Changes on Tennyson Street: A Letter From Sarah

Oaj-store-front

Let me tell you a story of how Ooh! Aah! Jewelry Denver came to be on Tennyson Street.  I first moved to Denver in 2001 to attend Regis University. While at school, I remember driving down Tennyson Street on a snowy night, looking at what we now call the The Berkeley District, and thinking how amazing would this area would be lined with trees, shops and restaurants.  At the time, I really loved to take out of state family to 32nd and Lowell to my favorite shops, The Perfect Petal and Posh.  These shops fit in so well with the character of the neighborhood, they were perfect for gift or simply to spoil yourself.  Highlands Square was beginning to boom and I could only imagine what Tennyson Street would be like with more shopping and restaurants.  As years went on, Parisi moved to Tennyson from Lowell and we saw more and more art galleries start to move in.  

When I graduated from Regis, I began working full time for John Atencio Jewelry and every day I would drive home from work, again down Tennyson. And everyday I couldn’t help but think that the only thing missing from Tennyson Street was a jewelry store. After seeing more and more cute, eclectic shops come in I was almost ready to pull the trigger and all I needed was a space.  

Ooh! Aah!'s original Tennyson Street location, and Sarah with her mother, Mary, owner of Ooh! Aah!'s Albuquerque boutique

Ooh! Aah!'s original Tennyson Street location, and Sarah with her mother, Mary, owner of Ooh! Aah!'s Albuquerque boutique

On a First Friday Art walk, I saw a little space for rent.  I was so happy, I knew this was going to be my baby store. It was a tiny little space, maybe 300 square feet that was very run down, but with some vision, I knew it could be perfect. I opened the store in November of 2006 with no employees and while it took awhile to get off the ground, I loved that tiny space and everything Tennyson had going for it.

In 2009 I moved to a larger location which was a shop named Global Nepal. The shop had so much character, especially the outside with the glazed subway tile I love so much. It also hadn’t been updated in years and needed a ton of work. I didn’t have much to spend on remodeling the shop but with the help of friends and my super man father in law, we renovated the entire building in about a month.

The beginning of Ooh! Aah! Jewelry's second location.

The beginning of Ooh! Aah! Jewelry's second location.

Our current location at 4216 Tennyson St. just after opening.

Our current location at 4216 Tennyson St. just after opening.

In the time we have spent in our building we have seen so much change. You might remember the street scaping that shut down the street for almost a year. It was definitely a trying time for businesses on the street but we knew if we could survive the construction, the street would really boom. We had to get creative to keep people coming to the street and braving the torn up sidewalks and streets. To help keep our customers interested in the street, I headed an event that you might remember during the holidays called Jingle and Mingle. Everyone had a great time and it really helped to build that strong community feel that is so evident on Tennyson today. Thanks to our amazing customers and lots of dedication, we made it through construction!

Our new interior in progress!

Our new interior in progress!

Showing our team the remodeled interior for the first time.

Showing our team the remodeled interior for the first time.

We have seen so much change in the past ten years and though I love seeing all the families and couples walking the street, heading to the park, to grab a bite to eat, pick up dog food and so much more. Tennyson has become a destination where it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon strolling around and loving every second of it. This is the Tennyson I envisioned when I opened Ooh Aah ten years ago and glad it’s finally here.

The finished remodeled interior.

The finished remodeled interior.

A couple weeks ago we learned via Facebook that our beloved building sold and is going to be scraped to make way for probably more apartments. We are of course saddened by this and it’s hard to see such a cute little building with so much charm go. We will miss our mural which has been the backdrop for so many photoshoots and stories created by little kids walking by. We will miss the glazed subway tile and of course seeing so many of your smiling faces walk through the door.

The First Friday Art Walk on Tennyson Street

The First Friday Art Walk on Tennyson Street

The good news is that we have two years left on our lease so we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. We are in the search for next space and plan to do everything we can to remain on Tennyson and continue to watch it grow. Our hope is the developers will hear the call for more retail on the street and will consider the benefits to the neighborhood when they decide to build. I certainly understand why so many apartments are going up and why so many people want to live on Tennyson Street now, who can blame them. What concerns me though is the lack of parking these apartments are going to have and the fact that very few are building retail spaces on the bottom. The last thing I want is for there to be no retail left on Tennyson and it only to be bars and restaurants. I feel strongly that having retail in a shopping district like this provides so much character to a neighborhood and gives people a reason to walk, be social, and be part of the neighborhood.

Our brilliant store manager Aisha.

Our brilliant store manager Aisha.

We have been overwhelmed by the amazing show of support we have received since the news broke about our building. We’ve heard from so many friends and customers and we want to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of love. We will keep you posted as we hear more and we can’t wait to see your smiling faces as you walk in our door again soon. It’s hard to believe that we are almost to ten years on the street and it wouldn’t have been possible with you. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Sarah with our managers Aisha and Hannah.

Sarah with our managers Aisha and Hannah.

Love,
Sarah and the Ooh! Aah! Team