Building History

View the Candy Shop Remodel Blog

Brandy LeMae and her husband, Joseph Vigil, bought the “Candy Shop” building on Friday, March 13, 2008. The original brick building was constructed circa 1913. The first owner was a laborer and the second owner was a candy maker. At some point, maybe in the 40’s, the Morris Family opened MORRIS CANDY SHOP – the Taste of the Rockies. Rumor has it that there were marble slab tables in the basement where the Morrises made candy. A long-time resident of the neighborhood says he remembers buying candy there as late as 1964.

In 1976, the next owner ran an egg roll restaurant in the building. We hear that that they were the best egg rolls in town. Eventually that owner leased the building to the Newsstand Adult Bookstore and then eventually Pleasures Adult Entertainment. The building housed Boulder’s premier pornography establishment for over 30 years. The basement where candy used to be made was converted to pornography viewing booths with token operated film projectors which were eventually converted to video. In the 90’s, a second story addition was added to make room for additional viewing booths showing porn videos 24-7. For just five bucks patrons could consume as much pornography as they wanted in black viewing booths with black vinyl cushions. . . some large enough to two. A former resident said the building was a real cruiser, pick-up place in the 90‘s. He saw guys from as far away as Wyoming coming to hook up. A couple of the notes we found while cleaning up the basement seem to confirm his observations.

LeMae decided to name the building “The Candy Shop” after learning its history. She chose to use a vintage style provocative image for the logo as a means of evoking both former uses of the building.

Boulder Porn Outlet Transformed into ‘Candy Shop’ – Daily Camera
Alicia Wallace
Posted: 07/27/2008 09:05:00 AM MDT

For nearly 31 years, the windows of 1720 15th St. were painted black, boarded up and covered with shutters.
Despite a history of housing sellers of candy, egg rolls and religious books, the more than 100-year-old building is known in recent memory for being home to purveyors of pornography.
The property is nestled near homes and Boulder High School, and was the longtime home of the Newsstand Adult Bookstore — a business that raised the ire of neighbors, parents and city officials; was a victim of arson and bomb scares; and a party to court battles — and, more recently, housed Pleasures Adult Book Store.
It was purchased earlier this year and treated to a massive face-lift.
In March, after Pleasures departed, Boulder-based VaST Architecture bought the building for $550,000, according to county records, and embarked on a months-long renovation project to create a “eclectic and funky” office space for itself and others, says Brandy LeMae, vice president of VaST.
Called the Candy Shop Creative Offices, the 2,488-square-foot building is a colorful, open-work environment where the five VaST employees work alongside a handful of sole proprietors and couple-person operations.
The Candy Shop “was a good double-entendre for the actual candy shop and for its later life as an adult book store,” LeMae said.
For the past three years, VaST officials have tried to purchase a building that they could redevelop into mixed-use, LeMae said. While there is no residential component involved in the Candy Shop, the site had a unique enough layout to allow for some creative and collaborative uses, she said.
The changes VaST made to the property — inside and out — are hardly indiscreet.
At the beginning of this year, the building was blue. Any windows were barely noticeable as they were boarded by white shutters and wood panels.
The dark paint was power-washed from the brick and the paneling was removed to reveal windows. It got a new porch and a some touches of bright red.
Inside, a walk along the reclaimed gymnasium flooring in the entranceway reveals offices separated by tall, open shelving — most carrying books and files, some carrying bowls of candy. Upstairs, vibrantly colored carpet and more offices and shelving sit where a few of the past tenants’ “viewing booths” were removed.
The former gym floor was one of a number of sustainable elements VaST incorporated, others being cork flooring, LED lighting and high-efficiency windows, LeMae said.
Helping to fill some of the 13 total spaces with VaST is a home energy consulting business, a graphic design firm, a landscaper, a seller of ergonomic office chairs, a local green building association and an engineering company.
Amy Hayes, owner of Origin Graphic Design, said she was attracted to the space because high gas prices and a newborn baby made commuting to a studio in Eldorado Canyon unrealistic.
“This is a little bit more of a professional environment, you have a shared conference room, kitchen and Internet access,” she said. “Just the camaraderie of the space is great.”
Henry Kroll, who operates Flatirons Furniture, lives in a co-housing community with his wife and said the small-scale cooperative space and the synergy within it could be a boon for the growth and awareness of his operation.
“By working cooperatively, we can promote this space to benefit all of us,” he said. “The benefit is that we have a wider community coming into our facility.”
As a landscape designer, working in the same office as an architectural firm seemed like a perfect fit for Julie Hauser, who owns Indigo Landscape Design. Plus, she added, working around other people isn’t as lonely as sole proprietorships sometimes can be.
Hauser, who provided the landscaping for the front of the building, said she’s embraced the property’s recent history as an adult book store and how that played into its new life as a business operation.
“I just love (LeMae’s) whole marketing of the Candy Shop,” Hauser said. “If you can’t poke fun at it, what can you do?”