If you come across the Queen City General Store’s website, you will notice the About section reads, “located half a block away from the world’s first Quizno’s!!!” Visit the store and you will understand why. It’s a fun fashion emporium that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A free-spirited, relaxed, spend-an-entire-Sunday-here kind of store located in Capitol Hill on East 13th Avenue. Not only does it house beautiful under-the-radar fashion brands, it’s also a lifestyle store with shelves full of plants, beauty products, books, candles and more carefully curated by its owner, Olivia Meininger. With a background in fashion design, Meininger has built a neighborhood curiosity shop where you can come in and discover niche brands you don’t see everywhere such as Paloma Wool, Rachel Comey and Batsheva. Her eye for what’s a la mode is what makes the store so successful and why she’s opening another store in Edgewater come this fall.
Meininger — Denver’s favorite purveyor of uber-chic occasion dresses — tells us why she’s excited for fall and her plans for the new store, whilst modeling some of her favorite fall pieces available at Queen City General Store.
303 Magazine: How does it feel to be located next to the world’s first Quizno’s?
Olivia Meininger: The proximity to greatness is inspiring.
303: What drew you to this neighborhood to open your very first store? Was it the Quizno’s?
OM: I love this neighborhood. As a kid I’d always go to Watercourse and Buffalo Exchange. My buds all worked there. When I moved back to Denver I started bartending at City, O’ City and lived a few blocks away. I met my husband on this block. When the space became available, I had been looking for a while and it was just right.
303: Tell us how you came about to open Queen City General Store? How did it all begin?
OM: My background is in fashion design. I always wanted to have a space where I could have creative freedom while also supporting emerging designers and makers and offering my community a place to come, possibly feel a bit better about the world, better about themselves when they go into the world to do their thing. I love all things art and design — human and nature-made — and just wanted to spend my life immersed in it all.
303: Did your background in fashion help?
OM: Most definitely.
303: Tell us about the new store, what can we expect? Where will it be? When does it open?
OM: Yes! It will be in the Edgewater Public Market, scheduled to open early October. We’re very excited. We just want to make something fun and beautiful.
303: What’s the vibe for the new store?
OM: Fun. We mostly just love to have fun and work hard. We are very into experiential shopping and we love to create environments that blend art, fashion and lifestyle. Our current inspiration is Party City meets Donald Judd.
303: Any new designers we can expect to see?
OM: Shaina Mote is new for us this season, we love her. And Corridor for all the men out there.
303: Fall is just around the corner, what are some of the fall trends you’re expecting to see in store? What are your favorite trends and what trends won’t you be rocking?
OM: Saturated color, big sleeves, neon, oversized prints, super soft knits, a growing focus on sustainability which we are very into. I’m actually quite terrible at trends. I really believe in buying better but less and buying things you want to own forever. I’m usually rocking black jeans and old tees but I LOVE to occasion dress so I’m always looking for those special pieces that just turn you on. Mixing high and low items is big for us too. We are always mixing designer with vintage.
303: What are some of your favorite fall pieces that are coming to Queen City General?
OM: Fall is so good this season! I’m obsessed with everything Rachel Comey and Batsheva. Rachel’s Amplus Dress in Neon Green is completely out of control amazing. We’ve got silk skirts and chunky knit sweaters on the way from Shaina Mote and I can’t wait for them.
303: What are you most excited about for fall?
OM: Layering and Halloween. Halloween with kids is where it’s at.
303: Who shops at Queen City General Store? Who is the Queen City Girl or Boy?
OM: Our brick and mortar is such a neighborhood place. We seriously have 5-year-old regulars and 80-year-old regulars and I love them all.
303: Was there ever a moment when you thought, this is not going to work?
OM: Yes. Every other day but we really try to lead with positivity. We do this because we love to and that seems to translate to our customers.
303: What do you like about the fashion scene/community in Denver?
OM: Denver is full of amazingly creative people. With very few places to shop in person that are completely outside of fast fashion, we really want to take risks with our buys and edits to deliver unique pieces from thoughtful companies.
303: Apart from the new store, what else is next for Queen City? What would be the dream?
OM: An eponymous line has always been part of the plan and we’re getting close to a place where we’ll be able to really get into that which I’m super excited about. We have so much freedom, which was really a driving force for me in creating this business, so we can grow and do whatever we want. Shows, traveling to source, installations, whatever we can dream up. Seeing the dreams come to life, that’s the dream.
Photography by Lauren Magin.
Hair and Makeup by Whitney DeVoogd.