The two reactions that Snarkington’s Gifts owner Lisa Patchem hears often when customers browse the Main Street boutique are “Aww,” and “Oh my god!” From socks with expletives knitted on the design to bath and body items, the gift shop is full of both snarky and sweet items.
Patchem opened Snarkington’s doors in November last year. She uses the bright pink, blue and green painted storefront to express herself, selling fun novelty items. Patchem describes her humor as snarky. She is pleased with the store’s reception and loves that she can share her sense of humor with others.
“That's totally an accomplishment to be able to align with your customers,” Patchem said. “And if I'm using snarky and fun and sometimes silly and stupid things, that's great that other people can relate as well.”
At Snarkington’s, potty-mouths are welcomed. If a tshirt, card or kitchen towel has a swear word or silly saying, there’s a good chance it’s getting on the shelves, Patchem said.
If it’s silly, snarky or sweet it sells. Hats for cats, oven mitts with pop culture references and mugs with jokes printed on them are among the Snarkington’s inventory. The personality of the giftshop is embodied by its logo and mascot, Dutchess Snarkington, a pink and white cartoon cat who is “The purveyor of cool a** gifts.”
With years of working in retail shops in downtown Longmont, Patchem watched how the COVID pandemic affected people’s spirits. She wanted to open a store that made visitors laugh and find joy during a somber time.
“We opened last year during all the doom and gloom of 2020 and we want it to bring laughter and fun back to downtown,” Patchem said.
Opening a new business during a pandemic was one of the most frightening decisions Patchem has made, she said. She launched while under stricter restrictions on business capacity and started with a smaller inventory in spaced out aisles.
Though she had her apprehensions, Patchem felt supported by her friends in the Longmont business community. She said other business owners downtown are each other's “cheerleaders.” Before opening she asked them if opening a gift shop was a good idea.
“Everyone said, ‘Yes, go for it.’ Because we all believe in downtown and having a business community. And so I felt well supported in the decision to open,” Patchem said.
Patchem is an artist, mostly working with photography and resin art. She incorporated her other interests into Snarkington’s displaying some of her pieces.
The gifts shop doubles as a photo studio. She offers headshot and family portraiture under her company Lisa Patchem Photography when the store is closed on Sunday late afternoons and Mondays. Customers can book sessions through Snarkington’s website.
Patchem also sells products from her third business, The AFTER Company, a line of sympathy candles. The AFTER Company candles are made from hand-poured soy wax, and have messages of condolences for people who lost loved ones and other difficult experiences.
While the multi-business owner shares her own art at Snarkington’s, she wants it to feature other local artists.
“I have always been an artist myself and I thought it was a really wonderful definition of success to have your artwork in galleries and your local communities.” Patchem said. “But it is way more rewarding to offer that same opportunity to other artists.”
So far, she sells items from a handful of local vendors but wants to connect with more. Patchem plans on looking for more consignment artists over the summer and added that interested parties can reach out through the store’s website.
With Longmont operating under Level Clear COVID restrictions, Patchem looks forward to the business growing. She enjoys seeing people with their spirits up and enjoying walking around downtown.
“I really enjoy the people walking around downtown more — hitting up all the different restaurants and bars — and I would love Snarkington’s to always be a stop on the way to or from,” Patchem said. “I want people to have a whole full fun experience of downtown and we're just one little part of that.”