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Nuance hosts pop-up shop, emphasizes importance of supporting local businesses

After an accident Aug. 12 in which a car crashed into Nuance Chocolate, leaving a sizable hole in the front wall of the store, the local business is in the beginning stages of recovery. No one was injured in the accident, but the business temporarily closed its doors to the public while it is being repaired. 

Luckily, the tight-knit community of Old Town shops and loyal customers have come together to aid Nuance while the store plans the coming weeks of repairing the damages. Just three days after the incident, Happy Lucky’s Tea House welcomed Nuance Chocolate to open a pop-up shop to sell truffles and chocolate bars, allowing the business to sell the remainder of their recovered in-store inventory and packaged factory goods. 


“It’s such a small community of businesses who look out for each other, and it’s really nice to see the community come together,” said John Russell, an employee at Nuance. 

Kari and George Grossman, co-owners of Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, are longtime friends of Nuance co-owners Toby and Alix Gadd, and they were happy to give Nuance the space to sell their products. 

“When things happen, whether it’s an unforeseen natural disaster or even a planned construction project, it works better if we all band together,” Kari Grossman said. “Because what makes people come and enjoy Fort Collins is the eclectic nature of all the shops. … We want the chocolate shop, we want the tea shop, we want the distillery, we want all this variety because we all win.” 

Following the incident, Nuance has been working non-stop to start repairs. So far, they found there was no asbestos exposure, so some of the inventory was able to be recovered. 

“If there had been asbestos, it would have been a total loss of everything in that building,” Toby Gadd said. 

Still, the amount of time it will take until the business can open its doors again is up in the air. Toby Gadd said it may take weeks to months, but they are hoping for a positive outcome. 

The community support from customers and other downtown businesses is significantly helping Nuance get back on their feet. The chocolate sold at the pop-up went particularly fast, with the truffles being sold out in just 30 minutes. 

“This (pop-up) is amazing,” Toby Gadd said. “Even before we did this, the outreach from the community was huge. We’ve done our part when businesses have had troubles, but to have that return tenfold is overwhelming.” 

Events like the pop-up are even more indicative of the uplifting nature of running a business in Fort Collins. Shops in town work together to cross-promote, collaborate and offer a helping hand, which makes the experience all the more positive. 


“It’s pretty special place to be in business, in that we do have a tight-knit community that does help each other out when it’s needed and even when it’s not needed,” Kari Grossman said. “It just makes being in business more enjoyable when you collaborate with others. Yes, we cross-promote, but really, we build relationships with each other. And that’s meaningful.” 

While Happy Lucky’s is the first location Nuance has come to since the incident, several other businesses have offered help and space for them to temporarily sell their products. Toby Gadd is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming amount of support, but he said the community banding together to help each other out is not rare in Fort Collins. 

“I’ve seen this happen in Fort Collins in general; this community is just like this,” Toby Gadd said. “This is probably the first time a store has been demolished, so this exact manifestation is probably unique, but the continuity of kindness is not unique.” 

Because Nuance operates out of a building that is over 100 years old, the repairs are a little trickier. In addition to the affected wall being in danger of collapsing, preserving the history of the building requires specific construction and permits.  

“We want it to look like it did because it’s a beautiful building,” Toby Gadd said. “When you work on an older building, it requires a very special skill set.” 

Depending on how long the repairs take, Nuance is planning different ways to continue production while their doors are closed. If construction takes a longer time, Toby Gadd said the business will likely do a lot more pop-ups. 

Even those who don’t have store space to offer can still help Nuance by staying updated on their coming pop-up shop dates and buying chocolate, which can be found on their Facebook page

“Anything from just a kind word, to offering space, it all really helps,” Toby Gadd said. “It’s a lot of stress, and having that behind me gives me enthusiasm (and) keeps me positive.” 

The diverse range of businesses Old Town has to offer is what makes Fort Collins unique, and Kari Grossman encourages people to preserve the liveliness of the town through supporting these businesses.  

“The pervasiveness of online shopping is really changing the face of retail business, (but) if you order everything online, you’re not gonna have any shops in Old Town,” Kari Grossman said. “It is an effort to get off the screen and go downtown, but what’s gonna draw you there is the experience you have. When we collaborate with our other local artisans, we’re creating a product that you can’t get anywhere else.” 

Elena Waldman can be reached at or on Twitter @WaldmanElena. 

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