Business Briefs |

Business Briefs

Hotel manager accepts new positionMILL VALLEY, Calif. Eric Calderon, the former general manager of Aspen’s Little Nell hotel, recently resigned his position with Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts for a different professional challenge.Calderon accepted the position of vice president of operations with Auberge Resorts and soon will move to Mill Valley, Calif.Calderon was the only general manager of The Little Nell from its opening in 1988 until he resigned in November. The Little Nell was highly acclaimed for exemplary service throughout his tenure. He oversaw several upscale properties as chief operating officer for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts.In his new position, Calderon will be based in San Francisco and oversee all Auberge hotels. He said the company is best-known for the Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas and the Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.”I am excited to be part if their growing team,” he said.

Wine cellar earns magazine kudosBASALT Travel + Leisure Golf magazine named the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt among America’s six top private club wine cellars in its March issue.According to the magazine: “Although the Jack Nicklaus course is a high-altitude ball cracker, most everything at the Fork is ‘secondary to making the wine taste great,’ says Steve Humble, the club’s wine director. Humble’s tight relations with noted winemakers gives him access to true rarities like boutique wines from Sine Qua Non in Ventura, California, and Spanish jaw-droppers from Ribera del Duero. The club hosts regular wine dinners at which superstar vintners such as Robert Foley uncork bottles ‘you normally only find on the gray market,’ Humble says.”Augusta National, Bel-Air Country Club, Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Calif. (which Roaring Fork Club partners), Naples National Golf Club and the Vintage Club join the Roaring Fork Club on the list.For information on this the Roaring Fork Club, contact 927-9000 or visit

Smoke fires up the barbecueEL JEBEL “The most anticipated restaurant opening in the history of Willits,” as the restaurant says in good humor, is about to happen.Smoke Modern Barbecue opens to the public today, co-owner Jamie Theriot said Thursday. It is the first of a handful of restaurants expected to open this year in the Triangle Lofts, the first building completed in the core of Willits Town Center, just upvalley from Orchard Plaza in El Jebel.The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Theriot said Smoke will offer “home-away-from-home hospitality.” The menu features barbecue and more, with Louisiana-inspired appetizers, soups, tossed salads and barbecue like pulled pork. For dinner, the menu will include such items as grass-fed steaks from the Milagro Ranch in Missouri Heights.The street-level restaurant has a 12-seat bar where customers can come in for a drink or order food. Theriot said it will also be welcoming to families. Smoke, he said, will be “neighborhood casual” rather than upscale.”We don’t want to be perceived as an Aspen restaurant that opened downvalley,” Theriot said.Theriot is an owner/manager who will be involved in all aspects of the operations. Damon Clifford will manage the dining room. Bryan Conard will manage the kitchen. Their wives will be involved in operations, giving it a family-run feel that Theriot, a Louisiana native, said is common in the South.

Lube joint out, new one comingEL JEBEL The Express Lube of El Jebel closed when its lease expired earlier this month, but the building’s owners intend to open a new lube joint after completing the cleanup and repairs necessitated by a January flood of the structure.But midvalley residents will have to wait another month, and probably more, before a lube service, under new owners, is available for quick oil changes and the like, one of the property’s owners said Thursday.The former operation’s lease was not renewed after a basement heater was apparently turned off during a January cold snap, resulting in broken pipes that dumped more than 3 feet of water in the lower level of the building, where the subgrade bays are.Dryers from Ecos, a Carbondale clean-up firm, are still drying out the oil tanks in the building, located next to the Wendy’s/Shell station.While the cleanup continues, and the owners await the arrival of new equipment, “Out of Business” remains on the glass of the garage bay windows.

Glenwood Internet company earns honorGLENWOOD SPRINGS Blizzard Internet Marketing Inc. of Glenwood Springs recently ranked 27th in a list of the top 30 organic search engine optimization firms in the ranked the top 30 SEO companies from more than 10,000 companies worldwide. bases the rankings on categories including competitive advantage, keyword research and response to client problems. Calculations were on a monthly basis; February marked the second month in a row that Blizzard achieved the 27th spot.Trent and Susan Blizzard founded the company in 1997. It has more than 60 employees in its Glenwood Springs office, and more than 1,500 national and international clients, with a customer base consisting mainly of independently owned hotels, motels, vacation rentals, resorts, country inns, and bed and breakfasts.Colorado Biz Magazine also recently ranked Blizzard 38th among its top 50 family-owned companies in Colorado for 2006.For more information about Blizzard Internet Marketing, visit

Local advisor ranks high in state listASPEN Merrill Lynch announced recently that Donna Di Ianni, first vice president of investments and senior financial advisor in the Aspen office of Merrill Lynch, earned a place among “Colorado’s Top 20 Wealth Advisors.”R.J. Shook, one of the most respected third-party financial evaluators in the country, compiled the list. Shook applied the same criteria and methodology that the Baron’s report uses. The list appears in the Feb. 23 issue of the Denver Business Journal.Di Ianni is the only financial advisor on the list not based in the Denver area. She previously was in the esteemed Winner’s Circle list of the “Top Ranked Advisors in America.”Di Ianni has been with Merrill Lynch for more than 24 years. In 1999, she relocated to Colorado to establish Merrill Lynch’s Aspen office. She provides comprehensive financial planning advice, asset allocation consulting and wealth preservation strategies to individual investors and families. She also manages investments and advises on endowments and capital campaigns for many prominent Aspen nonprofits.

Little Ajax takes merit awardASPEN Peter Gluck and Partners received a 2007 “Merit Award” for Architecture, from the New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the Little Ajax project.The affordable housing project was built with a $3.9 million subsidy from the city of Aspen, and partially through a bargain sale of a conservation easement the Aspen Valley Land Trust administered.The building includes 14 family-sized units, with 13 three-bedrooms, one two-bedroom, 24 parking spaces and two public trail easements. Construction took place over 15 months at a reasonable cost. Fourteen families moved into the complex in October.Multiple green strategies, including an efficient centralized mechanical system, and a super insulated building complement such low-impact finishes as bamboo floors, low VOC paints and recycled content carpeting. These resulted in a building that exceeded Aspen’s Sustainability code.

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