Bugs, bones and brains: New Golden shop aims to be a mecca for the curious

Golden native opens the Golden Curiosity Shop

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/27/21

While Golden has plenty of interesting shops, those looking for fossilized dinosaur poop, a piece of Independence Hall or 48-million-year-old mosquitos would likely have needed to look elsewhere. …

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Bugs, bones and brains: New Golden shop aims to be a mecca for the curious

Golden native opens the Golden Curiosity Shop

Posted

While Golden has plenty of interesting shops, those looking for fossilized dinosaur poop, a piece of Independence Hall or 48-million-year-old mosquitos would likely have needed to look elsewhere. Until just recently, that is.

In June, sixth generation Goldenite Luke Maas opened Golden Curiosity Shop in the strip mall at the intersection of South Golden Road and Johnson Road in Golden.

Billed on its website as a place to “embrace your curiosity,” the shop stocks everything from animal skulls and bones to an apparatus that makes your hair stand up on end when you touch it. However, some of the biggest sellers are the terrariums that can be made with butterflies, scorpions and other preserved animals.

But while the shop is now the place in Golden to pick up something that will create a stir — or at least a conversation — next time you have people over, Maas said his shop is about much more than shock value.

“What I’m really trying to do is sell home décor kind of but like scientifically-themed,” he said. “The goal is to abolish the mancave and bring back the study because it seems like too many people are afraid to be smart and proud to be stupid.”

And if the store’s busy first few days are any indication, there seems to be a market for a business that caters to people who share that outlook. Maas, who has been running the store by himself, said that he hadn’t been planning to add an employee for the first year but decided to do so after being open just three weeks because of the high customer volume the store was seeing.

“I get a lot of people that come in here and say ‘I think a lot of people would be weirded out by this but I think it is interesting,’” said Maas. “But like everybody says that and everybody is interested in this stuff, they just don’t express it.”

Maas is among those who has never had a problem expressing his affinity for artifacts of the scientific world. He says he had been collecting such artifacts for about six years when he realized they would make an awesome storefront.

While Maas said he does not like to reveal his sources, he says everything in the store (with a couple of very obvious and intentional exceptions) is real and purchased from what he says are ethical sources from around the world. For example, many of the insects are sourced from places like Broomfield’s Butterfly Pavillion that sell their insects after they die.

The ethical part is important, he said, because the industry is filled proferring illegal or mislabeled specimens. But so is the authentic part.

“Walmart and Amazon can’t mass produce me out of existence because there is only so many Rhino beetles and Walrus teeth,” he said.

The shop is also home to a workshop (glass windows allow customers to look in) where Maas and his new employee, Shelby Leigh Walton, put together much of what is in the store, including the wet specimens and framed bugs. His cousin, Stacey Maas, meanwhile makes the terrariums.

After years of working in tech, Maas said he is thankful to have found a job where he can use his hands.

“When you’re working on computers all day you don’t get to see anything form because it’s all abstract,” he said. “This is real.”

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