Biz Emporium

From left, Erin Beedle and Keely Henkle, will open a store called Odds & Ends at the Ivywild School on Friday, Oct. 15. A good portion of the store will be toys, but the store will also be a place to find jewelry or gifts.

The sound of children’s voices could once again fill the halls of the Ivywild School, a former elementary school that now houses restaurants and bars in Colorado Springs, thanks to a new toy and gift shop.

The “community-based” Odds & Ends Emporium opened Friday, Oct. 15, inside the 105-year-old building at 1604 S. Cascade Ave. The shop sells products mostly from women-owned and USA-made vendors.

“We’re just really excited to open and show everybody what we’ve got,” said Erin Beedle, co-owner. “I feel like we’ve really gathered stuff nobody else has. We’ve really collected items to sell that you’re not going got see in any other retails pace in Colorado Springs.”

Beedle and her fellow co-owner, Keely Henkle, who have 25 years of combined small retail business experience, formed the idea for their store while they were working remotely at their jobs during the early months of the pandemic.

Biz Emporium

Unique and imaginative toys will be featured at the Odds & Ends Emporium at the Ivywild School.

“COVID really helped; we had a lot of time,” Beedle said. “... It really just gave us a push forward.”

Beedle said she was concerned shoppers would be cautious about venturing out during the pandemic, but the amount of foot traffic she saw while setting up the shop made her hopeful.

“We have people peeking in the windows, trying to get in,” Beedle said.

Christine Borst, one of 15 or so artists whose children’s books, textiles and art prints are displayed in the store, found the community of woman business owners involved with Odds & Ends Emporium collaborative and inspiring.

“It’s very cool too to see the overlap of the makers and artists across the city and how places like the emporium make it so much easier for us to really shine,” Borst said.

Beedle and Henkle focused on procuring items for the shop that aren’t one-use toys, but instead give children and adults ongoing experiences.

Some such items include puzzles, stuffed toy panthers, witty birthday cards and Colorado artisan crafted jewelry.

Henkle emphasized that the items they sell align with their “values and truths,” which include duo’s humor and quirkiness.

“We want people to be proud to have our stuff in the community,” Henkle said.

Located in an interior office room of Ivywild School, Odds & Ends Emporium is full of natural light and walls of exposed brick. The store owners plans to move the shop into its permanent location inside the building, which currently houses Loyal Coffee Roasters, in the spring.

Biz-emporium

From left, Odds & Ends Emporium owners Erin Beedle and Keely Henkle are featured in framed photos on the store wall in the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs.

Henkle and Beedle believe the location will give them a built-in customer base from the regular foot traffic the bars and restaurants.

Joe Coleman, owner and founder of Ivywild School, wanted to create a more “multi-generational” and “more kid-friendly” environment and thought Odds & Ends Emporium would be a perfect addition to the community hub, stated a news release from the store.

Coleman said he hoped the addition of a toy store would boost the venue’s “stroller index,” a term used to describe the “urban health” of a city based on the area’s attractiveness to families.

“Local commerce has always been important to our vision of Ivywild School,” said Mike Bristol, owner of Bristol Brewing Company inside Ivywild School. “Odds & Ends obviously fits that vision, but also aligns with our values of craft, enrichment and heritage.”

Contact the writer: jessica.snouwaert@gazette.com

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