¿Que mas? The Cantina up for sale | AspenTimes.com

¿Que mas? The Cantina up for sale

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Cantina – literally, a cornerstone of downtown Aspen for over a decade – is up for sale, a local real estate broker reports.

However, the popular restaurant and bar hasn’t fallen victim to the usual complaints of high rents and demanding landlords, says Ruth Kruger, a commercial broker with The Fleisher Company. Rather, owner Joe Cosniac is ready for a change, Kruger says.

“Frequently, when people are ready to sell their business, it’s because they’re ready to retire, not because they didn’t last the summer,” Kruger said.

Cosniac, a part-time Aspen resident, wants to turn his attention to other businesses in his home state of Texas, Kruger said.

“He has three restaurants in San Antonio. He’s just changing his focus,” she said.

Perched on the corner of Main and Mill streets for over 12 years, The Cantina just hit the market for $975,000.

Currently, The Fleisher Company is marketing the restaurant “as is.” Perspective buyers will likely see The Cantina as a popular Aspen restaurant with a strong local clientele, Kruger said.

“Part of the beauty of buying The Cantina is getting one of the best locations in town,” she said. “It’s a high-profile location, at a stoplight where almost everyone in a car is going to be driving, in a beautiful building. It looks good, it feels good, it tastes good – it’s an inviting place.”

Still, new owners could change the restaurant as they see fit, tweaking the menu and atmosphere in order to take advantage of a prime, Main Street location.

“There are many, many motivations for buying the business – it’s truly up to the owner,” Kruger said. “Often, buyers are buying the business and its fixed assets: furnitures, fixtures and equipment, inventory. Sometimes they’re buying the name and goodwill; sometimes they’re buying the outstanding location; sometimes they’re buying the lease. There could be any type of scenario.”

Kruger recalls the recent sales of two local restaurants, the Steak Pit and Mirabella. When the 42-year-old Steak Pit was purchased last year by Bob and Cindy Glowacki of Carbondale, the couple resisted the temptation to “mess with success.” On the other hand, celebrated chef Charles Dale bought Mirabella in 2000 to create his French bistro, Rustique.

“It’s strictly up to the purchaser,” Kruger said.

The Fleisher Company currently represents a number of local businesses for sale by owner – including the Worldlink Cafe at Aspen Highlands and downtown doggie salon Barking Beauties. Like The Cantina, both businesses are successful, meaning neither owner is being forced out, Kruger said.

And that fact gives the owners much more choice when it comes to selecting a buyer.

Barking Beauties owner Jon Anderson put his business on the market this spring in order to return to the aviation industry. “My former career is begging me back to it,” Anderson said Thursday. “Aviation is an addiction – it’s as much of a passion for me as animals.”

But he’s willing to wait for a buyer who will make his current customers happy.

Anderson and his wife bought the “beauty parlor” four years ago, and run the business much like its previous owners. There’s little reason to change formats, Anderson said – or worse, turn the space in the rent-controlled building over to another high-end retailer.

“In its present configuration, the business supports my family with me working part time,” Anderson said.

“I’ve promised all my customers that I wouldn’t sell out to the highest bidder – that I’d find someone with my attitude and passion for animals,” he said. “That might make the process longer, but I’m not locking my doors and walking away from it.”

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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