If it seemed unlikely that a neglected building on Highway 40 in Granby might turn into one of Grand County’s most distinctive shopping experiences – not to mention a future hub for the local art scene – then you haven’t spent much time with Autumn Bishop.
Bishop has already established herself as a major supporter for the creative arts in the county with her shop in Fraser, High Country Autumn’s Nest, which she opened in 2018, as well as her service on the Granby Public Art Committee.
But it’s her newest venture, the eclectic Bowerbird’s Den, that is proving to be her most exciting undertaking, as she’s combined several aspects of her business and arts background into one expanding retail and community art space.
“We have furniture and décor, original art in an art gallery setting, which makes for a fun store,” she said. “We’re also working with local artists to eventually convert the middle of the building into an arts and crafts workshop space.”
The Bowerbird’s Den features a fantastic and constantly changing collection of distinctive furniture from every era, plus accessories, clothing and more. You’ll find both antiques and mid-century modern items, plus “upcycled” furniture – pieces that have been painted or rendered into art. “That means some valuable, higher-end pieces and things as simple as a $40 bench. We really cater to everyone.”
And as Bishop and her family continue to renovate more of the historic building, expect it to turn into a considerable draw for county locals and the endless, increasingly year-round stream of tourists.
Bishop was born in Denver and lived throughout the greater metro area before moving to Grand County with her husband, Mark, 13 years ago.
“I was always into art, but I had been spending a lot of time with my family and had also worked as a realtor for 25 years,” she said. “I started a home staging business, which came from my love of things and collecting. As empty nesters, we started to look for some new opportunities, so I also started handling estate sales, and I recruited my husband to help cull through that kind of stuff.”
Bishop had also long been interested in the iconic 1913-era building at 295 East Agate Ave, previously home to the Corner Mall, but historically known for a long range of local businesses – a feed store, implements and even auto parts. While it looks relatively small from the main street, it’s actually a very long building, stretching all the way to the back of the lot, with a large garage/warehouse area in the back.
Unless you’re a National Geographic enthusiast, you might not know that the store is named for bird’s native to Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea, who decorate their nests with brightly colored stones, glass, and other objects as part of their mating ritual. Minus the mating part, that holds true for Bishop’s curation skills, as has been the case with her other store.
While her Fraser shop was created with a mission of featuring locally sourced arts and crafts, the Bowerbird’s Den expands the mission to be an art gallery that will host art shows, arts and crafts, workshops, and paint and sips.
“We have stuff that we’ve purchased directly from people or found at estate sales. In the past, I’ve pre-sold stuff using social media and online promotion, and now I have a lot of things consigned into the store. That extends the sales time and adds value to my estate sales clients, versus items ending up in the landfill.”
This summer, Bishop plans to continue to do art vendors’ fairs at the lot next to the Fraser shop. While in town, make sure to stop by to see all the fantastic workshops, antiques, and art Bowerbird’s Den offers.