Boutique owner in Breckenridge for the long haul after Craigslist find
It all started with the purple chair.
Melissa Francis moved to Breckenridge from Castle Rock after spending 23 years in Arkansas. She and her husband Jeff had just become empty nesters and were looking for something new.
“I love my kids, but it’s nice having just us,” Melissa said. “I was a little bit nervous about it.”
Melissa said that the purple chair in front of her store, Moxie Clothing Boutique, is a Main Street landmark of sorts. Even before moving to the town, friends and family knew the location because of the chair in front of the shop.
“The story is that this used to be a children’s store,” Jeff said. “When she bought the store everybody came around and said ‘You can’t change it.’”
Jeff said they’ve had customers come in who took pictures in the purple chair as children and have come back to take the same picture with their own kids.
When the couple first moved to Breckenridge in August of 2014, Jeff saw that the shop was for sale. But the business wasn’t sold in a conventional way. Its previous owner, professional snowboarder Celia Miller, had put it on Craigslist.
“We pulled the trigger fast,” Melissa said. “We thought it was a joke.”
The sale was a whirlwind. By mid-November, Melissa had opened the doors to Moxie, a mere handful of months after coming to town. Miller helped with the transition for a short time, before jumping back into boarding.
Melissa used her friends and connections to find brands to fill her store.
“When you don’t know what you’re doing, you just get on the phone,” she said.
Melissa can now be found in Moxie six days a week — Jeff works Sundays so that she can have a day off. But Melissa doesn’t seem to mind the long hours. The social aspect of the job keeps her on her toes.
Melissa thrives in a social environment, her humor and expressiveness making her easy to talk to. It’s no wonder that tourists come to see her year after year.
When they do have free time, Jeff and Melissa spend it on the mountain skiing and hiking. Jeff is also a ski instructor.
The stores around Moxie have become like family. Customers who walk in may immediately notice a toilet seat hanging on the ceiling, out of place amongst the sparkling jewelry and women’s apparel. The odd décor is a third place trophy from the 2015 outhouse races during Kingdom Days that Jeff and Melissa joined along with owners from some of the other stores.
Melissa recently renewed the lease for the next three years for her boutique. She and Jeff plan on staying in Breck for the foreseeable future.
“I’m in a resort town, I can’t lose,” she said.
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