Starbucks to close its only Aspen location; Gorsuch Sports moving in | AspenTimes.com

Starbucks to close its only Aspen location; Gorsuch Sports moving in

The only Starbucks coffee shop in Aspen is fading to black.

The Seattle-based company confirmed by email Friday that the shop's last day of operation at the Gondola Plaza is Aug. 20.

"Employees working at this location will be offered the opportunity to transfer to another Starbucks within the Vail Resorts network," a company spokesperson said.

Aspen Sports, which shares the space with Starbucks, is scheduled to close Sunday, Vail Resorts spokeswoman Liz Biebl wrote in an email.

Vail Resorts owns the Aspen Sports chain as well as the Starbucks it shared space with in Aspen through a licensing agreement.

"This was a decision based on the unique dynamics of the location and connected space with Starbucks," Biebl wrote. "Employees at this Aspen Sports location have been transferred to other positions within Vail Resorts retail."

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Aspen Sports has three other downtown locations, including its flagship spot on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall. Vail Resorts also owns The North Face Summit Shop on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall, as well as Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.

Less clear is whether Starbucks, which opened in Aspen in 2002, will seek another local space.

"As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually review and evaluate our locations to ensure a healthy store portfolio, in partnership with our Licensed Partners," the Starbucks spokesperson said.

The next closest Starbucks to Aspen is at the mall in Snowmass Village. There also is one at Willits and another inside the City Market in El Jebel.

The closures also come after the two stores' landlord, Grenko Properties, sold their separate condominiumized units, along with three others in the North of Nell building, for $6.325 million on March 23, according to property records. The buyer was Gondola LLC, which formed March 21, according to the Colorado Secretary of State.

Replacing Aspen Sports and Starbucks in the Gondola Plaza will be a Gorsuch sports and ski retailer, said sources familiar with the agreement. Gorsuch already has multiple locations in Aspen and one in Snowmass Village. Gorsuch employees in Aspen and Vail, where it is based, referred questions to company head Jeff Gorsuch, who was on vacation and unavailable for comment last week.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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