Lafayette Life March 2015

Lafayette’s “Antiques Row”
What You Didn’t Know About Noble Treasures

If you live in Lafayette, chances are you’ve already been to Noble Treasures (
It’s been a mainstay on South Public Road for decades.  But you might be surprised by what you didn’t know about this eclectic antique treasure chest of a store.
Cindy Noble originally opened the store in 2004.  In 2010, Jeannine Erlhoff and her partner Anne Wenzel were looking for new opportunities during the economic downturn.  They decided to open an antiques store and had their eye on the space that is now the Community Holistic Health Center. Not wanting to crowd Noble Treasures, Jeannine and Anne went to ask their would-be neighbor her opinion on having another antique store next door.  As luck would have it, Cindy was in the market to sell.  Jeannine and Anne jumped at the opportunity.  Today, Noble Treasures is an antique and collectibles mall with over 30 dealers in 6200 sq. ft.

You’ll find antique furniture, primitives, vintage items, books, glassware, and collectibles of all kinds, as well as some new items mixed in.  Anne since left to pursue other interests, but for Jeannine Noble Treasures has become a true labor of love. Jeannine, a self-described introvert, remembers the beginning of her store as an “act of magic.”

And that’s not the only magic Noble Treasures has up its sleeve. Jeannine’s face lights up as she reveals that Noble Treasures is also home to several ghosts – “affectionate protectors” – as she calls them.  The first is Terry, late husband of Nancy West, the longtime landlord.  Nancy’s and Terry’s children grew up playing in the store.  Nancy is still the landlord and “caretaker,” and she has several of her own booths, including the back room with the garage door which Jeannine tells me was actually once a car wash!  (And did you know that room towards the back with the wood ceiling used to be a sauna!).
Terry West died suddenly many years ago.  He is remembered as a big, friendly man who tended to dress in plaid.  Customers have reported seeing Terry in his plaid shirt, hanging out in this or that corner of the store.  And then there are the unexplained events – a toy being moved from one location to another, plates suddenly found inside cupboards where they weren’t before, a deer head making its way from its home high on the wall to the floor, without breaking any of the surrounding glass items and with the nail it hung from still pointing upwards.  That’s Terry, making his friendly presence known.
Jeannine’s late mother also made an appearance at closing time one winter day shortly after she passed a few years back. Suddenly, sparks began flying from the EXIT sign and all the lights in the store flickered at once.  Jeannine’s suspicions that her mother had paid a visit were confirmed when the electrician could find no problem that would have caused the light show. Customers have reported various other apparitions over the years, sitting in a rocking chair or admiring an old chest of drawers, perhaps tending the items they once so loved.
Beyond the friendly apparitions, Noble Treasures bursts with variety and personality thanks to the dozens of independent dealer booths, each exuding the dealers’ own particular passions.  On most days of the week, you’ll find Steve Preston at work in his section of the store (to the right of the entry).  It’s filled to the brim with antique furniture, crates, tool boxes, tins, and other colorful pieces of Colorado’s past waiting to find a new home and purpose. Steve not only has a keen eye for antiques, Jeannine describes him fondly as the “heart of the store.”  Steve grew up in Lafayette.  He knows the town’s history, helps with store design and customer service, and has an easy way with customers that is a perfect complement to Jeannine’s more reserved style.  He’s often the first one to give you a cheery greeting (and welcome you by name if you’re a regular) as you stroll in the front door.
Jeannine remembers 20 or 30 years ago when Lafayette was an antiques destination, with people coming from surrounding towns to spend a day hunting treasures.  She loves that Noble Treasures is a community of vendors, and she loves the supportive retail community that surrounds her store.  You’ll love it, too.  Come visit Noble Treasures.  Depending on your luck, you  may find an antique you didn’t know you needed or spot a friendly spirit! Noble Treasures is located at 409 S. Public Road and is open Monday – Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5.  Noble Treasures also participates in Art Night Out and Music Goes Public.
Nadya Davis is an intellectual property attorney at Holland & Hart LLP, where she focuses on trademark, copyright, and patent protection.  (  A devoted animal lover, she also volunteers as a longtime member of the Longmont Humane Society Board of Directors.  ( 


The Denver Post


Alley Art  Amazin' mural project in Lafayette, CO.

John Weise, above, founder of Alley Art Amazin’, and project artist Sarah Spencer met at a mural that Spencer worked on called “Monet’s Waterlilies with Octopus.”

LAFAYETTE — One of the metro area’s largest grassroots residential art projects started with a simple stroll down an alley.

Lafayette resident John Weise was out walking a dog with a friend when he noticed that one of his neighbors had painted her garage door with a fanciful mural. As he admired the colorful swath of abstract flowers and clouds, Weise had an idea.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could have some sort of alley art program that was both a social event and an art event, with neighbors helping out neighbors to make our town more beautiful?’ ” he said.

A mural on a garage expresses gratitude to John Weise for his idea to beautify alleys. (Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Weise, an 81-year-old retired lawyer, doesn’t have any particular love of the arts. But he does have a deep sense of community and an ability to get things done. Less than three years after his fateful alley stroll, 39 garages, sheds and backyard fences in Lafayette’s Old Town have become canvases for a volunteer public art project that Weise has dubbed Alley Art Amazin’.

The project is so popular that a dozen homeowners and businesses are on a waiting list for murals this summer.

“This is a device that seems to attract people and get them quite involved,” Weise said.

Five local artists serve as Weise’s backyard Botticellis, volunteering an average of 50 to 60 hours per year each to paint the free murals on the homes and businesses that line Lafayette’s historic alleys.

“We all have families and jobs, but we also want to be involved in the art scene around Lafayette. I think we’re really changing the face of the city,” said Tiffany Choate, one of the volunteer artists.

The murals range from a Japanese motif of birds and branches to the lyrics of the John Lennon song “Imagine.” Giant, stylized sunflowers sprout on a garage next door to a bald eagle soaring through a forest — an enlarged version of one of the homeowner’s own paintings.

A giant-sunflower mural at 303 W. Simpson St. Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post

Weise’s own alley fence sports a puffy, whimsical rooster surveying a farmhouse, while down the street, a giant blue tentacle pokes out of a Monet-style lily pond adorning a garage.

One thing all of the murals have in common is that they look professional. The artists work closely with homeowners to incorporate design elements they want, while steering them away from inappropriate images or jarring color schemes.

“Ideally, we’d love to draw an outline, and then they finish the project, but it’s hard to convince people that they can paint, so we end up doing a lot of the painting,” Choate said. “We want people to really feel like the art is theirs. It’s more enjoyable to say, ‘I did this too.’ ”

A mural of a family watching the sun set behind the mountains at 403 W. Cleveland St.

Financing for the project is also a community endeavor, coordinated by Weise. The Lafayette Old Town Association Residents’ Committee promotes it and last year donated $1,000 earned from home and garden tours for artist stipends.

Homeowners, an artists’ cooperative, pARTiculars, and the Boulder County hazardous materials recycling center contribute leftover paint. The city’s cultural arts commission donates $1,000 a year for supplies; sealant to protect the artwork; and ladder rentals, plus other incidentals. The city also prints a brochure with a map of the art for walkers and publishes a page about it on the city’s website.

Jenn Ooton, executive director of the Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority, said not o nly does the public art help cut down on graffiti, but it also promotes community spirit.

Detail of a mural at 201 E. Cleveland St.

“You drive down the street and see the art, and it puts a smile on your face,” she said. “It gives you something to talk about with your neighbors.”

For a list of artwork and addresses go to and click the “arts and culture” link under “services”

Color your neighborhood

Want to start a public art project in your neighborhood? Lafayette’s experts had some tips.

Follow the rules. Check to see if there are any city or homeowners’ association regulations that affect your project. In Lafayette, the city requires that artwork on businesses in the historic downtown be covered with anti-graffiti sealant.

Get the space right. Consider alley or backyard projects, which are less visible and thus less potentially objectionable to neighbors.

Get to know local artists. One of the alley artists is a barista at the coffee shop near founder John Weise’s house. Another is his neighbor.

Don’t forget the business aspect. You’ll need someone who can coordinate homeowners’ and artists’ schedules, and potentially solicit grants and market the project.

Knock on doors. Tiffany Choate and her fellow artists roam the alleys looking for building and fence “canvasses,” and then pitch the project to the homeowner or business. Weise also hired a local student to distribute fliers about the project.

Make it easy. All Alley Art Amazin’ murals are free to residents and businesses.

Incorporate framed art. Large paintings can be hung on structures where the owners don’t want permanent art.


The Daily Camera

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

East county businesses find their niche with holiday customers

By Kimberli Turner Colorado Hometown Weekly
Posted: 12/13/2011 05:53:37 PM MST

Lafayette’s Noble Treasure owners Anne Wenzel, left, and Jeannine Erlhoff have found December sales to be steady and look forward to drawing more people into the shop during Art Night IN on Friday, Dec. 16. (Kimberli Turner/ Colorado Hometown Weekly)

With less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, east Boulder County businesses are gearing up to accommodate shoppers for the Christmas rush and stay competitive with big-box stores and area malls.

Small-business owners say marketing the quaint small-town feeling of downtown and unique products is the way to go.

“We particularly cater to women,” said Elizabeth Lagae, owner of Elizabeth’s Embellishments in Old Town Lafayette. “(Customers) aren’t going to find that big-screened TV here … it’s different, unique not-everyone-has it items. Women sometimes want something different and special.”

Lagae, who’s owned the shop for eight years and moved to the location at 611 South Public Road more than four years ago, offers home furnishings, clothing and accessories for women and children among other home décor items and gifts.

She said even with the cold weather, business has been steady.

“Christmas, you do get a boost,” she said. “There’s more foot traffic.”

Up the road at Noble Treasures, owners Jeannine Erlhoff and Anne Wenzel said the Lafayette Old Town Association’s work to promote the downtown culture helps draw new and returning customers to local businesses like theirs.

“We in Lafayette are a very supportive retail community,” Erlhoff said.

One seasonal promotional concept LOTA created was “Spot the Elf,” in which patrons — a majority are children — can get a “Spot the Elf” booklet from participating businesses complete with clues to finding an elf hidden in those shops. As customers find the elves, they receive stamps and can enter to win prizes.

“This brings in people who may have never been in the store,” Erlhoff said. “We hide the elf deep in the store so they have to walk through the store.”

Other events like Art Night IN — coordinated by pARTiculars Art Gallery and Teaching Studio, with events offered at surrounding businesses — also help bolster sales in Old Town once the temperature drops.

Art Night IN is set to run 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, and Noble Treasures plans to offer dessert and coffee.

Noble Treasures, which has been on Public Road for eight years, offers a variety of products fit for the season — including furniture, antiques, collectibles, books, home and garden décor among other items — and sales have been steady for them, too.

“This time of year people are outfitting their homes for the holidays,” Erlhoff said. “People come to shop here because they will find something special here. We can’t get the same piece twice.”

Over in neighboring Louisville, Tim Burton, owner of Tim’s Toy Trains near the intersection of South Boulder Road and Colo. Highway 42 is just starting to feel the holiday push with an increase in starter train set sales.

“We’re surviving. It picked up late last week. We had a big Friday and Saturday and we’re hoping to continue from there,” he said. “I’m hoping to have lots of empty shelves and a cash register full of cash.”

One popular Christmas starter set is Burton’s Polar Express train set made by Lionel and based off of the popular children’s book and movie.

“It’s a great set at Christmas,” he said. “It’s a great little movie. If you jingle the box (you can hear) it comes with the bell for the Christmas tree.”


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