In a town known for a tough retail market, The Picket Fence reflects commercial stability and a flexible business plan.
Opened 15 years ago by Claire Shaw in Woodland Park’s Gold Hill Place, the shop thrives by showcasing the talents of local crafters. “When the Craft Corral closed in 2004 I opened up here,” she said.
Some of the crafters followed, including a woodworker, floral designer, photographer, Western and primitive artists and a soap maker. “I take pride in a lot of handmade items,” she said.
Along with the crafters are the customers. “People stop in just to say ‘hi’ and share a story,” Shaw said. “We’ve laughed together, cried together and even solved the world’s problems together!”
With Shaw’s eye for design, which includes parts of a white picket fence, not the proverbial one, the shop is a cocoon of artistry, offering a moment for contemplation while browsing.
Along with the crafts, Shaw features turquoise and minerals from the Joe Dorris mine on the border between Teller and Park counties — and books written by Dorris.
The inventory is varied, designed to pique the interest of the browser as well as the shopper with a target purchase. From beads for jewelers to bags, scarves, gloves, socks, hats and clothing, The Picket Fence is a browser’s bonanza spiced with an air of fragrant potpourri.
“We even have dog bones,” she said, referring to a cookie-like product. Shaw’s secret to success includes renting space to her crafters to help pay the rent, along with the loyal customers who continue to frequent the shop. “It’s also listening to the customers and trying to follow some of the trends,” she said. “You have to project what people are going to want, which is real hard. I just don’t give up.”
After 15 years, Shaw has developed friendships through the shop. “The customers almost become an extension of my family,” she said.
The Picket Fence is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.