Forced out: Seven Glenwood shops must vacate to make way for new bank
Cheryl Guay has done business in downtown Glenwood Springs for 35 years, with the last 25 being at her current Jewels & Gems shop at 914 Grand Ave.
However, come Dec. 31, Guay must vacate and relocate her livelihood, as ANB Bank plans to demolish the entire building on the east side of Grand Avenue, from KC’s Wing House & Sports Bar to the Glenwood Escape Room, to make way for a new bank building.
All together, seven small businesses in that 900 block location must vacate, including KC’s Wing House, Tesseract Comics & Games, Jewels & Gems, Bellini’s Fashion, CPA Services Pro, Inc., Glenwood Spa N Nails and Glenwood Escape Room.
“Glenwood Springs, I don’t know if we have a vision of what’s going on,” Guay said. “It’s a good idea, I found out, that we need to see where Glenwood Springs is going.
“… If it’s going to be banks and real estate, or if it’s going to be local businesses. And, if we want to change it, it’s the people that live here that have to change it.”
It’s a building that, at least portions of, were built in 1917, according to Garfield County Assessor records.
When Bellini’s Fashion Owner Deb Burkholder received a letter dated Oct. 25 that stated, “We are writing to inform you that ownership of 910 Grand Ave has been transferred to ANB Bank, as of October 24, 2018,” the small business owner did not think much of it.
On Oct. 30, building tenants received an additional letter stating, “To reiterate, your current lease and payment terms will remain in full force and effect and your security deposit has been transferred to the new owner/manager:” ANB Bank.
Burkholder — just a few years prior — had spent approximately $60,000 completing a tenant finish consisting of electrical and plumbing work just to get her small fashion store up and running again after it relocated from the Hotel Colorado.
“My first thought was, ‘OK, we’re paying rent to the bank because maybe whoever got the building is getting their loan through the bank,” Burkholder said of her thought process, until she was not offered a new lease.
“We all spent a lot of money going in there, because we were basically told it will never change, everything is good, you’re always going to be able to be here and the rent is always going to be reasonable.”
Burkholder served as a flight nurse for 30 years before opening Bellini’s Fashion 10 years ago.
“I walk in there … and I just get so sad. It’s like 10 years of my life was just for nothing,” Burkholder explained. “There’s no guarantee if you don’t own your building, but it makes Glenwood Springs feel like a very unstable market for mom and pop (shops).”
Last month, Book Train announced that, after four decades in business, it too had lost its lease in the 700 block of Grand. On April 26, the mom and pop bookshop officially closed its doors.
Silver Bead & Yarn Shop owner Laura Speck, whose storefront looks across Grand Avenue at Jewels and Gems and Bellini’s Fashion, was not looking forward to another bank lining the city’s thoroughfare.
“I think of (Cheryl) as the matriarch of our downtown, because she’s been here for so long,” Speck said. “She remembers things when times were really good and when they were really challenging and she’s withstood all of them.
“Never in a million years do you think you are going to possibly lose your business and your whole livelihood because a whole building is going to get taken out from under you.”
In a statement released Monday, ANB Bank confirmed that, following approval from the city of its new two-story building’s design, it would in fact demolish the current structure in 2020.
“We are currently working with the city of Glenwood Springs on developing the design, and at the end of 2020 we plan to have an ANB Bank occupy the first floor of the building with space for tenants on the second floor,” the statement read.
“We recognize that this process may be disruptive to the existing tenants, many of which are on month-to-month leases,” the statement continued. “As a result, we have been actively working and communicating with all building tenants since we purchased the building in 2018.”
Glenwood Spa N Nails, one of the building’s seven tenants that must vacate following Dec. 31, also released a statement.
“I’d like to contribute the fact that their plans of placing a branch here is disruptive to the business owners and ultimately Glenwood. …Also, the tenants each spent an incredible amount of money to set up their units,” according to the statement explained.
“Hundreds of tourists stroll downtown each day looking for things to do, and with a bank here the activities are reduced. This building takes up most of the block. In the end, their actions are incredibly selfish.”
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Social media sites exploded with activity on Monday night as locals posted pictures of a mushroom cloud formation visible from most of Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties.