Grand opening of a Borgata artisan store in Silverthorne Nov. 5 | SummitDaily.com

Grand opening of a Borgata artisan store in Silverthorne Nov. 5

As artist Amy Despain sits on the floor in the building that used to house the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Silverthorne, a little white dog named Mia wanders the space. Paintings are strewn around her as she prepares them to hang on the wall in the spacious shop. It's a couple weeks before the newest 'a Borgata' shop will open in Summit County, and the store is slowly coming together.

The building right off Interstate 70 will house the work of 80-plus artists all in one store. It's not a co-op gallery, but rents space to individual artists looking to sell their wares — everything from jewelry, coffee and customized aprons to paintings, photography and woodwork.

Owner Pennie Gaudi first created the concept of 'a Borgata' in 2013, opening her first store in Conifer with 25 artists. It escalated quickly, and she now has more than 400 artists participating, with the Silverthorne store being her fourth shop and second opening this year. Gaudi has one store in the Colorado Mills Mall and one in Canyon City.

"Basically, we are a local artisan store," Gaudi said. "We generate space for the vendor, the artisan to come in and set up and show their wares."

The grand opening event for the shop will be Nov. 5, beginning at 10 a.m. Gaudi will be offering peach Bellini cocktails and patrons will have a chance to meet the artists. There will also be giveaways and a silent auction to benefit the Summit County Animal Shelter.

"That's one thing that 'a Borgata' is very prideful about, is that we really try to help the community," she said. "If there's anybody out there that is part of an organization that would like to have a space in our store to help sell some stuff to generate revenue for their nonprofit, come see me. We'd love to become part of the community up here."

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AN ECLECTIC GIFT SHOP

The artists renting space from Gaudi come from all over Colorado. Although there are currently no Summit County artists participating in the new local shop, Gaudi said she hopes that will change as the community becomes more aware she is here.

Despain, who is from Bailey, is no stranger to the concept of the store. Her work is in two of Gaudi's other shops, and she was eager to set up shop in the new store when she heard of its location.

"As soon as she told me where it was I knew it was going to work," Despain said. "I used to do art shows in Dillon a lot, and my son and I go to Keystone a lot, so I'm pretty familiar with this area."

When Gaudi first moved to Colorado from Arizona to be closer to her sister in 2013, she decided to start her own business after a 35-year career in retail. She asked her sister and brother-in-law, who are both artists and craftsmen, what they felt the area needed. They pitched her the idea of a place where local artisans can sell their work, under affordable rents and low commissions. Artists make monthly payments for the space and pay a commission rate of 20 percent, which Gaudi said is about half or more of what galleries traditionally take. Unlike a co-op, artists don't have to work at the store, although they do have the option to put in hours and apply the wage to their rent.

"A Borgata means 'a village' in Italian," Gaudi said. "What I always like to say is we are a village full of artists and craftsmen. It takes a village to be successful. So whenever someone is helping me pay the rent and the bills … they are just as much invested into this business as I am. It makes us a tighter-knit family."

To sell items in 'a Borgata,' artists just need to bring in examples of their work. Gaudi looks for items that she thinks are unique. She also sees a market for vintage items and antiques, and will house items for resale for these types of products as well. There are a variety of price points from $50 and up for rent depending on the type of space an artist needs, and a six-month contract is required.

"People are tired of getting stuff from out of the country," she said. "If they know it's something that's locally made, they're helping support the arts — that's what's made us so successful."

IF YOU GO

What: Grand opening of a Borgata

When: Saturday, Nov. 5; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 131 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne

Cost: Free