After an increase in rent, an interior designer decided to rearrange things by packing up shop and moving to South Broadway.
Susan Hildebrand opened SoBo Interiors in late 2017. The store at 1787 S. Broadway is split into 20 spaces that furniture designers or artists can rent to showcase their work. Most of the spaces are filled by designers, artists and buyers that don’t have to carry the costs of a full shop.
She said this method of selling furniture is unique in Colorado. The tenants pay rent for wall space and areas to show furniture, while Hildebrand and the store manager handle sales. Hildebrand said she receives 10 percent of sales to help cover staffing costs.
“Nobody in Denver does what I do,” she said. “I fill a need because people don’t want to go out and sign a lease. In a sense, I’m in real estate.”
SoBo Interiors features furniture and art pieces from Colorado designers, as well as items from around the world. Hildebrand first learned of the furniture-selling method in Atlanta, but had to look for different products to fit Colorado’s demographics.
“A lot of those places are high-end antiques, and that’s just not Colorado’s market,” she said.
She previously ran the Shops at 9th Avenue for 18 years with business partner Rusty Staff. After the 15,000-square-foot building’s landlord moved to double the rent at 899 N. Broadway, Hildebrand said, it was time to move.
She and Staff closed the Shops at 9th Avenue at the end of June. Two months ago, they opened SoBo Interiors.
Staff owns the building, according to Denver property records. The space is home to his other business venture, DecorAsian Style. They split the space, and Hildebrand said they still are working out lease details. She added that having both businesses in one location is helpful; each has brought business to the other.
There are several other specialty furniture stores in the area, such as Scandinavian Antiques. Hildebrand said the area is becoming a mini-district for furniture.