In downtown Aspen, cashmere is in, candy is out, and running shoes are moving from one block to the next.
It’s all part of the annual retail shuffle, when new businesses move into vacant spaces and existing businesses find larger or smaller ones to suit their needs. Others simply close their doors, but with Aspen’s retail economy on the move — July’s $60.1 million in gross sales was a record for any July — such examples are few and far between.
“I’m not seeing many people wanting to leave their spaces,” said Aspen commercial real estate broker Karen Setterfield, of Setterfield & Bright. “Just about every retailer I talk with says they are happy. I’ve spoken with some retailers to see if they want to get out of their leases, and they said ‘no way.’”
September is typically the most active month for finalizing commercial lease agreements, she said, because retailers need October and November to ready their spaces for the winter ski season.
“Most of the movement is businesses that are expanding, and there are a few new ones coming in,” Setterfield said. “In the next month, lots of leases will be signed. Retail vacancies will become more scarce as we get closer to ski season. This stands to be one of the busiest retail-leasing years we’ve had in a while.”
Here’s a quick rundown of some recent activity in the downtown area, with some bits of information provided by Setterfield and other pieces coming from sources who requested that they not be identified:
• The Sports Center, which sells athletic footwear and accessories, is moving from its longtime location in the Mountain Plaza Building at 434 E. Cooper Ave. to a much larger space at 308 S. Mill St. near the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall. The 1,549 square feet of space the retailer is leaving behind in the Mountain Plaza Building (often referred to as the Bidwell Building) will be subleased later this year until early 2015, but several prospective tenants have shown interest. Meanwhile, the owner of the Mountain Plaza Building has an application on file with the city for a complete redevelopment of the property, expected to occur sometime in the next few years.
• C.C. Filson, a Washington state-based seller of high-end outdoor clothing, will take over the 402 S. Hunter St. space formerly occupied by Lanciani, a seller of travel jewelry. Lanciani had been in the 1,000-square-foot location for about 10 years.
• The clothing shop Theory has closed at 219 S. Galena St. but plans to move into a larger space later this year at the building under construction at the corner of East Hopkins Avenue and South Galena Street, the former site of the Gap store. Moncler, a seller of European-style ski clothing at 432 E. Hyman Ave., will expand, utilizing its current space and the former Theory location.
• Stefan Kaelin, a longtime Aspen purveyor of designer skiwear and clothing for women, recently closed its doors at the North of Nell building but is moving into a larger space at 416 Cooper Ave. near the Red Onion restaurant. A build-out of the new space is underway.
• Aspen Candy Co., also located near the Red Onion, recently departed from its space at 414 E. Cooper Ave. The shop opened in April 2011 and at one point had a satellite operation in Base Village. The building owner is looking to combine the 966-square-foot space in the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall with the one next to it, formerly the temporary home of E.S. Lawrence Gallery, and lease it to a single tenant. “There is a lot of interest in both spaces,” Setterfield said.
• Maison Ullens, a Paris-based fashion label with emphasis on cashmere, opened at the end of August at 445 E. Hopkins Ave., a space that formerly served Wolf Camera.
• Royal Aspen Gallery is leaving its 3,150-square-foot spot at 410 E. Hyman Ave. The co-owner, Peter Calamari, will fold that operation into his other gallery, Royal Street Fine Art, at 205 S. Mill St. The landlord is currently seeking a tenant for the East Hyman space, preferably an art gallery, Setterfield said.
• Red Fox Frozen Yogurt, in a temporary structure at the western edge of the Hyman Avenue mall, will close at the end of the month but has signed a deal with its landlord to return in June.
• Blu Phoenix, a women’s clothing store, and Aspen Blowout, a hair salon, plan to leave their spaces at 520 E. Cooper Ave. near the 520 Grill for the Ajax Mountain Building on South Hunter Street.
• French company Zadig et Voltaire, which in May 2012 announced it would expand beyond its four stores in New York, will soon take the space at 218 S. Mill St. formerly occupied by La Martina Saddlery. Zadig et Voltaire sells men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories.