The artists of the 1st Street Emporium hosted an Open House on Saturday, with burritos for lunch and cookies and treats all over the establishment.

The artists of the 1st Street Emporium hosted an Open House on Saturday, with burritos for lunch and cookies and treats all over the establishment. The 1st Street Emporium has about 25 booths and 35 artists, crafters and collectors displaying their wares. It is the fifth year for 1st Street Emporium, but the eighth year Lynn Horner and the ladies have worked together.

It all started several years ago when the building, owned by Mike Fazio, was occupied on one half by Horner’s establishment featuring books and other antiques. One day Sherry Manyik discovered there was a whole other half to the building which was empty. Manyik said, “Actually a year or two before Lynn ever opened his store, Barb Ingles, Rhonda Jones, Lynn and I went around looking at old buildings and I saw the building. One day the ladies all went shopping in Pueblo, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a place to show our stuff?’ They agreed and they stopped by the store with the spare room, with a nice sign that said, “Treasured Stories” and a sign that said “Art, Antiques and Rare Books.” They stopped, discovered Horner there, asked him if he had both halves or just the one, and he said the other half was vacant.

The ladies asked Fazio, the owner, about the possibility of using the half building. He made a deal with them to fix the back door and board up the windows. It was supposed to be a fun summer thing, and it took lots of cleaning, but Fazio let them stay until Christmas. Then they had to make a decision, but they wanted to stay. They stayed as Artistic Expressions and Lynn as Treasured Stories, covering for each other, especially when Horner had meetings (he was on several city boards). They paid enough rent to cover their share of Fazio’s insurance and utilities bills.

They decided to merge both halves five years ago, just before Horner was elected mayor. Manyik and other members still covered for him during meetings, and other times when he had duties as the mayor or needed to go on buying trips. They worked out the rules that if you have a booth in the building, you have to work one day a week for every booth you have. Re-organization is an ongoing thing, but the traffic from the highway is pretty good. Manyik put fake interiors with flower vases and pots on the boards in the upstairs windows and they added flower boxes to the front. “I love it rustic, just the way it is,” she said. “We hauled a lot of junk out of there.” Now both halves of the building have booths, but Horner still has his antiques on display. It is a working relationship that looks like almost too much fun.