A 120-year-old letterpress machine is one of the first things to draw eyes when stepping into Wolf & Wren.
Lauren Stapleton took some blank greeting cards and hand pressed them with the old machine, which she said still works like new.
“We gotta oil it here and there, but it still works,” she said during the Saturday soft opening of the first brick-and-mortar location for her greeting card company.
Stapleton and her best friend, Liz Wolf, started Wolf & Wren as a wholesale company in 2014. With the opening of the company’s location on the first floor of Old Town Marketplace, 332 Main Street in Longmont, customers can now experience the entire collection alongside other paper goods and gifts.
Wolf does the designing and Stapleton, with two big presses in her garage, produces the cards. The two have known each other since sixth grade, and Wolf lives in Illinois.
“We’re like a long distance business duo,” Stapleton said.
Stepping into retail eight years after starting their business is something Stapleton said she’d always been interested in pursuing, but the timing was always bad. When she heard about the space opening at Old Town Marketplace, she realized it would be a perfect opportunity.
“I knew that Longmont’s really on the upswing,” Stapleton said. “Coming out of COVID I feel like everyone’s really wanting to support local. When I was doing this in my basement in my garage, people just don’t know about me. They don’t know that I’m there.”
Stapleton is most excited to see customer’s reactions to the greeting cards, which is something she couldn’t do when all their sales were online.
“The other thing about having a greeting card company is that you actually have two audiences,” Stapleton said. “It’s the person buying the card for the other person. There’s this whole circle of people receiving it and spreading joy to multiple people. It's a huge part of why we love what we are doing.”
Wolf & Wren also is passionate for environmentally friendly business practices as members of 1% for the Planet and certified carbon neutral. All cards are hand-drawn and letterpress printed on 100% cotton paper, making them tree free.
The store will feature products from U.S.-based artists, other women makers and their entire collection of letterpress greeting cards. The grand opening for the store is scheduled for May 7.