By John Colson and Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
Miser’s Mercantile was open under new ownership on Friday, Aug. 11 after being closed most of the week.
Although some residents recalled the consignment shop being open in the interim, staff members — who were retained in the transition — told The Sun that it had not done business since Aug. 6. A printed notice was posted on the glass front door of the store on Aug. 10, detailing landlord Dale Eubank’s assertion that the store’s former management owes $12,380 in back rent.
According to Eubank’s notice, the unpaid rents date back to April 2017 ($293) through May, June and July, the rent for each of the last three months given as $3,929 per month. Eubank also listed a total of $300 in “late fees for three months.”
The store, located at 303 Main St. has been owned by long-time Carbondale resident Paula “Sam” Hunter since she took over the business more than three decades ago. The notice gives Hunter until Saturday, Aug. 12, at noon, to pay the full amount of back rent or lose her month-to-month lease.
Hunter, who has been living in Paonia and commuting to Carbondale to run the store, said on Aug. 10 that she had owned Miser’s Mercantile for 32 years, and that she was the third owner of the business.
She said she had been proud and happy to run the business all those years, despite some difficulties in recent years, and that “this was not the way I wanted to go out.” But she declined to say more about the circumstances that preceded Eubank’s demand that she pay him the full amount of the back rent or he would seize the store and its contents.
Hunter’s daughter, store manager Mitzi Brasier, confirmed on Thursday morning that nonpayment of rent had lead to the store’s closure and that there are no plans for the store to reopen under Hunter’s ownership.
“The Miser’s Mercantile that Sam Hunter owned is done,” she said simply, adding that Eubank may or may not decide to keep the business going under its historic name or some other name. She, too, declined to reveal further details at the time of the phone interview.
Eubank, who is an accountant in Carbondale, did not respond to messages left at his business phone.
According to the Garfield County Assessor’s office, Eubank has owned the building that Miser’s Mercantile calls home since 1988, when he bought it from the late J.E. Devilbiss, a former district judge in the Ninth Judicial District, for $82,500.
Seeking comment at the store, The Sun spoke with Diane Angelo, who said the business is “just trying to push on” and furnished a slip of paper addressed to customers.
“Miser’s Mercantile has opened again under new management. Please be patient with us as we try to meet the old consignor on some middle ground,” it reads in part. “If a product is on the sale floor or waiting to be sold we will pay the consignor per the new consignment agreement. If the product was sold prior to August 11, 2017, the Old (sic) owner is responsible.”
Several locals did, indeed, express concerns about existing credit on social media when the news broke, while others took the opportunity to share what the business meant to them.
“Miser’s was such a great place whether I was a kid or an adult and it being gone will leave a hole in the heart of this community that no new business will be able to fill,” wrote Tucker D. Farris.
Added Diane Kenny, “Misers is not only a business but a community service providing affordable clothes and recycling! Not to mention the sense of community seeing Sam and Mitzi and the other friendly workers.”
Anyone who wishes to share a memory, comment or clarification is invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-3003.