Romero Group to roll out $20 voucher program on Snowmass Mall | AspenTimes.com
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Romero Group to roll out $20 voucher program on Snowmass Mall

PARTICIPATING MALL BUSINESSES

Below is a list of the Snowmass Mall businesses participating in the $20 voucher program:

• 81615 T-Shirt and Gift

• Big Hoss Grill

• Blazing Adventures

• Christy Sports

• Daly Bottle Shop

• Foot Foundation

• Four Mountain Sports

• Fuel

• Gene Taylor’s Sports

• Gorsuch

• Grub Thai

• High Q

• IL Poggio

• Local Color

• New Belgium Ranger Station

• Pastore’s Taste of Philly

• Sidewinder Sports

• Slow Groovin’ BBQ

• Snowmass T-Shirt Co.

• Snowmass Trading Co.

• Strafe

• Sunglass Panache

• Surefoot

• The Stew Pot

• Zane’s Tavern

Openings and hours may vary by location. Vouchers are good through July 31.

By the end of this week, roughly 2,400 Snowmass area residents could have a free $20 voucher in their mailboxes to spend on the Snowmass Mall. That’s the plan according to Dwayne Romero of the Romero Group, which is sending out the vouchers to all Snowmass Village PO Box addresses, Woody Creek addresses and Aspen Village addresses as a way to help “supercharge” business on the mall and combat the negative economic impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to help energize and support the idea of “locals supporting locals,” Romero said. “It helps locals get a $20 head start to visiting retail stores and restaurants on the mall with a program that’s ridiculously simple.”

The Romero Group, which Romero heads, owns much of the Snowmass Mall space, leasing to 47 individual tenants from Fuel Café at the entrance across the mall to Christy Sports, as previously reported.

Through the new voucher program, locals can choose to use their free $20 at whichever participating retail store or restaurant they wish. In turn, participating mall retail and restaurant owners can use all of the $20 vouchers received as a dollar-for-dollar discount on rent, Romero explained.

This means the $20 voucher program will include participating mall retail stores and restaurants owned by the Romero Group, and does not apply to Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Lodge complex tenants like Starbucks, Patagonia or North Face, or to Venga Venga. However, Romero said a private deal is in place for the New Belgium Ranger Station, which is in a Westin/Wildwood-owned space, so it can be a part of the voucher program as well.

“It’s so simple, clean and easy and it really helps all of us,” Romero said, referring to locals, business owners and The Romero Group as a landlord. “It really is a win-win-win.”

Romero said his property management company has been working on this voucher program idea for the past several weeks, but acknowledged that similar programs have become a popular strategy to encourage people across the country to shop locally amid the pandemic.

For example, the city of Aspen launched its own version of a $25 gift card program for residents who received a food tax refund this year, and the town of Snowmass Village is working on its own town-wide voucher program that should be implemented soon, with help and guidance from the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force.

Romero sits on the task force and said the intention of the Snowmass Mall voucher program isn’t to compete with the town’s initiative — it’s meant to compliment it and to get money flowing on the mall sooner rather than later, as many restaurants and retail stores are reopening this week.

Outside of the town-wide voucher program, there also is a fundraising initiative headed by the Part Time Residents Advisory Board in the works to help support village businesses through the COVID-19 crisis, along with a list of other stimulus and support ideas being explored by the economic recovery task force.

One of those ideas — fast tracking the application process for village restaurants to expand their liquor license premise areas, allowing for more outdoor seating and easier social distancing — is already playing out.

According to town officials, The Stew Pot and the Ranger Station have already been approved for premise expansions by both the town and the state, with the Ranger Station’s submission and approval turnaround time taking less than 24 hours.

For Romero, continuing to pursue and support these ideas and initiatives on a town level is important now and in the months to come. He said the Romero Group will track the success of this first wave of mall vouchers, which are valid through July 31, and plans to use that data to create an even more effective second wave of voucher support this summer, if proven helpful.

Bottom line, Romero said his main goal as a landlord is to ensure all of his tenants make it through the pandemic, and is committed to working on a case-by-case basis with all business owners to help them persevere.

“Clearly no one knows the economic forecast but our goal is to make sure all of our tenants survive and get through this,” Romero said.

“The key for us right now is to get these vouchers in people’s hands. … The need for locals to support locals is ridiculously important right now as businesses reopen. If there’s ever been a time for locals to support locals, it’s now.”

mvincent@aspentimes.com


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