Roxy’s Market gets approval for expansion | AspenTimes.com

Roxy’s Market gets approval for expansion

ASPEN – Roxy’s Market got the county’s blessing Wednesday to expand its Aspen Business Center grocery store by more than one-third of its current size.

“I’m thrilled with the approval because now we have the option of pursuing an expansion,” said Roxanne Lawler, who has owned and operated Roxy’s with her husband, Michael, since December 2009. “It can become a reality.”

In approving an amendment to the county’s land-use code, the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed that Roxy’s can be allowed to exceed the current limit of 3,000 square feet for grocery stores within the B-2 zone. Roxy’s currently stands at about 5,500 square feet due to previously permitted expansions.

Under the proposed plan, 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 it will remain substantially smaller than both City Market and Clark’s. The space is needed so Roxy’s can offer its customers a greater selection, including an improved deli, more prepared foods, a larger produce department and more.

“This is what our customers are asking for,” Lawler said. “We believe there is a need for an expanded grocery store in this area 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 North 40, Annie Mitchell Homestead and Burlingame Ranch.

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At Wednesday’s meeting, county commissioners did express some concern that amending the land-use code might open the door to other large developments – including those that might call themselves “grocery stores” because there currently is no definition in the code of what a grocery store is.

“There is the potential that you could see a business come in which has a minor component that would be seen as a grocery store,” said County Attorney John Ely. “It could be 800 square feet of groceries and 10,000 square feet of something else.

“But it is too much of a chore to define ‘grocery store’ on the fly right now.”

Rather, the county commissioners directed county staff to create language that would ensure that any future applicants are, in fact, primarily in the business of selling groceries.

For the Lawlers, Wednesday’s decision was just the first step in what promises to be a lengthy process.

“There are so many steps we have to take, so many hoops to jump through; I’m not completely sure what’s next,” Roxanne Lawler said. “There is a lot going on the with (business center) master plan, so we will be trying to tie into what they’re doing. So it’s not going to happen overnight.

“This a long-term project, an investment, and we want to do it right.”

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com