Aspen Saturday Market’s expansion wins nod
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Expanding the Aspen Saturday Market to a third block of vendors won a unanimous nod from the City Council Monday after two hours of mostly favorable input from retailers, market vendors and entrepreneurs who’d like a space in the downtown market.
Mayor Mick Ireland stressed that this summer’s experiment should be considered a trial run to make sure extending the market onto the 500 block of Hyman Avenue doesn’t harm businesses along that stretch, particularly Little Annie’s Eating House.
“I think Little Annie’s is an important local institution, and not just because I can afford to eat there,” Ireland said.
Several individuals representing Hyman Avenue property owner Ed Dingilian voiced the only objections to the expansion, given the potential impacts to a parking lot, the Benton Building and Little Annie’s – all properties he owns.
The city’s Commercial Core and Lodging Commission, which oversees the market, has offered Little Annie’s the opportunity to either take part in the market, or have a clear space in front of the restaurant so as not to impede access. Council members said they’ll work with Don Lemos, who runs the parking lot, to make sure the clients who lease spaces there have access to those spots on Saturdays. They might not get to park in their usual, assigned spaces, though, Ireland said.
Dingilian’s representatives urged the council to consider extending the market up another block of South Hunter Street, toward Aspen Mountain, rather than rounding it onto Hyman Avenue. Messing with the parking lot access is “more than a minor inconvenience,” said attorney Garret Brandt.
The CCLC advocated a U-shaped market that feeds onto the Hyman Avenue mall and doesn’t require shoppers to cross a busy intersection at Hyman, as they would if the market continued up Hunter Street.
Little Annie’s, at mid-block on Hyman, doesn’t need additional hurdles while it battles a tough economy, said accountant Mike Otte, representing the restaurant. Market patrons may stream past the restaurant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll want to come in for a sit-down dining experience, he said.
The restaurant’s configuration doesn’t lend itself to setting up outdoor dining on Saturdays, though that space has been proffered, Otte added.
“If this is what you’re going to do, we’ll roll with the punch,” he said.
“I think Little Annie’s is missing an opportunity,” said market vendor Jim Pomeroy, who co-owns Aspen Brownie Works. “I’ve always said if somebody set up a grill and starting cooking burgers out there, they’d be printing their own money.”
The owners of Isberian Rug Co. on Hyman had concerns about the market out front of the store, but will be trying their own booth on Saturdays this summer, said Heather Isberian.
“We’re willing to try it out,” she said.
Cheese Shop owner Michele Kiley said she specifically wanted a store space adjacent to the existing market because it’s good for business.
“That was a big draw for us,” she said.
The market expansion will allow roughly 10 more booths, allowing more produce and arts and crafts. The council expressed support for a second booth to be rotated among nonprofits and a second booth that can be rotated among local retailers. There is currently a waiting list of vendors who want to participate at the market, the council was told.
“I want to encourage the expansion – I don’t care what direction it goes,” said a glass artist hoping to secure a booth spot at the market.
The market runs Saturdays from mid-June to mid-October.
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