There's nothing better than delivering good news at 21Q. And I've got some to share.
Local fashion icon Olivia Coehlo is back in business. After a devastating fire almost two weeks ago at her midtown boutique, Olipom, Coehlo just signed a lease for a new location for her business. And she says she hopes to be up and running in a week to 10 days.
So, where is the address for the new Olipom? (FYI: She's keeping the name.)
"It's next door to my husband's skateboard shop, Flatspot (21st Street between L and K streets)," Coehlo says. "It was a complete fluke that the previous tenant left. I talked to the landlord and signed the lease on Wednesday.
"I'm so grateful that I found reasonable rent so quickly, and it's a good deal being next to my husband," she says.
The original Olipom, at 19th and Capitol, sold vintage and handmade clothing. Coehlo says she was able to salvage a lot of the merchandise from the fire; her shop suffered mostly smoke and water damage.
"The firefighters were so impressive," she says. "They threw tarps over my merchandise...some clothing items, depending on the material, held on to that smoke smell."
Coehlo adds that many of the designers whose work she sold have offered to restock her new store, including Trisha Rhomberg, who creates the Pretty Trashy clothing line.
"Trisha showed up the next day (after the fire) without calling and helped me move everything," Coehlo says.
More than anything, Coehlo says she's been moved by the community support. She's received hundreds of e-mails encouraging her to open her store - again. Proceeds from several benefit events also have helped the tenants who lived in the apartments upstairs. They pretty much lost everything.
Coehlo says she's "calling in all my favors, putting paintbrushes in people's hands to get the new Olipom ready to open."
In the meantime, she's selling some of her merchandise in Flatspot and just outside, on the street. Two of her loyal customers, LaPorscha Wynne and Sherree Hall, stopped by Thursday and made purchases.
And this weekend, Coehlo and Olipom will once again host the popular Sellout Buyout clothing and art sale, which will feature more than 20 indie designers and "utilitarian artists." The event is from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Fools Foundation, a basement gallery in the alley behind 1025 19th St. There will be Olipom T-shirts for sale, and Mike and Olivia are getting into the spirit by painting skateboards.
And for those of you concerned about the Olipom mannequins that were a sidewalk fixture at the previous location, don't worry.
"They'll be back out on the street, playing out their soap operas."