Sometime in the early 1950's, David Fistell purchased a large brick warehouse building on the corner of 10th and Bannock in Denver, Co.
This location would soon become the new home for Fistell's Electronic Supply Co. and would be the #1 place in town to buy parts for anything in the world of Electronics.
Tomorrow, 10/22/16, I get to see the newly restored, developed and rebuild on this incredible historical Denver building... Here is the Past, Present and Future of it all.
I was born in 1981 and spent my childhood and teen years in this building! Why?
Because David Fistell was my Grandfather (maternal side) and my Uncles, one of my Aunts and my Mom all worked there to keep this local, family business afloat.
In addition to my relatives, there were a couple dozen other employees that were staples in that business and the regulars would come by just to chat and visit.
I remember playing in my Grandfathers office, in their back break room area and playing hide and seek with my cousins in the basement between rows and rows of dusty file cabinets that held instruction books on how to repair tube television sets from the 1950's.
As I grew older, I helped my mom work in the front office, over the summers.
I would ring the customers up and learned how to count change back to them.
I learned about customer service, accounting and some basic clerical skills.
And... as I grew older, technology started to peek it's face around the corner into this electronic realm that hadn't changed too much over the last few decades.
Tube TV's phased out.
Fuses and resistors were starting to be a thing of the past.
Radio's with fuzzy, glittery speaker covers and manual dials looked lonely and abandoned as CD's made their way into the 90's. Not to mention the amazing, perfectly built, strong wooden vinyl record players that hadn't been touched for some time.
While the world evolved and technology matured, this electronics business tried to keep up with adding some trendy items and new parts, but soon Best Buy and Radio Shack were the new Electronic Stores and Fistell's was a place that people would go to find parts to restore their old "retro" electronic outfits.
My Grandfather passed away in 2002, when he was 87 years old. My Uncles, Howard and Mark, and my Aunt Darlene decided to keep the business running and did so for another decade.
All of the siblings and their estate attorney made a hard decision to sell the building, it's history and all of it's contents.
This is where the treasure hunt started!
All of us in the Fistell family went through the building, isle by isle...floor by floor (3 story brick warehouse... it took us weeks!) and found some really incredible relics from this 100+ year old building and 60 year old business.
Old TV's, antique reel projectors, radios, part boxes, computers, tv tube cases (imagine an over-sized caboodle that held a giant glass tube!), all different shapes and sizes of crazy cool light bulbs... and so many other things that were so foreign to me.
But... the part that I LOVE is knowing that these parts and boxes, tubes and gears and giant metal machines that I haven't ever seen in my life... they have been around for a very long time.
They have a life of their own, a story and a purpose. Sometime in the past 60 years, these things were created and used and handled and they were needed. They thrived in their day and time.
I feel the same about old magazines and newspapers, but that story and obsession is for another day.
Once we started digging around, wiping the layers of dust and years away from these isles... it became very real and very apparent that the life, love and history in this building was still there. It had just been hiding and had been put away for awhile.
Eventually, a couple of wholesale buyers came in and brought trucks and trucks to fill with their top picks from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
We had an "estate sale" for all of the local, Denver Natives to come find a couple of fun things to keep for themselves and to essentially say their Goodbyes.
For this industry and these local collectors... it was truly an end to an era that will never be replicated. It will only continue to live in the treasures we've kept, the photos we have taken and the memories we have.
So, what happens to old buildings that get abandoned and sold? Well, for this old building... it has a pretty cool future.
After my Fistell family sold the building, I drove by every few months to see what the new owners were doing with it. They peeled away the exterior blue paint, which served as a descriptive landmark for people trying to find Fistell's Electronics. They exposed the original brick (LOVE!), opened up more window space (see the difference between original windows on the left and the new opening on the right?)... and they started building an additional floor! The building already had a basement, main level and the 2nd level. Come to find out.... this new top level would be an amazing outdoor patio and conference area.
I constantly had to stop myself from interrogating the construction workers for information as to what was happening, being built, planned for... I wanted to know everything.
Which, let's be honest... that is totally not unusual for me.
So, present time... on 10/10/16, I get a call from my Mom. I am on my way to Denver for a meeting to schedule the location for my December Ladies Night Out event.
My mom tells me that she went by "the building" (as we have always called it), she talked to one of the sales guys and they let her look around inside for a second and she was pretty much speechless.
I decided to make a pit stop by the building on my way home as well.
I am not a very shy or reserved person... so walking up to what use to be my playground was definitely not something I was hesitant about.
What we used to consider to be the front door, was locked. I looked in and saw an amazing reception area, elegantly lit up with modern light fixtures and some pretty hip furniture. I knocked on the door and started questioning if I should impose. A nice contractor stopped his work and let me in, directing me to the "sales office", towards the side of the building where my moms "front office" used to be.
I didn't really know what to say or do other than stand there, in the walkway, in awe of what they transformed this building into. It was everything I ever wished I could do to that building and more.
I always envisioned/dreamt/wished I had the money and skills to restore that building into private studio work-spaces for artists with a bakery and store front and library in it.
However, I didn't win the lottery that year... so I had to let it go and watch someone else do it.
And they did it!
I really didn't know what "the building" was going to be used for, until I walked in that afternoon.
I had heard it would be an office building (boring...) or a conference center (boring...) but this... what I was not standing in the middle of, was soooo not boring.
I met a gentleman at the front and introduced myself, telling him a shorter version of everything you've read above. He graciously walked me through the building, showing me some really cool things that they kept from the "stuff", for lack of a better term, that was left behind in the building.
After he showed me around all of the areas, he let me know that the Grand Opening was on 10/22/2016 at 7PM and that they would love it if my family and I attended.
"The Building" is now called Shift Workspaces. They have individual studio offices, an open floor co-work space, conference rooms and the new rooftop patio. Their GRAND OPENING is tomorrow night and it is going to be so fun!
It is open to the public and is going to be an amazing party!! I will be there to say "hello" to their new home that was once ours. Come with me, say hi and find a purpose to hang in this spot now that you know what it used to be once upon a time.
Click here to RSVP and check them out!
Here are some current photos of what the building looks like now. AMAZING! I will post a follow up story about the party with photos and hopefully, lots of details about the fun we had!
xoxo - Leah
Hi There! I am Leah Ryan, Lead Publisher and Social Media + Event Coordinator for Housewives in the City here in Denver, Colorado! I have lived in Colorado my entire life, born and raised. My family has some deep Colorado roots and I am fascinated with anything related to Colorado History!
I love to spend time with my boyfriend, cook, read, use my creativity in every aspect possible and if there is a puppy around... that is where my attention will be! Please come introduce yourself to me if you see me out and about and especially at one of our monthly Ladies Night Out events! XOXO - Leah