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Small Business

Serving a Global Clientele With a Local Business in the Rockies

Consignment shop Holy Toledo has built a thriving business selling high fashion at high elevation.
Heather Schultz, owner of Holy Toledo.
Heather Schultz, owner of Holy Toledo.Photographer: Carmen Chan for Bloomberg Businessweek

Consignment shops have traditionally been hyper-local affairs, taking in old clothing from people cleaning out their closets and selling it to neighbors in search of bargains. But in a town of 1,100 people high in the Colorado Rockies, that equation doesn’t quite add up. Holy Toledo, a shop in a deconsecrated Presbyterian church in the old mining town of Minturn, has amassed a database of more than 8,000 consignors that includes residents, tourists, and wealthy second-home owners in the area. “We’re a local business with a global reach,” says Heather Schultz, the owner.

Location, of course, still matters: Holy Toledo lies 2 miles south of I-70, about halfway between Vail and Beaver Creek. Visitors to those resorts sometimes forsake the heated cobblestone streets to make a pilgrimage to Holy Toledo, where they can find parkas, sweaters, dresses, cowboy boots, and much more. Buyers frequently become suppliers, packing items for sale on their next trip or shipping goods to the store once they get back home—and then telling friends about the place. “There’s a snowball effect,” says Schultz. “We’ve been open for 20 years, and we do very little marketing.”