re doing it.”
A SHOP IS BORN
Cools originally moved to Fruita from Grand Junction in 2010 to help run the Cavalcade, a small performance venue for local and traveling musicians, poetry, and other artistic displays. That’s when she met Robin Shaw.
“There are a lot of artists just sitting at home playing music. The Cavalcade open-mic night gives them the opportunity to do something they’ve never done,” Shaw said. “The same thing happens here. All these artists may not otherwise have an outlet for their craft because they are so small scale.”
Although both historically and physically tied to Cavalcade, The Vintage Common has begun to partner with other businesses as well. Over the Edge Sports, a Fruita bike shop located across the street from the shop, recently began donating used bike tires to Cools. She uses them to create unique, multi-colored bracelets, which are sold at Over the Edge’s Fruita location as well as its Australian location.
“We just did our first wholesale order of bike-tube bracelets to Australia. So, something manufactured here in Fruita will be sold in Australia as of March 1,” Cools said.
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