The consignment shop just off Colorado Highway 3 has a vintage western feel that’s hard to pin down.
Going junk has always been a way of life for Lindsay Dalton, founder of NoMAD, a “little thrift store on Highway 3.” Thrift used to be how she and her mother survived, but as she got older she began to think of it as a sport. Now, it is a full-time trading company.
As the only child of a single mother, Dalton and her mother relied on garage sales and thrift stores for necessities. As she got older, she became less about fundamentals and more about emotion, she said. The thrill of the hunt.
“You’re excited to find something unusual, something at a good price,” he said. “Something unique. Something that maybe you had as a child that brings back some kind of memory.”
People live in a “society of things” these days, he said. Goods and services are at your fingertips from a keyboard with online ordering and home delivery. For Dalton, it’s important to take inventory of one’s possessions and consider that things one doesn’t use may still have value to another.
that is what Nomadic is for. The consignment and thrift store isn’t Dalton’s first venture, but it’s his most ambitious yet. It started with a mobile shop operating from an Airstream trailer, a 1979 Safari Land Yacht, in Winterpark, Grand County.
When Dalton and her husband moved to Durango in 2020, she took a teaching job at Escalante Middle School because she had been doing it for 16 years and considered teaching a passion. But she had another passion that she wondered if she could turn into a full-time career.
His eyes were on the building at 919 Colorado Highway 3 in Durango. It was a great place to open a thrift store because of all the nooks and crannies built in to place items in a way that felt like a discovery, she said. In June 2021, she learned that it was opening for rent.
Dalton opened NoMAD just under a year ago, on September 1st.
When curious customers walk into NoMAD’s thrift and consignment shop, they’re likely to be greeted by tunes from Tom Waits, JJ Cale, Fleetwood Mac or Dire Straits and a plethora of rustic clothing, knickknacks, art, knick-knacks and trinkets.
He said the calm and welcoming atmosphere he has created at NoMAD is what helps it stand out from other thrift stores in Durango.
Dalton said he’s not quite sure how to describe the atmosphere he’s created. It’s not just vintage and it’s not just western, but it certainly has a vintage western feel. His daughter said that the store’s aesthetic is that of a “mountain gypsy.”
There are rustic goods like belts and belt buckles, Lil’ Bud Designs prints by Durango artist Matt Clark, dresses that fit the “mountain gypsy” style, and a collection of books from various genres.
Supporting local artists
When Dalton was still thinking about exactly what his thrift store would look like, he had several visions to pursue. One of them was an artists’ collective or workshop, he said.
He considered opening a studio space, but the building he purchased was not the best fit for that. Still, she didn’t want to completely abandon her vision of supporting artists, so he features locally created art and a handful of artists who host mini-galleries from time to time.
“Most of (art) is recycled in some way or thoughtfully reused, consciously,” he said. “We have a couple of different digital artists that will take ads and original stuff from the 1950s and then put their own spin on it. So maybe it’s not made from something recycled, but the idea has now been recycled, which I think is really cool.”
NoMAD houses print art, jewelry, macramé, and found objects.
“People really enjoy the original nature that our local artists bring to the store,” he said.
Dalton has also experimented with pop-up galleries or artist art spaces. She said she’s open to trying more pop-ups, but with the lack of foot traffic, the artists’ time could be better spent in other ways.
Doing it in Durango
The typical customer at NoMAD is a young woman in her 20s, Dalton said. But she tries to have clothing sizes and styles for everyone, regardless of age or size.
“Some of those are harder to come by than others,” he said. “But I’ll go out looking for scrap and I know exactly what I’m looking for because it’s the stuff that’s hard to find here. So I’m trying to curate that collection a little bit more.”
Dalton said she gets visitors every day who have been passing by her store for months and finally decided to stop by. Colorado Highway 3 isn’t exactly the best place to draw foot traffic, so getting the NoMAD name is still a work in progress.
The second most common thing Dalton hears from customers is that they heard about his consignment store through word of mouth.
Dalton said Durango has a healthy thrift store scene and she shops at other thrift stores.
“Demand for second-hand goods is high enough here, where the turnover in these stores is quite good,” he said. “So you don’t walk into the Methodist thrift store and see the same thing you saw there last time.”
Dalton said his relationships with other thrift store owners are pretty good, particularly ReLove Consign & Design. He sometimes has clients that ReLove recommended to him; other times, he refers clients to them. He has also referred people to Rose Duds and Second Time Around on Main Avenue.
“It’s a very friendly and helpful relationship that we all have with each other,” he said.
Dalton is proud to present his plan for NoMAD in a school project he designed for his students while teaching at Grand County. He gave his students an assignment in which they had to choose a person, product, business or idea in Grand County and create a marketing campaign around it.
Leading by example, Dalton designed a thrift store so students would have a frame of reference for their own projects.
“Students from our community were able to come see this very thing that they heard me talk about, they saw me build alongside them,” he said. “And some of them also did things that they themselves had prepared.”
NoMAD was featured as one of the nominees for the Business Improvement District’s Best of 2022 Awards in the category Antique Shop. Dalton said he thinks NoMAD would fit better in the consignment store category, but he’ll take what he can get.