Liquor store the first business to cozy up to Whole Foods | AspenTimes.com

Liquor store the first business to cozy up to Whole Foods

BASALT – A liquor store is the first business to formally jump at the opportunity to set up shop next to the soon-to-open Whole Foods Market in Basalt.

Willits Wine and Spirits has been purchased, and the new owner will relocate the store this summer to a 4,500-square-foot space adjacent to Whole Foods, representatives of the liquor store told the Basalt Town Council at a recent meeting. Willits Wine and Spirits was one of the first businesses to open in the Willits development. It’s adjacent to the Willits General Store. The liquor store was owned by a limited-liability corporation managed by longtime Basalt businessman Clay Crossland.

Richard Myers bought the liquor store and will reopen it in the new location as Four Dogs Fine Wine and Spirits, according to a notice-of-change of location filed with the town. David Smith, an attorney for Myers, told the Town Council that the goal is for the relocated liquor store to open simultaneously with Whole Foods. The grocery says it will open in mid-August, though a specific date hasn’t been released.

A crew for Whole Foods is working on the interior of the 26,000-square-foot space that anchors the Willits Town Center. The exterior was completed in May. The Whole Foods store will have all departments and items that its other stores carry; it will just be on a smaller scale, according to representatives of the company.

Three different owners of Willits Town Center have envisioned Whole Foods as the vital cog necessary to jumpstart the massive development. It is anticipated that Whole Foods will generate the shopper traffic necessary to make Willits a viable commercial area.

Basalt approved more than 500,000 square feet of commercial and residential space at Willits Town Center. Only a fraction of it has been built. The project is owned by Kansas-based Mariner Real Estate Management, which bought most of the land out of foreclosure and got the dormant project rolling again.

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In addition to the grocery space, the Whole Foods building includes the 4,500-square-foot space for the liquor store to the east and 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the west side of the building. The west-side spaces can be divided up for stores of various sizes. While no tenants for the west side have been formally announced, it’s widely known that a bike shop is taking a prime location.

Smith said Four Dogs Wine and Spirits will nearly double in size once it moves to its new location.

“It’s going to be a pretty large store,” he said.

That means a larger inventory and wider selection of beer, liquor and wine. Smith said Maggie McVoy remains manager of the liquor store. She told the council the liquor store will continue hosting its popular Friday evening wine tasting after the move is complete. The liquor store will operate in its current space until the move.

Meanwhile, the El Jebel City Market is preparing for competition. It rearranged its groceries and spiffed up its produce, deli and prepared-food sections. The two supermarkets are about a quarter-mile apart.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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