Aspen’s Short Sport to close
ASPEN – Short Sport, Aspen’s sole full-fledged toy store and a local institution for more than three decades, will shut its doors at the end of the summer season.A “for lease” sign will go up in the storefront window today, joining a proliferation of such signs around Aspen’s downtown core as the ongoing recession takes its toll.Legions of youngsters who begin clamoring at the mere sight of the temptations in the Cooper Avenue window display are likely to mourn the shop’s disappearance, as are loyal locals and visitors who’ve turned to the store for a child’s birthday present or Christmas gift over the years.The shop’s customers include parents who remember receiving a toy from the store when they were kids.”I’m going to miss it, too,” said an emotional Laura Wilson, who, with a partner, purchased both the Snowmass Village and Aspen Short Sport stores in 1989. The Snowmass location opened in 1978, and the Aspen store followed a decade later; Wilson, now the sole owner, closed the Snowmass store several years ago and focused on toy and children’s skiwear sales in Aspen. Labor Day weekend will be the store’s final days of business.Wilson’s landlord in the Aspen Square Hotel storefront, M&W Properties, has “been nothing but nice to me,” she said, but costs still go up, and sales have been flat for a couple of years.”There are not nearly the number of tourists who used to be in Aspen,” Wilson said.And, shoppers are simply more frugal.”Toys are an extra,” she said. “Parents who came in and spent hundreds of dollars will now come in and say, ‘We’ll spend 20 dollars.'”Online shopping and airline baggage fees, which discourage visitors from buying a suitcase full of toys or skiwear to take home, have also taken their toll, according to Wilson.There are a few other options for toys in Aspen. Aspen Eclectic, just a few doors down, has a limited selection, and Carl’s Pharmacy has jammed a couple of aisles with toys on its second floor, but Short Sport has specialized in unique items – some coming from other small businesses that manufacture just one type of toy, Wilson said.”It’s really pleasing to me if someone comes here, buys a toy and takes it home, and remembers Aspen,” Wilson email@example.com
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