Aspen’s Main Street Bakery to close Thursday after 27 years

Erica Robbie | The Aspen Times
Main Street Bakery will close Thursday after 27 years.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

As Main Street Bakery owner Bill Dinsmoor prepares to close the quaint cafe that he and his wife, Jane, opened in the late 1980s, the 70-year-old Aspen local couldn’t help but crack a smile as he reminisced on the past 27 years.

He thought about the familiar local faces they saw every day, sometimes as many as two or three times.

He looked at the relationships he and Jane have formed with the staff, some of whom they’ve watched grow up, get married and have children who also would work at the bakery.

He remembered the little moments, too — like exposing children to the sweet, first taste of a doughnut — and even allowing a few lucky ones to venture behind the counter and select their own.

Actually, “this is a big adventure for a kid,” Dinsmoor said. “It’s fun to see them light up.”

Whether it’s memories like these shared amid the cafe’s cozy atmosphere or the mom-and-pop shop management and employees who already know your name and order, for many Aspen locals, Main Street Bakery’s closing means more than one less place in town to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

Like Marta Arbildo, who has worked at the bakery since 2001 after migrating to the valley from Cajamarca, Peru, with her two small children.

Arbildo said she could barely speak English when she arrived to the states and immediately enrolled in an English as a second language course at Colorado Mountain College.

She also started working as a housekeeper, though with two little ones and no help, the single mother said she desperately needed another job.

Arbildo said she applied for a job at Main Street Bakery, but the manager who interviewed her turned her away because of her poor English.

Determined to make it work, Arbildo returned to the cafe the following day and asked to speak with another manager.

Arbildo convinced this manager to give her a chance, promising she would work hard to quickly improve her English.

“She said, ‘I trust you, and you’re hired,’” Arbildo recalled. “So I started the next day.”

Fifteen years later, Arbildo remains a beloved member of Main Street Bakery, where English has been mistaken as her native tongue.

She also runs a property management business that she started and is financing both of her children’s college educations.

But Arbildo said her success since emigrating to the U.S. would not have been possible without the Dinsmoors, not only for offering her the opportunity to work, but for serving as her mentors and supporting her through some “really, really hard times.”

“I’d never be able to thank (Bill and Jane) enough. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Arbildo said Friday.

“They were not just my bosses; they were my family. They are my family.”

Family and Main Street Bakery also are synonymous for Aspen resident Vernon Twombly, who used to eat breakfast and lunch at the cafe every day.

As Twombly ordered the quiche lorraine, one of his usual dishes, at the cafe Friday afternoon, the 88-year-old said he used to love dining there with his late wife.

“She was just as fond of this place,” he said.

Twombly, who now only eats at Main Street Bakery once a day, blamed his doctor’s dietary restrictions for the decreased visitation.

“Since I’m an antique, I have great knowledge and appreciation of how good this place is,” Twombly said. “The people are what make this place — not the floorboards or the tables — the people.”

Dinsmoor, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, said this age “seemed like a nice landmark time to move on.”

He said that he and Jane started having conversations about “How much longer do we want to do this?” and “How and when this would end?” about four or five years ago.

At first, Dinsmoor said there was definitely some sadness.

But after several months, he said he and Jane feel more comfortable and excited about life after Main Street Bakery, which means more time to spend with family and friends.

“The real joy, for us, is spending more time with our loved ones and dear friends and family,” Dinsmoor said. “Because that’s what we enjoy most.”

He said gardening, fishing, traveling and “exploring brand-new things I’ve never thought of” also are in the cards.