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Kokopelli bike shop seeks to restore historic Exon Mercantile in Dolores

Kokopelli Bike and Board purchased the historic Exon Mercantile building in Dolores and opened a bike shop. The owners are seeking state historical grant funds to restore the building. (Courtesy photo)
Town supports grant application for state historic fund grants

Kokopelli Bike & Board is working with the town of Dolores to restore the historic Exon Mercantile Building, on the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street.

The bike shop operates out of half the building. The other half is available for rent.

Building and bike shop owners Scott Darling and Pete Eschallier are seeking grant funding up to $55,000 from the State Historical Fund for restoration projects. Dolores Planning Commissioner Shirley Powell has been volunteering to help property owners in town acquire historic grant funds for building improvements.

The local government where the building is located is required to be the grant applicant, and the Dolores town board has agreed. If the town is awarded a grant, the building owners provide 50% matching funds.

The Exon Mercantile building was listed on the town’s historic register in 1998, which makes it eligible for grants from History Colorado.

“Preserving historical buildings is important, unfortunately the town does not own any structures that qualify for state historical funding, but the town can help preserve privately owned buildings,” said Town Manager Ken Charles. “This will be a precedent for other future projects as there are several historical buildings in Dolores eligible for the grants.”

The project seeks to rework the parapet walls and install a coping cap, install a sump pump pit and sump pump in the basement and repair and restore the storefront.

According to a presentation to the town board, the Exon Mercantile building was constructed in 1906-1907 to house the Exon and Rush Meat Market and Mercantile — one of the first businesses in Dolores. The mercantile operated until 1967. It has since been the home of the Dolores Star and two antique stores.

The building exemplifies early 20th Century Commercial Architectural Style and retains many original and unique exterior and interior features.

“We are excited to have purchased the Exon building. It is a perfect mountain town bike shop,” said Darling. “We hope to continue to improve the building and help to revitalize the downtown commercial district.”