New remodeled grocery store to open at ABC
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” The Aspen Business Center is about to get a new grocery store ” but it may take awhile.
That’s because the new proprietors first plan to completely gut the old Alpine Mountain Market “down to the studs,” according to Roxanne Lawler, one half of a husband-and-wife team who recently signed a lease for the space. Most recently of Telluride, the Lawlers have lived in Aspen’s West End for nearly a year.
The couple plan to open the Aspen Market and Deli in the space vacated last week by the old market, which closed when proprietor Doug Clark decided to retire after 17 years.
The Lawlers estimate they will be able to open within four to six months.
“Our goal is to open as soon as possible,” Lawler said.
When open, the new market will be a full-service purchase store with basic grocery items, a meat, fish and deli counter, and specialty items and organic products
“It may have an old-market feel with a contemporary twist,” said Lawler, explaining that she and her husband originally started in the food business in San Francisco, and are accustomed to some of the specialty markets in the Italian North Beach area or the Marina District.
Asked if the new store will be more like a City Market, Whole Foods, Clark’s Market, or Safeway, Lawler said she thinks it will be “a combination” and noted that the store will try to cater to all the different income levels in the area.
While the new market won’t offer the plethora of fried foods that made the Alpine Mountain Market a favorite among the construction crowd, the Lawlers do plan to offer pre-made sandwiches, prepared salads, and brown bag lunches that would include chips, a drink, and a cookie or brownie baked by the Lawlers’ high-school and college-age daughters.
“We’ll hopefully grab some of that lunch business that was so dedicated to the Alpine Mountain Market,” said Lawler.
Lawler said she hopes the current economic climate will benefit the new grocery.
“People may be staying home, eating dinner, in lieu of eating out,” Lawler said. She hopes the new market’s specialty products, meats and produce might be attractive to people cutting back on restaurant meals.
“We could be crazy opening a new business right now, but we’re looking long term,” she said.
Though relatively new to the Aspen area, the Lawlers are no strangers to the food retail business. In the 1980s, the two owned several sandwich shops in San Francisco’s financial district, as well as three frozen yogurt outlets.
After relocating to Telluride, the couple eventually decided that the Mountain Village area needed its own grocery store ” and built the Market at Mountain Village, which they still own and operate with another partner.
Simultaneously, the Lawlers remodeled a grocery store in Rangely and opened the White River Market, which Lawler describes as a “more meat and potatoes” grocery store.
While the new grocery store won’t be open for awhile, at least one person is already nervous about it: Anthony Smith, the proprietor of the nearby Mountain Naturals health-food store.
“If [they start] selling organic stuff, there’s nothing I can do. What can I do?” said Smith. “Of course I’m concerned. I’m the kind of person, I’ll just have to deal when the time comes.”
But Lawler stressed that she and her husband aren’t looking to put anyone out of business.
“We really feel there’s enough business for everyone,” she said.
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