By Jennifer Pund
Repurpose, up-cycle and giving old items a new life, is the basic theme of The Flipping Flea, a new store in Georgetown inspired by the television show, Flea Market Flip. Ann Marie Cannon and Robert Nix stock the store with sustainable and vintage items as well as up-cycled, repurposed creations by the owners and local artists. The couple has a “sincere desire” to bring out the beauty of found objects and sells an eclectic mix of “re-imagined” antiques, refurbished items and the raw materials to “create your own inspired piece.
Cannon and Nix knew they wanted to open a retail shop, had the space and were inspired by a popular HGTV show. “We live upstairs and this was an office down here. It was the library and they were moving out, so we were watching this show and kind of like obsessing about it. I was like, ‘we should do something like that,’” Cannon said. “I woke up, and he had insomnia… and he was all excited, and said, ‘I know what we are going to call the store.” That was it. It has its own momentum, and we just ended up running with it.”
The two have a passion for breathing new life into previously loved materials. “We pick stuff up from estate sales and thrift stores and sell all kinds of one off items,” Cannon explained. “We have a workshop upstairs and can make custom pieces for anyone, too.” Cannon has created tables from suitcases, turned books into bags and can custom make whatever requests come her way. If they don’t have it, and you can imagine it, they can make it for you.
The store also offers a place for people to come slow down and enjoy the vintage atmosphere, and friendly conversation. “We will always have a sitting area in the front room. It’s a place to come and sit and talk,” Cannon said. “It’s always for sale, so I am always looking for seating arrangements that are comfortable, and for sale.”
Cannon and Nix met online about three years ago, and had their first date at the Georgetown Christmas Market. “We were just going to go to the Christmas Market, and then I was going to [leave],” Nix said. “But we had a good vibe and we are both history nerds, so we did the historic Hamill House Tour, too.” They’ve been together ever since.
The two have a lot in common aside from their love of History. They both come from legacies of re-using items. “My mother was born in France just before the war so she grew up during the war, and then the depression in France and so she always saved oleo dishes and using them like Tupperware. She would take me to the thrift store, I hated it. I didn’t want to be seen in the thrift store, I didn’t think it was cool.” Cannon said. “Now I love it.”
Nix’s family heritage was similar. “I’ve always been someone to reuse stuff,” he said. “I am really influenced by my grandparents. They were depression kids, born in 1919 and they never threw anything away. My Grandfather would use and remake all kinds of stuff.”
The Flipping Flea not only carries repurposed vintage items, but also hosts space for local artists and national brands that work from a recycle, repurposed medium. Find one of a kind trucker hats painted by artist Megan Gregg of Rollinsville. Check out the vintage windows re-purposed by Georgetown local, Ruth Rosenfeld with her original photographs in the panes. Find vintage inspired clothing handmade by Alisa Reynolds and handmade, carved glass knives by an Idaho Springs artist.
The Flipping Flea also carries national brands that make products from recycled or repurposed ingredients. Sunglasses by Blue Planet use bamboo ear pieces and Mona B bags are one of a kind created from military tents and truck tarps that are sunbaked, weathered and cured then hand stitched. The shop is also a retailer for Znad, the maker of the four sided wrap one-size-fits-all snap skirts.
Even the building is repurposed. The Flipping Flea is housed in the Mahany Building, an Italianate home previously known as “BOB” for burned out building. It is part of the Georgetown/Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District. “Built in 1867 by early investor Jerry Mahany, it is the perfect setting for the Flipping Flea, for it has had it’s own share of repurposed lives,” Cannon said. “Most notably it was all but destroyed by a fire in 1974. It stayed vacant for 26 years until Historic Georgetown Inc. purchased and restored it in 1999.”
The couple enjoy living and working in Georgetown where aside from creating for and running the Flipping Flea the two also participate in the community. Cannon recently worked for Historic Georgetown Inc and is a freelance historical fiction writer.
Nix has begun training for the volunteer fire department as well as operates Alpine Bob’s Mountain Services where he maintains the community VRBO rentals for the owners. “I was in the cooperate world for 26 years. Now, I can scale it up or scale it down and can take a day off if I need to,” Nix said. “And, we are interested in being part of the community. I’ve more friends in Georgetown than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You run into people, you know their names, they say hi, they invite you over for dinner. It’s a wonderful town.”
Stop into the Flipping Flea to find a gift for someone or just for yourself. You might just get inspired by something vintage.
The Flipping Flea is located at 614 Taos Street in Georgetown. Call 720-403-1734, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.theflippingflea.com for additional information. Find them on Facebook, too.
Originally published in the September 2016 issue of the MMAC Monthly