Eddie Bauer set to close | AspenTimes.com

Eddie Bauer set to close

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

With only five shopping days left before Aspen’s Eddie Bauer store closes its doors, clerks say they’re working to keep sale shelves stocked and customers happy.

And the latter can sometimes be a challenge, said sales associate Charles Engelbert.

“Everybody comes in and they’re all bummed out – they say it’s a rotten thing happening in our town, kind of a landmark day for what’s happening in this place,” he said. “But it’s not that Eddie Bauer is betraying them – it’s just tough to make business ends meet.”

Citing problems such as high rents and lagging store performance, Eddie Bauer’s corporate headquarters confirmed rumors of the local store’s demise in February. Since the store’s 10-year lease expires this month, the company took the chance to evaluate the Aspen branch and opt against renewing the lease.

The store’s staff is now spending its final days hawking remaining merchandise for better-than-average sale prices, Engelbert said.

“It’s not a gigantic blowout sale, but we’re having our ‘corporate event’ – 20 percent off everything,” he said.

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And pretty much everything’s up for grabs. Aside from the usual men’s and women’s wear, shoes, luggage and accessories, the store is letting go of lighting fixtures, wall brackets and shelving. Yes, even those half canoes, usually balanced on end and used as a book shelf or sale rack, are for sale.

When Eddie Bauer’s corporate offices first confirmed rumors of the store’s demise, a spokeswoman for the retail giant claimed that they would seek other opportunities to operate a store in Aspen. Engelbert said he hadn’t heard about the chain’s decision on a possible move.

“I can’t really tell you for sure,” he said. “I know they looked around, but I don’t know to what conclusion they came.”

Meanwhile, the current Aspen store will keep its usual hours of operation – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday – during its final week in town, Engelbert said. After this weekend, Eddie Bauer devotees will be forced to turn to the store’s Web site for future orders.