Former Aspen mayor ‘optimistic’ about Explore Booksellers effort | AspenTimes.com

Former Aspen mayor ‘optimistic’ about Explore Booksellers effort

Staff report

A group working to purchase and preserve Explore Booksellers in Aspen has started a crowdfunding effort and received a positive level of response, according to Bill Stirling, one of its leaders.

More than 300 people have responded to emails and fliers seeking help, he said. They launched a grassroots effort throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to collect donations, however small.

"I am optimistic," Stirling said of the effort.

He declined to say if the group has received a significant financial pledge from one or more donors. Some of the people involved want to keep a low profile, he said.

Stirling is a former Aspen mayor who was married to Explore founder and longtime operator Katherine Thalberg, who died in 2006. He and others on the committee believe it is vital to Aspen's character to continue operating Explore.

Stirling said the committee he is working with is purposely being cautious about what information it releases about the effort at this point but might be able to divulge more by the end of the year.

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"We've been trying to fly below the radar and not build false expectations," he said.

Sam and Cheryl Wyly put Explore on the market in June for $6.5 million. They bought the historic property on Main Street and the inventory of books and other merchandise for $4.4 million in 2007.