Q&A: Tasters looking for slice of Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Q&A: Tasters looking for slice of Aspen

Editors note: Inside Business, published Tuesdays in The Aspen Times, posed some questions to Stacy Forster, owner of Tasters in Snowmass. Forster is opening a second location in the old Grill Next Door location across from Rio Grande Park in Aspen.Q: How long has Tasters been in Snowmass?A: Tasters has been in business since June 2001.Q: Give our readers some background on you, your family and your business.A: I moved to Aspen from Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in August of 1986 then to Snowmass in February of 1988. My restaurant experience comes from working in a number of different restaurants since I was 15, though I must admit before opening Tasters I had no idea how demanding the restaurant business can be. I met my wife Mita in 1995. She has lived here in Snowmass Village for most of her life. We love this community and the lifestyle. We both enjoy a number of outdoor activities, including skiing, mountain biking and hiking. We have three great kids Sydney, 7, Alexandra Alie, 5, and Charlie, 4 all skiers so far, though Charlie is showing snowboarding tendencies. We feel very blessed to be able to raise our children in the Roaring Fork Valley.Q: What does the future hold for you once the Snowmass Center is remodeled? Do you have a lease into the future?A: We do plan to return to the Snowmass Center when the renovation is complete. We currently are in negotiations with Related WestPac to secure a lease in the new Center.Q: You recently signed a lease for the old Grill Next Door in Aspen. When do you plan to open? How long is the lease in Aspen?A: We hope to open in Aspen by early March. Our lease extends to April of 2012, though we hope to be in that space for many years.Q: Whats your recipe for success?A: Suit up, show up, give 100 percent, take pride in your work and when you make a mistake fix it. The one thing that I have found true in my experience as a business owner is that if you show up everyday and refuse to give up no matter how bad things might seem, you somehow find a way to make things work. Q: What will be the offerings of the new Aspen restaurant will it be similar to what you have in Snowmass?A: Our menu will be virtually the same in Aspen as it is in Snowmass.Q: How much larger is the Aspen location than Snowmass?A: Our Aspen Location actually is close to the same size as the Snowmass shop.Q: With Tasters entering the Aspen marketplace, you will be competing with a few other establishments. Any thoughts on the pizza wars on the horizon in Aspen? Is there one in Snowmass?A: I would say our biggest competition will be with New York Pizza and Dominos, as our products and price points are similar. I also would say that from my perspective there is plenty to go around. There are two other pizza shops in Snowmass Goodfellows Pizza and Pastores Taste of Philly. I hardly would call it war between us. Dave and Elsie from Goodfellows, as well as Robbie from Taste of Philly, have helped me out many times when Ive run out of things. I think friendly competition helps maintain good quality, which is good for business and for the community as well.Q: What pizza do you eat other than your own?A: I eat Goodfellows Pizza, Atlas in El Jebel and White House in Carbondale.Q: What are the different challenges you face in Snowmass versus Aspen?A: Our greatest challenge in Aspen will be getting to know that market and adjusting to the differences from Snowmass. I honestly dont know how different they will be. Aspen has more year-round residents, which provide greater sales in the shoulder months. But with the construction of Base Village, there hasnt been much of an offseason for our Snowmass shop for the last year and a half.Q: How do the rent prices differ?A: Rents tend to be higher in Aspen than in Snowmass Village. The space we will be operating from in Aspen is owned by the city of Aspen so our rent is more reasonable than most, which is helpful in keeping our prices affordable.Q: What kind of profit margins do restaurants experience in this market?A: I honestly dont know how profitable other restaurants are. We show about a 12 to 15 percent profit margin.Q: Whats your biggest overhead cost?A: My biggest costs are food and labor, which is typical of most restaurants.

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