Fighting for the Tailwind

Dear Editor:I am a 17-year resident of Pitkin County, and have been the owner and operator of the Tailwind Deli at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport since 2001.Pitkin County is my landlord. Pitkin County has decided to replace my established locally owned business with another out-of-state, multimillion-dollar corporation. This replacement of unique local business by giant corporate businesses that are found everywhere is the loss of Aspens’ soul. Our representatives in local government are expected by all residents of Pitkin County to defend locally owned businesses when reasonably possible.As my landlord, the county has the right and the duty to examine the criteria used to make this decision. I am a small locally owned and operated company, NGSI is huge and global! I live here year round; NGSI lives in Texas.These criteria did not take into account the fact that Tailwind Deli is a locally based, locally owned, locally operated business. They did not take into account that I had run the business successfully for five years. They did not take into account that Tailwind Deli took on the challenge of a risky enterprise at the request of the county, to wit:In October 2001, the concession was being run by the county itself (with the county commissioners named on the liquor license!) after a series of failed food businesses in the location. After Sept. 11, 2001, no one wanted to get into the airport business, but we were promised the support of the county and the airport administration. Tailwind created a viable business in a difficult time and a difficult space, and now the airport management has seen fit to take that away from me, using an RFP cut-and-pasted from an airport in Wisconsin.I encourage you to review both RFPs presented to the selection committee and re-review the evaluation criteria. The RFP avoided any criteria that gave weight to local participation. How does the county intend on preserving any local culture if it doesn’t make concessions to help the local businessman?My presentation included a brand new menu designed by my best friend, partner and former Aspen local – James Mazzio, Food and Wine Magazine’s best new chef. We always listen to the locals at Tailwind. When something is wrong, we fix it. The menu has already undergone its third evolution making ready for it’s fourth. If people don’t like the something, we change it. WE LISTEN. WE REACT. That’s what makes it local.I’m one guy that owns a small business that has represented Aspen and the airport well for five years. Tailwind Deli is my livelihood and my life’s work. Please help me keep my business.Douglas ClaytonAspen