Free Market Holdings has opened Free Market Denver, its first-ever location. Located at downtown Denver’s new Dairy Block micro-district, this new brick-and-mortar concept serves as a cultural hub featuring innovative retail and world-class food and beverage in thoughtfully-designed and programmed communal spaces. Targeting urban, digitally-fluent consumers, Free Market Denver—and all future locations—offer a thoughtful solution to bland brick-and-mortar shopping and an imaginative retail remedy for forward-looking brands.
Situated at 1801 Blake Street, Free Market Denver stands approximately 11,000-square-feet and features buzz-worthy retailers like Jenni Kayne, AYR, Aesop, Alchemy Works, Westerlind, Clare V., Beautycounter, Rosemont Barber Shop, and Devocion Coffee. The shop, which stands just steps from Denver Milk Market, also includes Bruto, its flagship restaurant and bar in collaboration with James Beard Award-nominated chef Kelly Whitaker and his team at IE Hospitality. Warby Parker, which has a long-standing relationship with the founders of Free Market, is located adjacent to the shop.
“Our hope is that Free Market lends itself to community amplification,” said Raan Parton, co-founder of Free Market. “From gallery installations and brand activations to rotating dining experiences, each Free Market space is tailored to drive city-specific gatherings and interactions to seamlessly intertwine retail, events, food and beverage into a single experience.”
Reminiscent of the marketplaces and Main Streets of pre-mall America, Free Market aims to intimate shopping, discovery and experience back to retail. Food and beverage tenants will serve the entire space; for instance, a shopper in Alchemy Works can order a glass of prosecco from Bruto and have it delivered to their dressing room. Designated to serve as short-term pop-ups, most retail spaces are less than 1,000-square-feet. Common spaces at Free Market transform to be galleries, performance stages, panel sets and classrooms.
“The ability to build a community of brands with strong, aligned values is our way of standing out in the cluttered retail space,” added Lindsay Parton, co-founder of Free Market. “That’s why we’ve worked tirelessly in perfecting the Free Market experience. Its businesses that are like-minded and best in class per their respective categories. To have them all under a single roof is very special.”
For years, American consumers and retailers have shared a common frustration in brick-and-mortar retail. Last year, low foot traffic at stores and plummeting sales figures resulted in the all-time high closure rate of physical American shops. This evolving phenomenon inspired co-founders Lindsay Parton, Raan Parton, and Paolo Carini to look beyond conventional retail to create a cultural hub of synergistic brands and experiences.
In that spirit, Free Market’s unique format provides thoughtful solutions for both brands and real estate operators. Depending on a brands’ goals and resources, Free Market offers the option to use the premises as a showroom, event space, billboard or flagship store, thus providing a customizable and flexible way for companies to participate in short-term (pop-up style) or permanent brick-and-mortar. Spaces are delivered “build-ready” and tenants are provided a-la-carte support on design, physical buildout, marketing, events, and staffing.
The Free Market team—comprised of Lindsay Parton, Raan Parton and Paolo Carini—has more than 20 years’ experience in brand building, retail operation, co-working, programming and real estate development specifically tailored for the creative industry. They have been instrumental in launching the socially-conscious menswear label Apolis, multi-brand retail outlet Alchemy Works, co-working destination Spring Place, and design fair series Parachute Market. The founding team’s diverse blend of expertise and industry relationships is what makes the Free Market concept possible.
“As a founding team, we are retailers and brand builders at our core,” added Carini. “We understand the importance of consumer experience, brand curation and tenant flexibility to create successful and sustainable retail. Free Market is a three-pronged solution for modern shoppers, brands and developers that combines an incubator strategy with artistic understanding and infrastructure strength.”
Free Market has officially opened doors and will celebrate its arrival in Denver with a party on Saturday, May 18. Free Market’s restaurants and shops will welcome the neighborhood with a series of tastings and activations that afternoon from 3 pm to 7 pm.
Free Market Denver is only the beginning. Later this year, Free Market will open a second, 27,000-square-foot location at the Playa Vista Runway in Los Angeles, California. Additional locations are in process.