Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory’s Aspen store closes doors after 36 years |

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory’s Aspen store closes doors after 36 years

Signs at the Aspen Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory announced the store's closing over the weekend. The shop in Aspen, which opened in 1982, was one of the Durango-based company's first locations. It will be replaced by a Starbucks.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

After 36 years in Aspen, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory closed its doors over the weekend because its lease is not being renewed and a Starbucks coffee shop is moving in.

A sign posted at the shop on Cooper Avenue mall said Saturday was the chocolate store’s last day because of low inventory. The shop was trying to stay open through the weekend.

The note read, in part: “It has been our honor and privilege to serve you for the last 36 years. … We will miss you, Aspen!”

Last month, chief operating officer of the Durango-based company Bryan Merryman told The Aspen Times they received a letter saying their lease would not be renewed at the Aspen store.

“We were contacted by the landlord in a written letter that said they were regretfully not renewing our lease, and that they’d given it tremendous amount of thought and that it would be in the best interest of the Aspen community if they booted out Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and put in another Starbucks, despite the fact that we have been in Aspen since 1982,” Merryman said.

The Snowmass location also is expected to close because the Aspen store was making and delivering products to the Snowmass store, he said.

A message left Monday morning at the company’s headquarter in Durango was not immediately returned.

Merryman said in February the landlords, Valley Investments LLC, offered a different location but it would have cost too much. He said they were paying about $9,000 per month in rent in Aspen.

The Aspen and Snowmass locations were not big money-makers but were important to the company’s history and brand.

“We’re a Colorado company and Aspen was one of our first markets,” he said, noting that Aspen “was fantastic for our brand.”

The Starbucks operators have signed a lease and are expected to open in early summer.

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