Stop and smell the lavender: Niche shop offers aromatic goods in Grand Lake
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct address for Simply Lavender, which is 625 Grand Ave.
When people walk into the black chalet along Grand Lake’s main street, they can’t help but stop at the door and inhale deeply.
Their noses fill with a scent that is sweet, earthy and calming as they take in the room filled with lavender. Dried lavender bunches hang from the ceiling, and the shelves are decorated with every lavender product imaginable.
At the counter, owner Mari Fountain is wearing a lavender-colored mask to match her lavender nails. It is — as the shop’s name makes clear — Simply Lavender.
The store opened at the beginning of July after Fountain saw the building for rent the month before. She immediately envisioned the intimate space as a lavender store based on her visits to similar shops in Washington a couple years ago.
Fountain’s goal is to share not only the experience of walking into such a shop, but to help people learn more about the plant’s history and uses.
“The history of lavender is incredible,” she said. “It’s been used for centuries. It’s even mentioned in the bible.”
Simply Lavender came together quickly. Fountain’s shop is filled with a range of lavender products, such as honey, mustard and chocolate along with hand sanitizer, lotions, salves and much more. She gets her products from two Colorado farms and one in Washington.
Fountain was enthusiastic about the niche shop, but she was aware that her timing might not have been ideal.
“In the back of my mind, there was this little voice telling me, ‘You’re opening a store in the middle of a pandemic. What are you thinking?’” Fountain said. “I don’t think any other time would have been any better.”
Fountain has been committed to safe practices at her shop since it opened just over a month ago. Beyond that, she thinks that customers who are cooking more during the pandemic will enjoy her culinary products.
While Grand Lake might seem a strange location for such a unique shop, Fountain was happy to bring something different to the mountain town.
“I know it’s a little unorthodox,” she said. “Lavender? You’re in Grand Lake. It should be cowboy boots, steers and horses tied up to the post. But it brings something new.”
In its first month, Fountain said she’s seen about 8-10 visitors on weekdays with more on the weekends. Typically, customers seek out her shop rather than wander in.
While visitors always notice the lavender aroma when they step inside, Fountain herself can’t smell it much after spending all day in the shop. Even so, she said she constantly feels relaxed from being around the scent all the time.
“I have a tendency to not smell it too much because I’m there the whole entire day,” Fountain said. “I tell you what, it’s the most calming feeling being in there all day.”
Fountain hopes her patrons find the scented oasis inviting and get a chance to explore some of the tension-relieving alternatives at the store.
For the summer, Simply Lavender is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except for Wednesday at 625 Grand Ave.
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Winter Park approved an across-the-board raise for town staff that had initially been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic’s expected impact on the budget.