2019 Best of Denver: Best Shops Inside a Shop

Small-business owners shacking up together in one location has become common as more and more neighborhood storekeepers find themselves plagued by rising rents and operating costs. But Curate Mercantile (formerly Unlisted) does it bigger…and better. Under one roof, booths run by more than 100 local vendors offer a full gamut of gifts: hand-packaged food items, cut flowers, clothing, jewelry, handmade cards, home decor and more. To make shopping even more fun, Curate hosts periodic workshops, open house weekends and ladies’ nights.

Curate: Local Love

Find love in all the local places. A surefire way to get gifts made with love is to shop small this Valentine’s Day. Featuring more than 60 local small shops, Curate Mercantile (formerly Unlisted Market) is stocked with gifts, accessories, fashion and home décor. The shop is located at 8242 South University Boulevard. After their recent relocation across the parking lot, the store is ready for many more years of connecting the community to local artisans, creators, and entrepreneurs.

From handmade jewelry and precious bows to the upcycled potholder and delightful gnomes, these lovely choices have our hearts aflutter. Karli Millspaugh Owner of Curate: A Local Mercantile (formerly Unlisted Market) 303-770-7030 Please note our new address: 8242 S University Blvd, #150, Centennial, CO 80122 CurateMercantile@gmail.com CurateMercantile.com @curatemercantile

Inspired Changemakers

Karli Millspaugh

Owner, Curate Mercantile, Makers Market, Orchard Farmers Market and Unique Boutique craft fair

I couldn’t do it all without support from my amazing husband, Brent. Together we live in Parker with our almost-4-year-old son, Kade. We share a love for community and entertaining. From our annual Christmas cookie exchange to Sunday night dinners, it’s important for us to spend time in fellowship with people we care about.

How do you stretch yourself to reach for your goals? 

I spent 15+ years in public relations and marketing before quitting my job with the idea of following my dream. Now I spend my days working for the good of more than 150 small, creative vendors. We use our various stores, markets and craft fairs to showcase their work to shoppers who continually call us their “happy place” for gifts and local goods. But nothing has been as rewarding and fulfilling as owning these amazing stores and helping other “creatives” build their businesses.  I give all those people who dream of having a small shop the chance to achieve it. I do it because I wanted it so badly myself and I don’t want those same doubts and fears stop anyone else from realizing their dreams! I’m trying to remove those barriers (overhead, staffing, administrative work, etc.), so others can succeed through brick and mortar stores!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Trust your gut. I think we often try to set aside “red flags” we may be feeling because, on paper, everything seems fine. But I’ve learned that my instincts are right nine times out of 10.

What’s some great advice you could give another woman wanting to start something new?

We can’t all have the same calling in life. And just because someone else’s path or calling is different than yours, doesn’t mean either one is wrong. The comparison game that women tend to fall into will be the quickest killer of your dreams. I tell this to our creative vendors all the time, but if you truly believe in “community over competition,” you’ll be amazed at the positive energy your business will receive. I have to remind myself of this truth all the time. I’m not immune to the comparison game, but I also know that focusing on the “have and have-nots” doesn’t do anything to propel me forward.

Who do you admire most in your life?

My mom was the ultimate creative force in my life, teaching me what it looked like to make merchandise, set beautiful displays and run an awesome craft fair. She had me counting back money to shoppers when I was 10. My dad, on the other hand, taught me about working “smart” while being frugal and money-wise. 

Time to Chill

Our long, hot summer days have morphed into the crisper mornings and early evenings of autumn, and the cozy call of the fireplace beckons. Curate Mercantile owner Karli Millspaugh adorns this modern farmhouse mantle in the Fox Hill farm-to-table neighborhood. Inspired by the view overlooking the Colorado prairie, Karli incorporated elements from the surrounding natural grasses, trees, reclaimed wood mantel and white shiplap walls in her design.

Sandwiched between the warm orange pumpkins and yellow falling leaves of October, and the traditional bright, cheerful colors of Christmas, November calls for something different. Natural elements, the earthy browns of the mantle and wood accessories, as well as the light ocher of the natural grasses ground the comforting cream upholstery and walls, creating a peaceful vibe suited for winter indoor lounging and slumber. This restful time gives us the chance to recharge between the hustle and bustle of early autumn and the frenetic energy of the holiday season.

The picture above the mantle captures Karli’s intent. “That house was…a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.” J.R.R. Tolkien