COVID-19 isn’t the reason Details Boutique in downtown Littleton is closing, but it certainly sped things up.
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Owner Peggy Cooper already figured 2020 would be the final year for the Main Street emporium of all things quirky and cute, saying her multiple sclerosis was making it more and more difficult to mind the shop.
But after COVID-19 struck, Cooper, whose disease means she’s at a greatly heightened risk from the virus, opened up the shop after quarantine with new rules: only four people allowed inside at once.
“They started lining up around the block,” Cooper said. “It gave me a panic attack to see so many people waiting. I want to make sure everyone’s taken care of. You had people standing out in the heat.”
Cooper switched the shop to appointment-only, but the writing was on the wall.
“It’s just time,” Cooper said. “It’s sad. I’m a big hugger. I love to hug my friends, and I can’t anymore.”
Cooper and her husband, Bart, bought Details, then a bath and body shop located on the other side of Main Street, in 2004. Cooper, with an eye for beauty, started bringing in antiques, clothes, and kooky gifts.
The shop took off, and soon outgrew its old digs. Bart and Peggy snagged 2359 Main Street -- built in 1925 as the Palm Theater, once the finest movie house in town.
The couple enlisted a few dozen friends and neighbors to help them move to the new shop, loading merchandise into a brigade of shopping carts.
The new building, still sporting its original projection booth, was a fitting home for Peggy’s growing array of treasures: vintage cookware, chic handmade clothing, European soaps and lotions, and an unparalleled greeting card section. Bart and Peggy delighted in building one-of-a-kind displays out of vintage furniture.
For Peggy’s daughter Nikki Carpenter, mom’s shop was a special place that brought spice to her life.
“It was my third closet,” Carpenter said. “I always had great outfits. My friends all got the best gifts.”
It was also the source of cherished mother-daughter bonding time -- Cooper took her daughter on buying trips to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, teaching her to wheel and deal. She also taught her the finer things, like what to order at a nice restaurant, and how to select a fine wine.
Now a marketing director and commercial real estate broker, Carpenter said there’s no better education for a woman in business than helping run the family’s hometown store.
Cooper said she isn’t done in the business -- she’ll likely sell items online from home, though she knows it won’t be the same.
“I love people,” Cooper said. “I’m going to miss everyone so much. I just want to thank all our wonderful customers over the years for supporting us.”
Cooper’s longtime customers will miss her, too.
“Peggy’s got such great taste,” said Lisa Luebbert, who said she can always depend on Details as a place to get “unique gifts for unique people. Peggy’s a special person.”
One of the more fulfilling aspects of running Details was being part of the community.
“It was so wonderful to watch downtown grow over the years,” she said. “The merchants down here have all come such a long way. I hope everyone can hang on. We worked so hard to get here.”
Cooper said the shop’s last day will likely be Aug. 31.
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