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A slap in the face

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:How can the Aspen Chamber Resort Association represent the business community of Aspen and bring in 225 or more vendors who comprised the arts and crafts fair over this past weekend. This is a slap in the face to every dues-paying member of the ACRA.Last year, I had a discussion with Hana about how unhappy the merchants were with this arrangement and the response from her was that she had many phone calls from businesses in favor of this. They must have been the restaurants and hotels. How happy would the restaurants be had there been food vendors stealing their business?Obviously, ACRA has no problem taking money for membership from the business people in the town and then bringing in 225 vendors to compete with them; the time has come for businesses to leave ACRA.Is it true that ACRA negotiated a better rate from the city for business licenses and rental of the park for these competitors? I would also like to know what kind of cut ACRA received for selling us out. Maybe ACRA can negotiate some better rents for those of us who are here all year and get our property taxes reduced, which most of us pay for in our triple-net leases.If the objective is to bring more people into town, are your ideas so limited that you can only bring in 225 retail vendors to compete with the rest of us? I wonder how many of these vendors are paying sales tax to the city. Based on a conversation with one of the vendors, they were paying $300 per booth, which makes it a total of $67,500 that someone received for this event.Since this is the second year for the arts and crafts show, the vendors must have done well at this event to come back. Maybe the city of Aspen can tell us how much was sold to have such an overwhelming amount of vendors come back again this year. I really wonder how much the city received in sales tax. How does this event benefit the city or the community? Maybe you can enlighten the rest of us, Hana.I really think that you should resign your position with ACRA and be replaced by someone who represents the business owners of Aspen. A good job for you might be to represent the people who come in to do the hotel jewelry, fur, art, rug, estate, antique shows and whatever other shows they might do. They also show up at the busiest times of the year to steal our business and don’t pay yearly rent, or property taxes, or local employees, and maybe they don’t pay sales tax, either. Have you ever considered that local jobs may also be affected by this outflow of money not staying in the local area?A big thank you to Hana and ACRA for ignoring what’s best for the community and businesses in this town.Victor and Ellen TorellGoldmasters of Aspen


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