City Market: Lost in the midvalley?
EL JEBEL Is it El Jebel or is it Basalt? Or is it an identity crisis for the midvalley City Market?The supermarket historically has referred to itself as the “El Jebel City Market,” but signs indicate that’s about to change. Advertising fliers mailed to customers in mid-June abruptly switched reference to the location from El Jebel to 250 East Valley Road, Basalt.Granted, it’s a confusing situation. The store is within the town of Basalt’s sprawling boundaries. However, the store has a Carbondale telephone number and a Carbondale postal address (as do most businesses and residences in El Jebel).To really foul the issue, its geographic area is generally considered El Jebel. All businesses in the Orchard Plaza commercial center that surrounds City Market have Carbondale addresses and telephone numbers even though they are in Basalt.City Market has referred to the midvalley store as the El Jebel City Market since it opened in the mid-1990s. Basalt annexed the site in 1995, and the store instantly became the town’s single-largest source of sales tax revenue. Some Basalt officials, particularly Mayor Leroy Duroux, have made no secret that they want the supermarket to be identified as located in Basalt. Their wishes appear to have influenced City Market officials.When the Town Council reviewed the application for City Market’s 9,000-square-foot expansion last fall, the land-use approval document initially included a requirement that the store identify itself as being in Basalt.A condition of City Market’s land-use approval originally said, “In all advertisements and signage, the applicant shall reflect that the City Market Store is located within the Town of Basalt instead of El Jebel.”Duroux said the condition for the name change was placed in the original approval document at his request. He said he felt the name should reflect the supermarket’s location in Basalt.Councilman Glenn Rappaport said he objected to the condition because it seemed “Draconian.””If they want to call themselves El Jebel, they can call themselves El Jebel,” Rappaport said. “I think it’s heavy-handed for us to tell them to call themselves one or another.”It should be up to their marketing department,” Rappaport concluded.The council majority ultimately agreed with Rappaport. The final approval document for the City Market expansion was issued on Nov. 28, 2006, without the requirement for the name change.That seemed to be the end of the issue – until City Market’s grand reopening in late May.Duroux said he attended the event with Basalt Town Manager Bill Efting, and City Market’s regional manager approached them. The corporate official asked them if they would prefer to see the store refer to itself as Basalt rather than El Jebel. The Basalt officials responded they would, and the grocery official volunteered to see what could be done, according to Duroux and Efting.In an advertising flier touting prices as of June 13, store officials changed the description from El Jebel to Basalt.”That’s a good thing, because it is what it is,” Duroux said. Associating City Market and the surrounding Orchard Plaza commercial area with Basalt could help tie the two sides of the town together, he said.Alas, City Market’s internal transition isn’t quite complete. The voicemail at the midvalley store still tells callers, “Thank you for calling your El Jebel City Market.”A City Market spokesman didn’t return a telephone message seeking comment on the reasons for the name change.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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