Denver-based bath and skincare retailer Melt Brands LLC has opened a retail store inside The Citadel mall.
Melt Bath and Skincare occupies 900 square feet near the mall’s food court and represents the ninth store in an expanding retail skincare company.
Melt Bath and Skincare was founded during 2001 by Steve McNally, Thomas Smith and James Saylor. Melt Brands President and CEO David Fisher joined the venture a year later and quickly set about licensing the Melt name and trademark.
Fisher, founder and former CEO of Millenium Venture Group, specialized in retail real estate development. He recognized the value of Melt products after his daughter was born with exema.
“Our daughter would scratch herself to the point of bleeding sometimes,” Fisher said. “My wife and I became very focused on the types of soaps and lotions and other products that supposedly alleviated itchy, scratchy skin. We found there are a lot of products that you think are benign, but actually aren’t that good for you.”
Fisher said that many skincare products available in grocery and drug stores contain sulfates, mineral oil and petroleum jelly.
“These things aren’t organic products,” he said. “They include preservatives like parabens, which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory tests. When something sits on a shelf for a year you need something to preserve it that long. Intuitively that puts up a red flag.”
Fisher said Melt Brands has removed parabens from its products and hand-makes all its products at its Denver manufacturing facility.
“If you use a Melt product it has been made within a week,” he said. “We’re able to use better ingredients and sell our products right away, so its fresh and a better experience for our customers.”
The concept so inspired Fisher that he decided to use his venture development experience to help grow the business. Melt Brands plans to open 20 to 30 retail stores in within a year.
As far as Colorado Springs goes, Fisher researched locations for a new store in this market and decided on The Citadel for a number of reasons. He liked the central location of the mall and felt comfortable dealing with its administrators.
Also, he said, the timing for expanding a retail business couldn’t be better.
“Given the screwball real estate market and a dramatic recession that borders on a depression, there is a common misconception that now is a bad time to open new retail stores,” he said. “But there are some important factors at play. On one hand you can see retail sales are down across the board, but the cost of leasing and new store development has also fallen, so that means more attractive retail space is now available.”
Melt operates eight other retail stores around the country, including locations in Denver, Boulder and Breckenridge, as well as McLean, Va. and New Orleans, La.
Cold Stone Creamery stores in Colorado Springs will reward mothers with free ice cream from noon to 10 p.m. May 10.
Mothers get a free Like-It size ice cream creation (with one mix included) when they visit a Cold Stone store along with their children.
Scott Prater covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.