A recycling plant for your wardrobe
MINTURN – Looking to start a business, Eric Schultz told his wife Heather to decide what sort of enterprise they should undertake. Mulling over ideas, Heather finally found what she was looking for in church – not religious inspiration or godly guidance, but the perfect location in which to open a second-hand retail shop.
Housed in a former Presbyterian church on the corner of Toledo and Main streets in Minturn, Holy Toledo transformed this house of worship into a house of shopping. About to enter its fourth year of business in the Valley, Holy Toledo continues to perform well, Heather Schultz says. Not due to any miracle, but because “obviously, there was a need for it – everybody has a closet, everybody has to do something with the clothes that they’re not wearing. This gives them an option to do that plus replenish their closet with something else – something used-new, but new to them,” she says. Holy Toledo sells men’s and women’s clothing, including ski wear, shoes, jewelry and a variety of accessories. Shoppers have no need to fear the stress of picking through loads of old, out-of-style clothing, she says. “We’re pretty picky. We get a lot of stuff coming through the door. It has to be current and it has to be in impeccable shape – no flaws, nothing,” she said. “We decide what we think is going to sell. We are not always right, but we do a pretty good job. Our sales reflect that.” For those die-hard second-hand shoppers, Holy Toledo sells vintage as well. “If the clothes that come in through the door are not totally current, we will accept anything that’s totally hip and vintage and retro,” she said. “What goes around comes around.”Seasonal selectionsThis business appealed to Heather and her husband “because it encourages people to recycle,” says Heather. “The things that we don’t use, people can leave them here and they always go to charity. Nothing ever gets thrown out – ever. That was the whole basis behind this – to recycle things.” The unused items usually go to Minturn’s annual Rummage Sale, which raises money for dozens of local charities. “People prefer it because that way the money generated from their clothes stays in the Vail Valley,” Heather says. “Otherwise, if they are full and they can’t accept, then the Thrifty Shoppe, which is affiliated with the Salvation Army, will pick up for us. “However, when they pick up, sometimes it goes to Denver,” she adds. “It still goes to a great cause – either Goodwill or Salvation Army – down there. It’s always going to somebody that needs it.” Though they are somewhat fussy when accepting clothing, Heather still puts the customer first, she says. “We wanted to make it really convenient for people, so you don’t need an appointment to drop off Monday through Friday,” she says. To further ease the filtering process, “we do seasonal things,” she says. “If it’s winter, we only take winter clothes. We probably will start accepting spring and summer in March. We will probably put that stuff out on the floor late April.”
No coffee for saleAfter more than three years in the business, Heather explains the store’s success by simply saying, “I think you have to specialize. You can’t be all over the board.””People say, ‘Oh, you should have housewares,’ or ‘You should have a coffeehouse in there.’ A lot of it is really good ideas, but we feel you have to be one thing or another and then you can excel at it.” Though she says her husband is the entrepreneur of the two – “He’s the one that pushed for the business” – Heather says, “It turned out to be a great thing and it sparked a creativity in both of us that we didn’t know we had.” Having done so well with this business venture, Heather says they are ready for more. “In the next five years, I think we’d like to open two more stores within Colorado,” she says. Frisco is a potential location for their next venture, Heather says. “We’d like to keep a hand in the business because that’s important,” she says. “It’s better to stay involved.” But she and Eric do not plan to leave the Valley anytime soon. Heather says, “We are here to stay.” As far as competition from similar second-hand retail and consignment stores within the valley, like Ritzy Recalls or The Thrifty Shoppe, Heather says she welcomes it.
“I think we fill a niche. I think we have different clienteles,” she says. “I didn’t want to take any business from anyone. I think the fact that everyone does have a closet in the valley and has clothes, there’s probably room for two more stores even, believe it or not. I think competition is healthy.” Heather and Eric manage to balance the success of their business while still giving back, encouraging recycling and supporting charitable organizations, she says. Of their role in the community, Heather says, “I can go to bed at night and feel good about it.” At the very least, she can feel good about one other thing.”I can say I go to church everyday,” she says with a smile.====================================================================================Vail, Colorado