Antiques & Fine Art
 

An Interview with Pam Richardson of Sonflower Gifts & Antiques, and Randy Wallace of Randy’s Antiques & Art.

 

Main Street has a charm all its own. Old-fashioned storefronts greet my eye as I walk down it on a brisk October morning, and enter the first two antique shops to talk to their owners. Turns out, they’re friends. And if you’ve ever been “antiquing” in Elbert County, it’s likely you’ve met Pam. Formerly of a fourteen year stint in Elbert, Pam Richardson started up her business after the loss of her youngest son from cancer. “That’s what the ‘son’ in Sonflower stands for,” she says with a smile; “it’s in honor of my Lord and Savior and my son, Seth.”

 

“My business had to be in Elbert,” she continues; “I had to be doing something for my own town and community.” She rented a 4,500 square foot building on the main road in Elbert and set up a business that drew people from all over the country by specializing in genuine antiques… nothing under a hundred years old, all of it with the original hardware, and everything “home ready,” without the need to be fixed. “It just grew, and grew, and grew, every year,” she says. “It’s amazing and I’ve always felt very blessed.”

 

Then, disaster struck. The owner let the building go into foreclosure, forcing Pam to relocate. Heartbroken, Pam was forced to move. She says, “I believe in supporting my own backyard, so I chose to move into Elizabeth. I was drawn to the charming buildings on Main Street, and was excited about the continuous sidewalk shopping. Being evicted from Elbert was very unfortunate, but I’m trusting the Lord for this. Though it’s a smaller space, I pack it full. It’s antiques shopping cottage style! I’m really enjoying being on a little street with a sidewalk. It’s a different atmosphere. In Elbert, I partnered with Randy for four years, but here we’re working with a much smaller space, so we decided to do ‘his and hers’ antique shops. Randy had never had his own shop before and was excited about the challenge of doing that.”

 

Pam’s eyes light up when she talks about the street and all it has to offer. “I just can’t get over the quality of all the shops we have here, what a treat we have. It’s a real treasure trove of shops. The architecture alone is fascinating; it’s all over a hundred years old. You just don’t find this kind of thing anywhere, and it’s our treasure in Elbert County. We’re a destination. We have amazing shops to offer you. Everything from fine art and beautiful jewelry to antiques. We have a lot of versatility, and we’re not redundant. Walking down our street is like stepping back in time. All the shop exteriors are quaint, but their contents could compete with any shops in downtown Denver.”

 

Pam and her husband moved into Elbert in 1993. She loves her small ranch, where they raise cattle and some horses. She loves her lifestyle, and enjoys camping, fishing, trail riding and anything outdoors.

 

I go next door to talk to Randy Wallace, who welcomes me with a smile. A good-natured man with a genuine enthusiasm for his shop, he’s been in the antiques business for thirty-five years, and started doing it part time. “Pam wandered into one of my sales cells one day and loved my furniture, so we started working together in her store in Elbert. I started putting things in her shop, and we struck up a friendship that blossomed into a business, and boomed from there. She originally started off in half the old store, and together we expanded it into the full building. After we were forced to move, I opened up my own shop in Elizabeth in December, and she followed in January.”

  

Beyond the antiques, though, is Randy’s love for art. That seems to be his true passion. He became interested in it, started studying it, researching it, and wound up selling it. “The really cool thing I do with the art out here,” he says, “is that I keep it affordable to most people, where they can have an original artwork for a reasonable price. Most people, if they want an original piece of art, have to go to downtown Denver and drop four or five thousand dollars. It delights me to bring quality art to a small town and price it down to something affordable for the people in the community. I’ll usually price it from a third to a half of whatever the value of the piece is. I try to remember that I’m in Elizabeth, Colorado, and selling to people just like me, who love a beautiful piece of art.”

 

What he loves most about his job is the research (discovering art, meeting artists, etc), but more than that, meeting new people. “The last 35 years I’ve done retail, and I love to work with people, so finding a piece of art that they love brings me joy. I enjoy every day, as new people come in, just being able to meet them.”

 

Randy also cares about his community. “I love Elizabeth,” he says. “I’ve lived here for 35 years. My wife and I moved here in the mid-eighties and raised both our kids here. One of them, when still a kid, couldn’t wait to leave… and as an adult, he can’t wait to move back.”

 

Drop in on Main Street and meet the owners. The charming exteriors only hint at the treasures inside. Stay tuned for more interviews with the businesses on Main Street!

 
—CB