Doing the downtown shuffle
Aspen’s offseason shuffle is under way. And this year’s edition features some first-timers to the local marketplace, a few business relocations and the addition of a successful downvalley restaurant.Zocalito Latin Bistro, a Carbondale dining staple for the past four years, is opening an Aspen location in the Hyman Avenue mall space being vacated by Takah Sushi. (Takah is moving into a larger space at the corner of Mill and Cooper, where The Grottos most recently was; owner Casey Coffman plans on opening the completely renovated restaurant in early December.) Zocalito owner Michael Beary said it’s a location that’s “hard to kick in the pants.””It was just a timing thing with that space and opening the second location,” Beary said. The restaurant serves Latin-influenced food from Central America and South America as well as Spain.”Michael Beary has been in the restaurant business for a long time – he was the executive chef for Cache Cache for eight years, and he’s going to bring his South American fare to Aspen, which has been very successful in Carbondale,” said the Fleisher Company’s Ruth Krueger, the broker for the deal. The move is pending approval from the Aspen Liquor Licensing Authority on Tuesday.In other offseason business moves, Blue Maize on Hunter Street is expanding to the neighboring space, above McStorlie’s Pub, to accommodate for more seating. Rumors that the Irish pub is closing are unfounded, said McStorlie’s owner Ben Niiler, adding they may have been fueled by the pub closing for two days last weekend.Longtime Aspen hair salon Hooker’s has closed and reopened at 300 S. Spring St. as M Salon. The Ultimate Salon, offering manicures and pedicures, has opened in Hooker’s former space above the old Aspen Drug.Les Chefs d’ Aspen has vacated its corner at Cooper Avenue and Hunter Street, with plans to reopen on the corner of Mill Street and Hopkins Avenue in the former Wolf Camera space. Wolf Camera is moving across Hopkins to the storefront that formerly housed Fitigues. Fitigues’ corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., didn’t return a call for comment on why it closed its Aspen boutique. Les Chefs’ former space will be filled by Lush, a large international company that sells handmade cosmetics and soaps. Just up the block from Lush, Polo has vacated its space on Durant and will reopen this winter in the former Banana Republic space at the corner of Galena Street and Cooper Avenue. A new local clothing retailer, Safari Fine Clothing, is moving into a portion of Polo’s old location.On the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall, Shae Singer’s Living The Dog’s Life in Aspen has left its spot and Zélé Music Café is moving out as well. The building’s owner, Stefan Kaelin, said he got an offer he couldn’t refuse and sold the spaces to businessman Robert Kohlhepp from Cincinnati, Ohio, last month.Singer is sad to see her specialty shop for dogs go, but is now selling her pet-related products out of her Sashae Floral Arts and Gifts next to Clark’s Market. She said she couldn’t afford the rent on the Cooper Avenue space without having a subleasee in the rear of the store; with the building for sale, no one was interested in leasing that space.”It was a fabulous stores, and it kept with all the changes in town to make Aspen fun, vital and exciting,” Singer said. “But the fact that it had to close because of rent is just another sign of our changing times.”Kaelin said he and Singer both knew the risk she was taking when she agreed to that location almost two years ago. He said Zélé’s concept seemed like a good one, but clearly couldn’t work.”They based their possible success on the fact that Sam Goody’s did a lot of business there before, and they thought they could pick up some of that business,” he said. “Combined with a cafe, in my mind that was a good idea, but it just didn’t seem to work.”Krueger said Kaelin will lease the Living the Dog’s Life location back from the new owner to open a vintage ski shop, selling posters and other ski memorabilia.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Planning efforts to bring the controversial gray wolf back to parts of Colorado’s Western Slope are officially getting underway.