On any given day at the Park Hill Trading Post, a collective of local artisans’ handmade goods, there may be people sitting on the couch visiting, shopping and taking a sewing class. It’s exactly the kind of day Meridythe and Jason Emmanuel and their fellow business owners and friends envisioned long ago. These artisans—who had home-based businesses making handcrafted lawn games, beer-related accessories and sensory-friendly children’s clothing—had dreamed of opening a storefront in the neighborhood where they and other artisans could come together to work, sell and build community.
That day came last November in a space at 2895A Fairfax St., staffed by the Emmanuels but now carrying the work of nine artisans including the original three, Colorado Joe’s, Park Hill Country, and Park Hill Design. New additions include BuxieJo Bags leather goods, Nuhni Blanket Company and Mile High Ties, a bow tie company owned by 12-year-old Shalom Zohari who donates a percentage of his proceeds to Denver Food Rescue.
From its inception, the intent of the Park Hill Trading Post was to provide community outreach. “We noticed the need for a community meeting ground and community shop,” says Meridythe. “People want to buy things made in our community, make things in our community and they want a place where everyone’s on the same ground.” That includes offering sewing classes to kids, doing crafts projects with them and enabling groups and classes to meet in the space. “We’d be completely happy if every night there was something going on here, using our space.”
The Trading Post also hosts Open Houses for the neighborhood (the next one is Aug. 20) encouraging people to drop in, enjoy a hotdog and visit with artisans. For the Trading Post team, it’s all part of their vision. “Our goal is not only to survive as artists and make our bills,” says Meridythe, “it’s to really live, breathe and be in our community. That’s what this space should be.”