There’s an intersection between history, art and retail, and within that small space is a very special place called the Great Republic. This truly original shop features everything from a first edition copy of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” to a Civil War-era American flag to American-made steel dinner bells. We spoke with store founder Eddie Papczun about his Colorado Springs store and his upcoming shop in Washington DC. We discussed how his passion for antiques and his dedication to Made in the USA items set the stage to create a once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience.
Tell us a little about The Great Republic, how you got started, and your role there?
I’m the founder of the business. I have a background in specialty retail. I founded a golf antiques business back in 1995 called Golf Links To the Past which was out of a shop in Pebble Beach. I have an affinity to creating unique retail experiences and it was always my intention to get back into specialty retail, but in a way that wasn't being done anywhere else that I had ever seen. I wanted to really focus on a great shopping experience for men, because I've always felt that men don’t have a lot of great shopping experiences.
I didn't want it to be an apparel shop, there are plenty of menswear clothing stores out there, so I didn't have any interest in that at all. I leveraged my love of history and the antique and a passion for searching, finding and partnering with boutique manufacturers to create an American experience, a celebration of America. We celebrate America in antiquity with antiques and unique items that you will not see anywhere else, but then we also celebrate America in handcrafted goods. I love that young people seem to have a real connection to crafting things with their hands and there seems to be a real movement where entrepreneurly-minded individuals are creating really cool made in America items that are a great fit for the Great Republic. That’s how I approach this business model, we are certainly an antique shop in a sense, but not in any traditional sense, and we also have this wonderful collection of handcrafted US goods.