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Family-owned Colorado shop creating one-of-a-kind props for Hollywood movies

19th century cans
Posted at 12:45 PM, May 28, 2021

VICTOR, Colo. — In the middle of the Rocky Mountains lies the City of Gold Mines, but gold isn’t the only treasure nestled in Victor, Colorado. Victor Trading Company is a gem in itself and manager Karen Morrison knows it all too well.

“But it’s kind of stuck in a time warp," Morrison said.

The shop will send you back more than 100 years.

"Very circa 1900," Morrison said. "Guy this morning just walks in the door and goes, 'this is my kind of place.'”

After more than three decades running the shop, Morrison says it wasn’t always like it is today.

“We started with a Christmas shop, but Christmas doesn’t sell in Victor," Morrison said.

What does sell? Handmade items. From famous brooms to printing, they do it all. They even make 19th-century cans.

“Historically correct cans, as far as we know, we are the only ones doing them," Morrison said.

It all started when a reenactment of the Civil War called for 19th-century cans. So, Morrison tried to replicate them.

“A lot of the reenactors tell me they are scary good," Morrison said.

They were so good that they got noticed all over the country and her skills were needed in Holly wood.

“Disney called up one year," Morrison said. “The first one was 'The Missing' with Tommy Lee Jones.”

These cans were made specifically as props for movies like "The Lighthouse," "The Missing," and even "The Greatest Showman."

“And then they tell us that they need the cans and oh we’re going to film a musical about PT Barnum and you’re going 'really?' And it was 'The Greatest Showman' and that was a really neat movie," Morrison said.

These multi-million dollar productions found the only place that makes these recreations and what makes them so special is the attention to detail.

“They don’t expect it, they don’t expect it here in Victor," Morrison said. “When you start looking, people online sometimes have antique labels that have never been used and they are not cheap, but I need one because I make a color copy, so I preserve the original label. But the labels are so gorgeous that they did such artwork and graphics back then. We have almost 300 different can labels that we make the cans for now.”

Each can is made through this careful process to create a hole and cap style which is pre-1920.

“It’s rewarding that people come in here and want to buy something that we made," Morrison said. “I guess we were meant for this and I think we’ve kind of helped Victor as well because people know about us so they come here.”

It's an unexpected outcome from a shop that stumbled onto success.

“No, this is it, one and only. There isn’t another store like this," Morrison said.