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Colorado Springs Leechpit, home to vintage clothing and memorabilia, to close this summer

June 6, 2013 Updated: June 7, 2013 at 9:23 am
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photo - Eclectic items for sale at the Leechpit Thursday, June 6, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Eclectic items for sale at the Leechpit Thursday, June 6, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Despite an offer of a new home for its collection of vintage memorabilia, the Leechpit will close July 13 because the owner of its current site at 802 N. Nevada Ave. has other plans for the building.

The Leechpit, which leases the building from Colorado College, caters mostly to hipsters and a nostalgic crowd seeking non-mainstream clothing and music.

Inside, the store is filled with used cowboy boots, tin lunch boxes, '80s band T-shirts, rows of "ugly" sweaters, Zippo lighters and thousands of vinyl records, like "Pink Floyd" and "Meet the Rutles."

Outside, its walls are covered with sun-blanched posters of off-beat bands and advertisements.

"I think it fits in really well with my vision of Colorado College," said Mark Pimentel, 56, who bought a Leechpit shirt for his son on Thursday. "It's trippy, eclectic; it's what you see on campus."

In August 2011, almost immediately after a leadership change at the college, Leechpit owner Adam Leech said CC officials told him they would not renew his two-year lease, which expires July 31. Leech will close his store a few weeks before so he has time to move its thousands of items.

"July 13 is the end of the road for us," Leech said.

The building was originally Toons Music & Film, a once popular location for midnight CD releases, concerts and other events, Leech said. He worked at Toons in 1994 when he was 15. That business closed around April 2008, Leech said.

Now Leech has less than eight weeks to do the same.

Leslie Weddell, college news director, said the college wants the building for future student activities.

"We are looking at the space for creative collaborative endeavors for our students, and we feel it's a good space for the students that meet our students' needs," she said.

Late last year, the college offered Leech another building for his business, Leech said. But he declined, saying the other building is "unsuitable" for most retail businesses.

When asked why the college did not let Leech stay where he is and use the other building for student activities instead, Weddell said:

"We feel this (the Leechpit building) is a good space for the use and the needs of our students, and we are putting our students' needs first."

For James Melton, 31, the Leechpit is more than a place to find vintage clothing.

"It brings back a lot of memories of growing up in the 80's," he said.

Leech opened the first Leechpit in 2003 at 708 N. Weber St. He moved to his current location in 2011.

To prepare for the closure, Leech already is selling items at a discount. On Thursday, it was buy-three/get-one-free, and the deals will get better as the deadline to vacate the building draws closer.

So far, Leech has not found another location for his store. He said he has looked at several other places, but none seemed "worthy."

He would like to stay in the college district where he was born and raised, or perhaps the city's west side.

"It seems illogical that there would be no place for us," he said, "but it's about protecting your baby, and this is my baby."

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.

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