The Grey House is a Black & White matter on Sabbath Keeping in Estes Park
» When sisters Dena King and Dani Stafford decided to open a mountain boutique together in Estes Park, Colorado, it was never a question of whether they would be open on Sabbath or not. “It was just what we both knew we wanted to do,” says Dani, “Sabbath observance is something we were taught when we were little but we’ve truly come to appreciate as adults.”
Although their store may look like it’s made for hipsters, many touches show that they are a family friendly business. From the name “The Grey House” (derived from Dani’s son’s name) to the train table for children to play while their parents shop, their store is designed to serve shoppers by making them feel at home. They offer a unique selection of clothing, handmade accessories and gifts for men and women and even have a small baby corner.
The location they chose for The Grey House is a second story shop with 1,000 square feet of retail space and an additional 1,000 square feet in the back where their children can play and be with them while they’re working. It is located in between a snack shop and a bar. Soon after moving in, they made friends with several of the bartenders and when one saw their closed sign on Saturday, he told them, “That’s our biggest day in this town. You can’t be closed on Saturdays. That’s [expletive] suicide.”
The girls smile when they tell this story because growing sales have proven their friend wrong. They are currently in their third year of business and have seen sales double year over year.
It was important to Dena and Dani that people knew why they were closed so they hang a simple sign out on Friday evenings that says: The Grey House is closed on Saturdays so that the owners may enjoy Sabbath with their families. Please visit us again Sunday through Friday, or online: thegreyhouse.boutique.
“It has been completely amazing to me how respectful people are of our decision,” says Dena. “I expected customers to be upset when they came to shop and found us closed, but instead, we’ve actually had customers happily return the next day. In fact, earlier this summer a couple told us that they planned their trip to Estes Park on Sunday instead of Saturday because they wanted to shop at The Grey House. I was blown away.”
Dani says that they feel God blessing their business and have been surprised at the number of times spiritual matters come up in conversations with customers. “Lots of people have questions about why we’re closed on one of the biggest sales days and it has given us an opportunity to share why Sabbath rest is important to us. I hope that people notice we are kind and care about them before they notice we are people of faith. But I think Sabbath provides a gateway to talk about deeper matters.”
“I’m not going to lie,” says Dena. "There are times I see how much traffic there is coming into town as we’re driving to church and I wonder what our sales would be if we were open.” She is quick to add, “It’s just a passing thought though. We’ve seen too many evidences of God taking care of us. And running a business is hard work – I honestly don’t know how anyone does it without taking a Sabbath rest!” [Dena King]