Tiffany Etc., in the Lathro Hardware Building at 438 Main St. Courtesy Kathryn R. Burke
The next and present owner, Glee Westcott, owns Tiffany, Etc., and she immediately began an extensive restoration to turn the building back to its original vintage charm. A glass artist and antique collector, Westcott’s knowledge and love of history were a definite asset. “My goal was to restore it,” she said. “I hoped that by preserving this historical building, I’m also helping to revitalize downtown Montrose and inspire others to follow suit.” In May 2004, the Montrose Historical Society honored Westcott for her efforts.
Inside Tiffany’s Etc. Restored tin ceiling, light fixtures, mezzanine balcony. Courtesy Kathryn R. Burke.
Despite its long use, much of the 3-story building’s original features have survived. “Most of the changes in those years were cosmetic,” Westcott explained, “not structural.” Especially notable today are the hardwood floors, tin ceilings, skylights, overhead lighting fixtures, and paneled walls. A mechanical lift (freight elevator), once used to transport heavy inventory such as stoves and refrigerators between floors, has been motorized and still functions. In the basement, you can also see where there was another lift at the front of the building, now covered over with stone. The original Lathrop office space on the mezzanine is still there, although it has since been extended to accommodate merchandise. The original building was heated with a coal furnace that has since been replaced with gas, and there is evidence of a long-ago fire in charred rafters at the back of the basement. The damage was minimal, however, and just adds a little more character.
“I did the best I could,” Westcott said, “focusing on hardware styles, brickwork, and color.” It took a long time, but the result was certainly worth it. At first, her glass studio was in the back and antiques (mostly her own) were in the front. Westcott gradually began adding more furniture, including more modern pieces, and home décor merchandise out front. She began adding other inventory, like women’s clothing, handbags, and accessories, jewelry, silk flowers, gifts, greeting cards, and socks. “It just sort of evolved,” she said,” becoming more eclectic as I kept changing my merchandise.” Hence the “Etc.” in the store’s name.
Today, the store carries an eclectic mix of fashion and home decor. Courtesy photo, Kathryn R. Burke.
Ten years ago, Westcott closed the glass studio, added more retail—shoes and more jewelry—and cut back on furniture. “I know my customers,” she said, “and what they like. And it’s fun: You never know what you’ll find when you come in here to shop.” A visit to Tiffany, Etc., is great shopping therapy!
Westcott’s sense of color and texture makes the shopping experience both visual and sensual. “This isn’t like shopping online,” she noted. “This is shopping the old-fashioned way, where you can touch, see, and feel the merchandise. Vintage shopping in a vintage building.”