Jill’s Carpets closes historic Aspen Main Street shop
June 23, 2011
ASPEN – After nearly a quarter-century of doing business in Aspen, Jill’s Carpets has closed up its historic Main Street shop and will operate solely in the midvalley.
“It was time,” said Jill Westerlind, a Roaring Fork Valley resident since 1954 who has owned the locally based floor-covering shop with her husband Don for 24 years. “It was time to stop doing business in Aspen, and time to focus on our business in the midvalley.”
In fact, Westerlind said the reason she decided to quit doing business in Aspen had much to do with Aspen itself.
“It’s become retail unfriendly,” she said, noting that parking was probably the No. 1 factor in her decision. “My customers could not find a place to park, and if they did, they had to pay to park. Or they had been sitting in traffic forever getting here. The complaints were constant.”
These negatives, coupled with personal issues like her son leaving the family business to move out of state and her husband’s recent shoulder surgery, helped drive her decision to close up shop.
“All of this made me realize I can’t do business by myself in Aspen,” said Westerlind, who lives just two miles from Jill’s Carpets’ midvalley location. “It was time to simplify things.”
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Fortunately for the Westerlinds, the couple had opened a second shop – in the Midvalley Design Center – 10 years ago, knowing the time would come when the business would need to be consolidated. This summer, the time was right, with Saturday as the last day of business in Aspen.
“Our business has always been great down here,” she said of the midvalley shop. “When I told my clients we were closing in Aspen, they said they would follow me – and they have.”
The fate of the historic building, at 315 E. Main St., remains unknown.
According to the Aspen Historical Society, the house first showed up on the 1893 Aspen directory as belonging to a barber named David Kunz; it subsequently changed hands several times. Westerlind said she had long leased the space from the Miner’s Building, which is owned by Carl Bergman. Bergman is out of town through July 1 and could not be reached for comment, but city officials know of no immediate plans for the space.
“It is an Aspen landmark. Any changes to the outside [except for paint] or additions to the building would require approval,” Amy Guthrie, historic preservation officer with the city, wrote in an email to The Aspen Times. “I haven’t been contacted with any proposals for new tenants or anything.”
For her part, Westerlind said that while it was a good run in Aspen, she will not miss doing business in Aspen.
“It’s been getting harder and harder to stay in business in Aspen, and harder and harder to shop in Aspen,” she said. “And that’s really the bottom line.”