Roxy’s Market eyes expansion

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – Roxy’s Market cleared a key hurdle to expansion this week when the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission endorsed a code amendment that would allow the grocery store to occupy as many as 13,000 square feet at the Aspen Business Center.The commission’s vote Tuesday evening was unanimous; the code amendment will now go to county commissioners on a date that has not yet been set. Roxy’s, which opened in December 2009 in a space formerly occupied for nearly two decades by Alpine Mountain Market, offers an alternative to Aspen’s two in-town supermarkets, City Market and Clark’s Market. After about an eight-month renovation of the space, owners Roxanne and Michael Lawler opened Roxy’s, bringing back a grocery-shopping option for the growing contingent of people who work or live on the outskirts of town.The business center is across the highway from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. The center itself holds a mix of businesses and residences and draws consumers from the local Colorado Mountain College campus and adjacent worker-housing complexes, including Annie Mitchell Homestead and Burlingame Ranch. While the store attracts shoppers from up and down the valley as they pass by on Highway 82, its regulars are from a neighborhood that has potential for growth.”It seems like more people are finding us, but the faces we see two or three times a day are the people who live west of the roundabout,” owner Roxanne Lawler said.She and her husband owned two other grocery stores in Colorado when they opened Roxy’s, but the Aspen store is now their sole enterprise. Its current space, with about 5,500 square feet on the ground floor plus 512 square feet on a partial second floor that includes the market’s business office and other functions, makes for a tightly packed local grocery that manages to offer all the essentials, plus a deli, produce and prepared foods.”It’s like 10 pounds of stuff crammed into a 5-pound bag,” Lawler said.An expansion would allow storage of items that are currently kept in a separate building at the business center and let the Lawlers explore ideas to increase the store’s offerings.”There’s so much more we could do – we have great ideas for what we could do if we had more space,” Lawler said.Their application to the Planning and Zoning Commission notes the potential to expand the produce area and stock more locally grown items, upgrade the deli, provide a larger selection of frozen foods and offer a new salad/soup/pizza bar.The market would increase to about 10,112 square feet with expansion into adjacent spaces within the building that have been occupied by a cafe and another business but remain substantially smaller than both City Market and Clark’s, the application indicates.The county code limits grocery stores to no more than 3,000 square feet in the B-2 zone, though the grocery within the business center has, inexplicably, long exceeded that total. The Lawlers have no specific time frame yet in mind for expansion of the store, as commission approval is the necessary next step.”It would be a huge project, and we’d want to try to stay open during the remodel,” Lawler


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