Mike Slattery is eager to celebrate a Castle Rock destination that he loves with the community that has supported it for a decade. On Oct. 1, The Emporium will mark its 10th anniversary with free food, carnival games and a classic rock cover band.
“It’s a big milestone for the store,” Slattery, owner of The Emporium, told Colorado Community Media. “We’re excited to have everyone come and just enjoy it.”
The merchant mall — which offers gifts, clothing and home goods — was founded by Greg and Becky Boman on Perry Street in 2012. When Slattery learned that the Bomans were looking to sell, he was concerned that The Emporium might be turned into something else and that Castle Rock might lose a bit of its charm. So he and his wife Andrea, longtime customers, bought the business in 2020.
While new development and growth are what keeps a town thriving, Slattery, who works in the commercial real estate industry, said local businesses and a town’s history are what give it character.
“There’s a balance to be had between open space, between mom-and-pop stores and between the new stuff,” he said. “It’s important to us to keep that (balance).”
The Slatterys, who moved to Colorado about seven years ago and now live in unincorporated Douglas County near Castle Rock, were drawn again and again to the warmth they felt when they walked through The Emporium’s doors.
“It felt like the stores that we grew up going to, where people are happy to see you,” Slattery said. “We wanted to expand on that.”
Employees with welcoming dispositions are key to generating that small-town feeling, he said. The Emporium has a management team that does an “unbelievable job” greeting customers, ringing up purchases and running the day-to-day operations.
To keep The Emporium a strong, flourishing part of Castle Rock, Slattery has the business participate in community events and even hold a few of its own. In addition to next month’s anniversary party, the business hosts girls night out events, meet-and-greets with area nonprofits and holiday celebrations.
The eclectic mix of goods in The Emporium’s 8,800-square-foot space are selected by its vendors. Over 60 artisans and entrepreneurs lease space in The Emporium.
That’s 60 stories of really interesting people waiting to be told, Slattery said. Since many of them offer locally made products and all have a tale to tell about why they do what they do, The Emporium created a podcast. The first episode dropped Aug. 30.
For now, the podcasts are available at redcircle.com/shows/the-emporium-podcast. But Slattery hopes to display a QR code or link at each merchant’s booth, giving shoppers easy access to the episodes.
“You get to hear who is that person that you just bought a product from and why they’re there,” Slattery said. “I think that’s pretty special.”
The Emporium’s 10th Anniversary Celebration runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 1.