Circa Vintage opens in Old Colorado City as storefront for …

A new vintage shop has opened in Old Colorado City, with sustainability and community at the forefront of its mission.

Circa Vintage opened in mid-August as a storefront for 40 vendors, offering everything from clothing to home goods to records. It’s a sister store to Eclectic Co., an artisan collective with two additional retail spaces.

Circa Vintage owner Erica Rose Dunford proposed the idea of a new vintage storefront to Eclectic Co. founder Peri Bolts and co-owner Ani Barrington after having worked with them as a vendor for a couple of years.

“I started talking to Peri and Ani about how I wanted to open an all-vintage shop for a variety of reasons,” Dunford said. “We just have wasted so much stuff on this planet. Let’s curate what we have and show people how cool it is, because a lot of the trends are getting recycled anyway.”

The idea: a sustainable, thoughtfully laid out vintage store that was the inverse of Eclectic Co., focusing on selling mostly vintage clothes and a sprinkle of other goods. That proposal blossomed into a new partnership among the three.

“They were like, ‘Heck yeah, we want to do a third store, all vintage,’” Dunford said. “But they didn’t really have the bandwidth. So a third person, third partner coming on board for this endeavor was perfect timing for all of us.”

The trio worked hard to get the shop up as soon as possible, scouting a location and organizing vendors.

“We are a powerhouse of three women that just went for it right away, so it took us about a month and a half to get the doors open,” Dunford said. “We on-boarded 40 vendors that were just amazing to work with because they were so excited.”

Unlike other collectives, the layout of the store isn’t divided by vendors, but instead resembles more of a traditional retail store with sections based on type of items. The purpose: make it more familiar to the shopper.

“We don’t have one curated space. This is more from the shoppers point of view, so it’s categorized by, ‘These are T-shirts; these are jackets,’” Dunford said. “We have over 40 different vendors, but we’re all intermingled, and it’s really just from the shoppers experience.”

Sustainability is an important pillar of the collective, with many of its vendors upcycling items into new goods, like earrings made from old skateboards or candles made with thrifted glassware.

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“With the handmade and upcycled, it’s really just if they lean into our mission of there being some type of sustainability story that kind of nods to what we’re trying to do in diverting waste and curating interesting, beautiful things,” Dunford said.

Community is at the heart of the store’s mission, Dunford said. As the store continues to get situated, Dunford hopes it eventually becomes a community hub, hosting fun events and bringing Colorado Springs together.

“We want to have that space not only for vendors and curators, but also for the Colorado Springs community,” she said. “People want cool stuff, they want it curated, they want to find cool records and they want it to be super accessible to them. So just creating a really cool space that people can get together monthly too, through our community events.”

As far as popular products, Dunford said true vintage, ’50s attire is having a moment, especially among collectors. The shop has also seen a lot of interest in throwback T-shirts and Y2K fashion.

“We have all price ranges. We have like the $300 1960s leather jacket, but we also have $26 tops and dresses,” Dunford said.

The shop has received good feedback, Dunford said, with shoppers really liking the layout.

“The response has been that it’s just curated, organized, and it’s kind of the shopping experience that they’ve been looking for with vintage,” Dunford said. “It’s hard to have this many different vendors and perspectives together and then to intermingle them from the shopper point of view.”

The vendors are enjoying the new shop, too. Emily Behnke, who creates fiber artwork for her business Matcha Moth, said the new shop welcomed her with open arms.

“I just fell in love with it, and when they brought up Circa to me, I was so excited to be a part of it because my work is very much so inspired by midcentury. And it just is very fitting with the vibe that they’re going with,” Behnke said.

Anna Rau, who owns Indigo Thrift, said the experience of selling her finds at the store has been great. “Every time I come to restock, everybody who walks in the doors is like, ‘What, this is awesome,’ and they seem surprised that we’ve only been open for a couple of weeks,” Rau said. “You can tell that things are really handpicked. A lot of really great vendors for sure.”

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