With a focus on shoppers savvy with all things digital, retail-incubator and shopping destination Free Market aims to marry commerce and dining in a communal space with forward-thinking brands.
If you find the typical mall-shopping experience to be entirely devoid of personality and charm, you’re not wrong. In fact, the high rate of mall closures within the past three years confirm what you’ve long suspected—retail is not as fun as it used to be.
Partners Lindsay Parton, Raan Parton, and Paolo Carini are looking to upgrade retail as we know it with the opening of Free Market. Located in Denver’s Dairy Block micro-district, Free Market harkens back to how shopping was like before malls became the dominant player in America’s business spaces. Think of a street downtown, with its cafés, shops, and various curiosities under one roof.
While this can make you say, yeah, literally a mall, it’s Free Market’s thoughtful integration of these qualities that set the place apart. Tenants are typically there for short-term stays only, and a brand that will take a departing one’s spot is free to re-do the experience as they see fit. Each retail space—measuring less than 1,000 square feet—can also be made into a pop-up shop, a gallery exhibition spot, a food cart, performance venues, or even a classroom. The shops also get to interact with each other; you can try on a smudge-proof lipstick at Beautycounter while sipping a glass of prosecco from Bruto, for instance.
Lindsay, Raan, and Paolo are experienced brand-builders, retailers, and real-estate consultants for the creative industry. They count menswear label Apolis, retail outlet Alchemy Works, co-working space Spring Place, and design fair series Parachute Market among their bona-fides. They put together the lessons they’ve learned into the Free Market concept, reshaping the way that retailers connect with shoppers in a way that’s more personal and less reliant on formula. “We understand the importance of consumer experience, brand curation and tenant flexibility to create successful and sustainable retail,” says Paolo. “Free Market is a three-pronged solution for modern shoppers, brands and developers that combines an incubator strategy with artistic understanding and infrastructure strength.”
Free Market is located at 1801 Blake Street, Denver, CO. Visit their website at FreeMrkt.co and at their Instagram. A second, 27,000-square-foot, outpost is slated to open at the Playa Vista Runway in Los Angeles, California later this year.
See more photos of Free Market’s opening fête below.