Gaggles of gifts, galore
LEAD — Lead now has a new place to find unique gifts and handmade craft items. Miners & Merchants Trading Post has officially opened its doors at 300 W. Main St.
“We have been talking about opening a gift shop here in Lead for almost 20 years,” said Carol Oolman who owns the shop along with her husband Jon. “I think this greatly enhances the tourism, and I also wanted something for locals to have a place to come and find a nice gift and find it at a reasonable price.”
The shop offers a mixture of antiques, handmade crafts by local artisans, and unique retail items. Oolman said the shop will also host community craft events.
“We’re trying to get as much local talent as possible,” Oolman said. “This is kind of a showcase for them.”
Oolman said she plans on having exhibition shows for local artists throughout the year.
“We’ll set up a table and they can have time to sit and visit with people and show them what they do and let them have a glass of wine and do some shopping,” she said.
In addition to that, Oolman and her husband have commissioned local artist David Livingston to create a mural on the side of their building, which they hope will become a focal point for locals and tourists alike.
“It’s going to say, ‘Lead S.D.,’ on it and so we want tourists to come and take pictures in front of it and we set up a hash tag, #leadsdmural, so that everybody can tie their pictures together on Facebook and social media.”
For the past 20 years the Oolmans have been in the real estate market, flipping houses and maintaining rental properties. They put their renovation and restoration skills to task with the old bank building.
“The main thing we did was we restored the old ceiling,” Oolman said. “That’s what everybody’s interested in.”
It was important to the Oolmans that the building retain as much of the old bank architecture as possible while playing on the trading post aesthetic. Much of the log furniture in the store is made by Oolman’s husband Jon in a workshop located on the building’s mezzanine floor. The banks vault will be converted into a “man cave” that will cater more towards masculine gift items.
“So we will literally have something for everyone,” Oolman said.
Miners & Merchants Trading Post is a true family affair. Beyond Oolman’s sister-in-law making home made ornaments for the year round Christmas corner of the shop, her grand children have been helping with the renovations, and her daughter Sarah has been operating a salon in a designated portion of the building since December of 2018.
“It’s been a wonderful mix between Sarah’s business and ours,” she said. “I have a lot of people walk around with capes and foils in their hair, shopping.”
Oolman said the community support has been invaluable throughout the process and she’s very much looking forward to being part of a bright and bold new chapter in Lead’s history.
“I really see Lead having a big future in retail,” she said. “It’s wonderful (for tourists) to stop at the Open Cut, at the visitor center, that’s a must see, but let’s get them wandering up main street.”
Miners & Merchants Trading Post will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week after Memorial Day, and a website is in the works.
For more information call 641-2762.
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