Ask Terry Zabielski what makes Primitive Country Loft House a singular shopping experience in downtown Longmont and she might tell you that people just have a tendency to just linger in her store. And that’s a good thing. Peruse the custom-crafted fare in the mercantile showcasing the talents of local artists – ornaments, ceramics, woodworking, wall and fabric art, a plethora of things -- the rustic antiques, and the subtle potpourri ambience and you’ll see why. It all combines to create downtown Longmont’s coziest storefront. Complimentary coffee and fresh popcorn on the weekends serve as an invitation to just…slow…down a little and maybe have a conversation with a neighbor or a new friend.
Regrettably, you cannot hear Terry’s New England accent in her responses here, with a diction that is as authentic as a winter sleigh ride through a maple forest and a steaming cup of clam chowdah (er, chowder) hearthside after. You’ll just have to stop in and talk with her yourself.
Read on to find out why the things inside Primitive Country Loft House are one-of-a-kind, gotta-make-it-mine items and what men – yes, men – have to say when they first come into Primitive Country Loft House.
Tell me about the origin of your name, Primitive Country Loft House.
Terry: We came to that name in 2014. But I’ve been doing this since 2004. The idea is, what’s in this store, are antiques that are in the country style. Primitive country, rustic fare. I started online. I do handpainted functional home décor. Over 200 products listed online and in the store. This past July I took on a partner on the retail side only. (Business partner Teri Johnston) and I decided to do more retail. So in here there are about twenty artisans who pay rent to show here. All of them are local. We don’t carry the full retail load ourselves. It’s not quite a co-op. Our artisans don’t have to work the store. I do that full time.
What do you find people coming in and asking about? Or is mostly a pleasant surprise kind of shopping experience for people?
Terry: It is a huge surprise for people to walk in. Almost invariably, the first thing people say is ‘Oh, it smells so good in here.’
How long have you been downtown?
Terry: Since September 1, 2017. Longmont has been very welcoming. Because we are a little different. We’re not a thrift store. We’re not a flea market. We don’t carry that kind of thing. Most of what we carry is locally handmade or antique vintage items.
Your store has items that people truly cannot find anywhere else…handcrafted items and ornaments and antiques and a wonderful yesteryear vibe as soon as you walk in the door. What kinds of reactions do you get from people as they walk in? Or do you have a favorite story?
Terry: Well, we have a lot of repeat business. Everyone is surprised that after the first time they come in, when they come in again, I know their name. I remember that. I want shopping here to be like buying from a friend. We try to give it a real cozy feel to it. Coffee on the weekends. Popcorn on the weekends. We bake cookies on the weekends. All complimentary.
So it’s like a visit to grandma’s house.
Terry: We hear that comment from men a lot. A lot. ‘It’s like walking into my grandmother’s house!’ We hear that from men. Not women. Men!