Solid as The Rock Hut: Celebrating 40 Years in Business
“These forty years have been great!” said Rock Hut co-owner Irene Witmer as the popular shop prepares to celebrate 40 years this month. Located at 706 Harrison Avenue, Irene and her husband Jim have been bringing specimens, jewelry and unique specimens to the local community during boom or bust.
“We have a good location and our presence at the store has made the Rock Hut successful,” Irene stated, regarding the success of four decades in business.
The Rock Hut was founded in 1974 by the late Gus Seppi and Jim Witmer. Seppi worked with his father as a gold and silver miner. He later worked at The Climax Molybdenum Mine, where he met Witmer. Witmer was chief of engineers at Climax and headed a department of more than 100 mining engineers. When Seppi retired from Climax in 1974, The Rock Hut got its start.
Their interest in mining and minerals gave the two men the idea to open a rock shop. Seppi learned to collect minerals from the 1930 high graders and Witmer has had his share of collecting as well. Gus Seppi passed away in 1988 and that’s when Jim and his wife Irene took over ownership of the popular gift shop.
The Rock Hut displays minerals from all over the world; however Jim and Irene still place emphasis on Colorado minerals. There are thousands of specimen on display in the turn-of the-century building. Most customers who visit the store say it is like going to a museum.
The 706 Harrison Avenue location was a strong history on its own. Originally built as Blosfeld Hardware & Tin shop, the store sold stoves for heating and cooking. In fact, old pictures show a coffee pot on the roof advertising stoves (remember, coffee was brewed on stoves back then).
The building also housed Cass General Store and Office Supply for over forty years. The Rock Hut has kept that tradition of business success alive. As their sign says they carry fossils, minerals, and of course, rocks. They also have a selection of educational toys and beautiful precious gem jewelry.
So what does the future hold? Well, first there’s the super cool 40th Anniversary Sale the Witmers are hosting for their loyal customers from April 11 – 14? See ad for details.
Beyond that, it’s a family tradition!
“The daily operation will eventually be taken over by our son Dan and daughter Beth,” said Irene. “Hopefully they will have another forty years to look forward to.”
So congratulations to The Rock Hut, celebrating 40 years of rocks, fossils and crystals that are sure to amaze!