Couple opens up-cycled furniture shop in downtown Steamboat
August 11, 2017
The so-called Yampa Valley Curse — the legend where visitors are lured into staying — works in mysterious ways.
Mary and Michael Vogt drove into Steamboat Springs on a September day last year. Within three months, they were living near downtown and six months later opened Steamboat's newest furniture and accessory store with a twist — up-cycled furniture.
"We took a trip out West and made a list of all the places we might want to retire —Big Sky, Durango," said Mary from her new shop, the Blue Moon Trading Company at 11th Street and Lincoln Avenue. "We went everywhere. We drove 4,000 miles. This was the only city we had not been to previously and had not skied. But when we pulled into main street, it just felt like home."
In fact, the Vogts were so taken by Steamboat's charm, Mary left 30 years of corporate America behind sooner than planned, and husband, Mike, took on a traveling pharmacy job at City Market.
The retail-savvy Mary quickly realized she could put her skills to work filling a gap she thought Steamboat needed.
"There's beautiful high-end furniture here, and there's consignment stores, but there's nothing in the middle," Vogt explained. "I feel there was really a price point that was needed in Steamboat."
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About 85 percent of Blue Moon's inventory is up-cycled pieces that Vogt has refinished and upgraded herself or had re-upholstered professionally. She does carry some new furniture as well.
The artwork found on the walls is often unusual items she picks up at flea markets and estate sales. From antique astronomy drawings to fashion sketches from early 20th-century designers, Mary loves pulling in the unusual to complement her furniture.
"What I love is finding an old piece and making it look modern again. It's a lot of hard work, not like HGTV where they make it look easy. It's not," she said.
Mary, who spent two decades elbowing her way through New York City's subways, is embracing Steamboat life as she bicycles to work and explores the locals farmers market. That's where she found native Kelly Beauregard and her Goat Milk Soap.
"I like the fact she raises these goats from babies," Mary said. "She milks them. She makes the product, but she didn't have any exposure at a retail store."
Mary quickly got Beauregard's product into her new shop and will be carrying another artisan's up-cycled jewelry as well.
"Even though I'm a furniture store, I'm going to give her a whirl because she's a local artist and I like that," said Mary.
In the meantime, Mary scours Craig's List, newspaper ads, flea markets and garage sales for furniture she can work her magic on.
"I love curating it and pulling it together," said Mary, showing off some of the fabulous tables and dressers she refinished and now sit in her showroom.
Though Mary's background is mostly in apparel retail, she's quickly adapting to the decorating needs of locals. She pointed out a round pedestal table she stripped and stained and comes with an extra leaf.
"This is the number one piece of furniture selling right now," Mary said. "I think it's because of the condos. That's who I'm selling to."
Despite years of city living, Mary and Mike have always enjoyed skiing, hiking and kayaking. Their oldest child is actually a rowing coach back East, and they have a daughter attending the University of Alabama where she's also an equestrian. So the outdoors and Western flavor of America appealed to their senses.
They just didn't know Steamboat was an option until they got here.
"This place has a soul and heart to it," Mary said.
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