Lime Berry to Close Doors, Durango Herlad, Nov. 23, 2007

Joe and Melissa Carroll, the owners of Lime Berry Gallery, are moving to upstate New York, and they are taking their store with them.

Not literally, but they plan to take some of the friends and family they represent in their Durango gallery and introduce them to buyers on the East Coast.

“We love Durango,” Melissa Carroll said Monday. “But we’ve been envisioning a place where we could live and work more seasonally and have more time off.

A large “going out of business” sign hangs above the marquee at the Carroll’s bright, colorful store at 925 Main Ave. Everything is discounted 20 percent to 50 percent.

The couple will relocate in the early spring to Hammonds Port, N.Y., on Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. Melissa plans to open a new store and has her eye on a circa 1800s building where they can both live and work.

“I couldn’t put my finger on the right location until I found the Finger Lakes,” Melissa joked.

The town is a popular tourist destination for summer visitors to the lake and autumn visitors to the wineries in the area. Their new store will allow the Carrolls to enjoy their winters, and they plan to return to Durango Mountain Resort and Telluride for skiing.

“Right now, we are giving our all for 12 months. We don’t have any down time, and while we work together at the store, we don’t have a lot of time to spend together just enjoying each other,” Melissa said.

The move also will enable Joe to spend more time painting and making furniture.

The couple embraces change. In 1986, Melissa moved to Taos, where she met Joe. They came to Durango in 1995, moved to Telluride in 2000 and returned to Durango in 2002. Melissa took two years off before opening Lime Berry in June 2004, investing $45,000 to refurbish the 1,800-square-foot space. She owned Las Cruces and Exit One Trader’s in Durango, and Las Cruces in Telluride before opening Lime Berry.

“Each time, it’s like a performance,” Melissa said drawing on her dance and theater background. “Each endeavor is absolutely wonderful, from the concept to the remodeling, it is a creative process. But each space dictates something new.”

The new space in Hammonds Port will dictate something different as well, but Melissa envisions the rugs, the folk art, the funky furnishings and the bright paintings all going with them.

“Some of our artists will be taken to New York,” she said. “It will be fun to share a bit of Colorado with New York.”

Her concept has always been to represent friends and family who make handmade items. That won’t change. And Lime Berry has been successful. The Carrolls are looking to sublet the space where their store is located, because they have a three-year lease. Several people already are looking.

Moving across the country will be a challenge for the Carrolls, and they hope to only have about half as many rugs to haul to New York as they’re displaying. Melissa said that last Saturday was a wild day in the store with people taking advantage of the discounts.

“It was like Filene’s Basement in here,” she said, referring to the long-standing and famous bargain-shopping department store.

The gallery is still filled with the prolific, colorful paintings of Navajo artist Leland Holiday, the papier mach`E9 sculptures of Amy Vaklav Felker and the figurative sculptures of Deborah Gorton. Lots of old Native Pawn jewelry fills a front case, and several jewelry cases were sold to other local business owners.

Durango’s loss is Hammonds Port’s gain.

“It’s not a bummer,” Melissa said to customers who came in asking about the going out of business sign. “It’s a good thing.”

artsjournalist@centurytel.netLeanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the visual arts.

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