Prison Crafts to Hit 16th Street Mall

Things have come a long way from just coat hangers and license plates. Where once those were the only things produced by inmates, now there are musicians making albums behind bars, books are being written in solitary, and other forms of expression are taking hold. The D.O.C. (Department of Clothing) in Longmont is shutting its doors…only to move to a more urban location on 16th street mall.

The store specializes in garments imprinted with the work of inmates in the Colorado prison system, although they do sell all sorts of art made by inmates. Owned by Natalie Abshier and her husband, Jerry, the store donates a portion of its profits to rehabilitation programs and half way houses. It is also the home of the Clean Wear line, designed by Natalie herself.

Although the business has seen an increase in sales, renovations to the alleyways in Longmont caused a sharp drop in sales during the month of October, prompting Natalie to consider other locations. In an article titled “Longmont’s Department of Clothing closing, moving to Denver,” Natalie explained the hardships they have faced.

“We tried to make every accommodation we could,” she said, “It has killed us.” The construction shut the doors to one of their main entrances, and they saw a 50% drop in sales between September and October. This forced the pair to consider new locations for their popular store.

They had originally intended to have both stores operating at the same time, but with the cost of downtown real estate and the lack of business at the Longmont store, they decided it was better to focus their business solely on their downtown franchise.

Keep a lookout for the store’s new location on 16th street mall, opening soon!