Koru Street pops up, offering space to local entrepreneurs

Amy Stretmater (right) opened her holiday pop-up  retail shop, Koru Street, at 224 N. Tejon St. last month. Local entrepreneurs Jussi (left) and Shannon Saramaa sell their Collection M jewelry line through the shop.

Jussi and Shannon Saramaa live in Colorado Springs and own a jewelry business they operate out of their home. But until Koru and Company popped up at 224 N. Tejon St., they hadn’t found an opportunity to sell their jewelry locally.

The Collection M jewelry features high-end, fresh-water pearls from Scandanavia. Saramaa said he is working in partnership with his brother and sister-in-law, who live in Shanghai. They’re selling their jewelry in seven locations in the United States and several international locations.

Koru gave them a great way to try out local sales.

Amy Stretmater opened the pop-up shop downtown to sell recycled artisan items from around the world that she sells on her own website and to retailers nationally. Her company, Koru Street, has been successful for a couple years and she once had space in a pop-up shop and an artisan market in Chicago.

Stretmater moved to Colorado Springs in September and hit the ground running.

She wanted to open a pop-up shop here like the one in Chicago and invite local business owners and artisans to sell their high-quality items there. Koru and Company features The Collection M jewelry, sculpture, glass jewelry, puzzles and hand creams made or sold by locals and not sold anywhere else.

Stretmater graduated from Colorado College before she spent years working in advertising in Chicago. When she was laid off, she traveled and tried to decide what she wanted to do with her life.

She started selling some of the goodies she collected on her journey — purses and wallets made from recycled seatbelts in India, jewelry made from shells in South America and journals filled with paper made from elephant poop.

The pop-up shop opened in October and will close the day after Christmas. Stretmater said she isn’t interested in owning the shop year-round.

“This has been great, because I would just be home working on my computer all day anyway,” she said.

Having the shop downtown has allowed her to meet people and be more social than if she were working from home. With her laptop, she can keep up with her own holiday sales.

She chose downtown because she’s familiar with it from her CC years and feels the store is a good fit for Tejon, especially since she’s just down the street from one of her favorite shops.

“I love Terra Verde and I feel like people who like Terra Verde will probably like my stuff and vice versa,” Stretmater said.  CSBJ