Fort Collins Now:

Once a stay-at-home mom, Debbie Stinar filled her time with crafting, traveling to as many as 28 shows a year to sell her hand-made goodies.

Her daughter, Tracie Rydgren, got involved too, traveling the circuits through Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, which kept them both away from home more than they liked. In 2001, they opted for something more.

“There was a lot of traveling, a lot of setting up and tearing down,” Rydgren said. “We thought, let’s set this up for good.”

The pair, both from Kersey in Weld County, opened A Country Touch in a small 1,200-square-foot shop in a strip mall in Greeley. Soon thereafter, they moved into the next space, adding another 1,500 square feet of goods.

In three years, they created a niche, offering items people couldn’t find at the big box stores, and they grew beyond even those walls.

Last spring, the developers of Front Range Village in south Fort Collins came a’calling, looking for small Greeley stores filling a niche that may be the big box stores didn’t. The pair opted to rent out a 2,500-square-foot shop in the new shopping center, which they call Sentiments, to sell higher-end goods, and see how far they can reach into the home decor and gift market. The store opened on Black Friday.

A Country Touch’s list of products runs the gamut, from candles, diffusers and small home furnishings, to cookbooks and gourmet foods to brand-named figurines and collectibles.

Photo by upturnedface.

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