Trunk Nouveau /t^nk/ ‘nju:’veo/ noun: A curated monthly showing and sale from an independent maker who offers handcrafted wares. Trunk Nouveau in Aurora started with a remarkable dream: a busy aviation studio, industrial in nature, doused in the smell of engine oil and creativity. In the back, a room with steam trunks and suitcases filled with forgotten treasures–the kind that people hold on to, handcrafted and meaningful.
A trunk showroom was created at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace–packed full of love and local, a curious place to discover and explore. Suitcases are packed with jewelry, cards, charms, gemstones, wooden toys, and other unique gifts from talented local and regional artists.
Although their businesses Pandora on the Hill and Soul Haus have been in operation for over 20 years in Denver, Trunk Nouveau is young, celebrating its third year, and Squadron Co is celebrating its first anniversary at Stanley Marketplace. Who knew that a business in the middle of a field with no major intersections could succeed, along with 50 other businesses, in the local economy. In fact, Trunk Nouveau has now exceeded sales over their businesses in Denver. When a second space became available at Stanley just before the holidays last year, owner Chris Bacorn jumped on it, and opened Squadron Co, a men’s gift and clothing boutique.
Owner Stephanie Shearer recalls, “Before Trunk
even had a name, we met with Aurora-South Metro
SBDC to review our finances to make sure that we were liquid enough to open this new venture in a location with zero financial history. The SBDC helped us trim and tuck, with reserves in place for growth.”
The SBDC gave advice on traffic patterns and location quirks and suggested a rolling suitcase feature filled with products geared toward men. “It’s that brainchild of Aurora-South Metro SBDC that proved to us that we needed a men’s shop.” In the Fall of 2018, Squadron Co was born and now has the fastest growth pattern of all four shops.
Trunk Nouveau started with the owners plus two staff on a bootstrapped budget. Today, the two businesses employ seven full-time, three part-time and several seasonal positions. Since opening, sales have increased 12% (nearly tripling the national retail growth of 4.6% for the same period), and gross profits increased 11.5%. Net worth has increased, also.
Stephanie and Chris have community heart in hand demonstrated by their donations to local nonprofit organizations and being an environmentally aware business. They are both proud children of Veterans, and they built Squadron Co as a tribute to their fathers, grandfathers and Chris’s grandmother, who served our country. They proudly hire veterans at Squadron and offer military discounts.
Trunk Nouveau and Squadron Co have one mission: to do business honestly and ethically, while serving the community. “As we say in our ‘Stanifesto’, we’re here for good.”