The most noticeable items are displays of stainless steel cookware near the door, but the shop also sells men and women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags, hand-painted stemware, and even a few pieces of furniture. The store also has knife sets, kitchen utensils, flatware and gift items like silver photo frames.
Jeansonne formerly owned a store in Louisiana, but then got married and helped her husband with his own business before moving to Denver. She moved to this area about three years ago.
They haven’t been easy years for Jeansonne, who successfully battled breast cancer and is now in remission. Her fight showed her just how strong she is, she said, so she decided to go into business again.
The shop has many specialty items, but Jeansonne is especially proud of the cookware, which she says is made of surgical steel. She claims this is much healthier to cook with than cheap aluminum. The cookware requires much less use of oil, and helps retain more healthy properties of fresh foods.
“It has a lifetime warranty and is better for your health,” she said. According to the literature for Maximum Cookware, the pots have heavy-duty construction on the bottom so there are no hot spots and handles are welded so they never come loose.
The shop also has a variety of porcelain dishes and stemware that was hand-painted in Montrose, which Jeansonne said make great gift items. Smaller gift items include goat’s milk soap, body butter, glycerin soap, and other products made locally by Mim by Kim.
While Jeansonne goes to market in Denver for most of her clothing selections, one rack is from Earth Creations, a company in Alabama that makes stylish dresses, skirts and tops using 100 percent cotton and hemp.
“I found them online because I wanted some things that are made in the USA,” she said. “And that’s not always easy to find.”
A nearby rack is devoted to motorcycle enthusiasts — or anyone who likes black leather — with a variety of jackets and vests as well as leather pouches. On the top of the rack is a selection of “doo-rags,” or cotton kerchiefs.
In a glass case near the front of the store are necklaces, earrings and other jewelry, with one unusual item: rosary beads made from seeds. A man named Harris Breaux in Breaux Bridge, La. grows seeds, which he calls Job’s Tears, Jeansonne said, and then makes rosaries from them.
Another display is of quilted purses, some of which convert to backpacks, all with many inside pockets, as well as a few knockoffs of designer-brand handbags. She also has a small selection of “gently used” and vintage dresses, she said.
Business hasn’t exactly been booming, Jeansonne said, but two other new businesses, the Pickled Painter and Amazing Glaze, have opened in the same block of Main Street, and though there are still several empty storefronts, a furniture store and a restaurant have also opened in the last few months.
Jeansonne said that she and her neighbors have talked about how to bring in business, and are even considering hosting some small events on their part of Main Street that gets left out of events like Main in Motion because the block is west of Townsend Avenue.
The west side of Main Street doesn’t get the foot traffic of the east side, but just a couple of blocks away, the city has built a new entrance to Cerise Park with a landscaped parking lot, picnic tables and overnight parking for recreational vehicles by the Uncompahgre River that flows through town.
Plans to continue to develop the west side of Main Street are continuing, said Scott Shine, director of the Downtown Development Authority. Even though there is no funding in place and no plans for construction any time soon, Shine said that the city’s recently adopted Riverway Corridor Plan includes plans to widen sidewalks on the west side of Main Street and put in other streetscaping amenities all the way to the river.
“There is definitely a goal to link our downtown more closely to the river,” he said.
In the meantime, Jeansonne and other business owners are holding their own, waiting for the economy to improve and for business to pick up.
Shine said he believes that owners choosing to open shop in the historic downtown area is an indication that it is viable for business.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “A lot of new businesses are coming down to Main Street, and that shows that people see a promise and a vitality downtown.”