Recession prompts Little Bear to move to Carbondale
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – When Harvey and Nanci Gilmore of Little Bear Antiques leased an 8,000-square-foot space at the Cattle Creek Center south of Glenwood Springs four years ago, they thought that having 30,000 cars a day whiz by the door would guarantee good business.
What they did not count on was the sudden onset of what is now called “The Great Recession”, beginning in 2008, and the related drop in traffic through their door.
“The marketplace, for everything, is not what it used to be two years ago. I think we all know that,” Harvey declared.
Even after cutting their retail space in half a year ago – dropping to 4,000 square feet as a way of cutting costs – the couple has decided that relocation is the only cure for what ails their business.
“Our landlords are great,” Harvey emphasized, speaking of Rudd Construction, the owner of the Cattle Creek Center where his store has been operating.
“They’ve always been good to me,” he said, including Rudd’s willingness to accommodate the downsizing.
Once the Gilmores concluded something more drastic was needed to stay in business, Harvey said, the Rudds agreed with no qualms.
And so it is that the antiques, arts and more store, that started in Basalt, moved to Aspen and was most recently in Glenwood Springs, will now be in Carbondale.
The store will open at the Sopris Shopping Center on Highway 133, as of March 29.
“We’re trying to adapt to changing realities,” Harvey said of his peripatetic retail outlet. “I think when my wife and I ever saw an opportunity to make things easier for the customer, better for the customer, more convenient for the customer, sometimes by reducing our costs … it made sense, we would move.”
The two have been working on the move slowly, holding a month-long moving sale, not accepting consignments and getting set to transport what’s left this weekend.
Asked to characterize this latest move, Gilmore thought a moment and said, “I’m gettin’ good at it. We’ve done it several times. We don’t do it just for the hell of it, but when there’s an opportunity to make it better, to economize, to be more a part of a community, like Carbondale, I think that’s very important.”
He expressed the hope that being located within the city limits will increase the foot traffic, especially in the form of shared traffic with such nearby businesses as City Market, several restaurants, 7-11, a liquor store and others.
The Gilmores will be concentrating more on consignment goods, at least at first.
“Taking more consignments … but still being very conscious of the quality of the piece, is something we want to get more into,” Harvey explained, adding that he did not think the Carbondale consignment market is overloaded despite the presence of several shops within town limits.
The new store, he said, will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.
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