Retail Roundup: Recess in Old Colorado City, Othos at Chapel Hills

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Stacy Thomson, a veteran retail store employee, has taken the ownership plunge and opened a store in Old Colorado City.

Thomson, along with her husband, Vern, opened Recess, a children’s consignment boutique at 1721 W. Colorado Ave. on May 26. The pair plan a grand opening June 13, when they’ll offer food, music and a drawing for gift certificates.

For the past five years, Thomson has worked with fellow west side retailer Eve Carlson at Eve’s Revolution, a women’s clothing store. Her experience kept her in touch with customers who often spoke about the lack of affordable children’s wear in town.

“With this recession happening, now couldn’t be a better time to open a consignment store,” Thomson said. “We’re offering affordable children’s clothing, but they’re still name brand and quality items.”

Recess will offer some handmade items, but 90 percent of sales will be through consignments. Customers will find items for boys and girls from newborns to size 10.

Sporting a bright turquoise façade, the store is hard to miss, and it succeeds in portraying a nostalgic feel. Thomson even hung the “Recess” store sign from an old swing set out front.

“We chose the name because we wanted the store to be kid friendly and nostalgic and most people have good memories of recess,” Thomson said.

Recess will stock brand name apparel from names like Gap, Gymboree, Children’s Place, Carters, Sweet Potatoes, Baby Lulu, Charlie Rocket and Oilily. Prices range from $1.50 to $20.

Consignments are taken by appointment Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Items are kept on consignment for 60 days and consigners receive 40 percent of an item’s sale price.

Customers also can find Recess online at www.recessconsign.com.

Otho’s arrives

Chapel Hills Mall shoppers will soon notice a fresh new aroma near the upper level Dillard’s wing. Otho’s Cookies and Brownies is scheduled to open July 1.

Citing increased foot traffic on the north end of town, owner Otho Spencer closed his store at the Cheyenne Mountain Shopping Center on the south end and converted all baking operations to the new retail location.

“I’ve been looking for a mall location for some time,” he said. “The lease came up on my former location, and I believe cookies and brownies belong in a mall.”

Otho’s is not a chain, and Spencer uses his own recipes, as well as a few passed down from his grandmother, who owned a wedding cake bakery during his childhood.

He’ll shutter his catering business to focus solely on the location at Chapel Hills Mall, and depending on performance will consider opening another store in Cherry Creek Mall.

“I want to see how this location does before I make a decision,” he said. “In this economy, anything can happen.”

Spencer’s most popular cookies are the spiced chocolate and old fashioned raisin, while people seem to like the dark chocolate raspberry and toffee brownies most.

He renovated the 600-square-foot space in the mall to fit the oven in up front, in view of shoppers, and said he’ll be baking 24 hours a day during the holiday season. Otho’s also accepts online orders of a dozen or more at www.othos.com.

Burlington earns award

Burlington Coat Factory has earned the National Partner Award after raising $1.6 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society during 2008.

The company raised more than $1 million for LLS during 2007 as well and has accrued more than $5 million in its total fundraising effort for the organization, which is dedicated to blood cancer research.

Scott Prater covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.