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Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

So I can’t believe that I feel this way, but I am nostalgic and a little sad about losing our local Gap store.

The Gap opened in 1992, just months before my arrival in the Roaring Fork Valley and it has served a purpose. Come the end of the month it will be a memory. Despite the fact that it was “a chain store,” a phrase that was met with derision and disgust back in the quaint, early ’90s, the Gap became a solid part of this community. It provided locals with a place to go to buy cargo shorts, plain white T’s, khakis, simple sweaters, boxers and socks in a whole bunch of colors for a reasonable price. True, there was nothing really unique about what was offered, but still, one could find a wardrobe for under a couple of hundred bucks that would last a summer. And beyond.

As I write this, I went to my closet and pulled out a couple of Gap-ian items that I still wear. There was one white and one blue button down shirt in the J. Crew genre. And I found a pair of tied-at-the-waist cargo shorts that have to be at least a decade old but still get thrown in the bag for the springtime trip to the desert. Nothing wrong with that.

I also found some multicolored madras shorts that still had a tag in them, obviously an impulse sale buy, and a cheap rain jacket that hasn’t been worn since the Fourth of July afternoon in the ’90s when I bought it to ward off the rain and cold before the fireworks. Remember when we used to have rain?

Anyway, I’m not saying that the Gap was a cornerstone of our community but it did have its place and, considering the alternatives we now have for buying the “essentials,” it will be missed.

Evidently Mark Hunt, the primary investor in the purchase and “repositioning” of the southeast corner of Galena and Hunter, has a finger on the pulse-beat for what Aspen really wants and needs. Rumor has it that an Apple store will be one of the tenants in the new space. I love Apple. In fact this very column is being spell-checked on one. But I’m not sure an Apple store in the core (get it?) will be a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly stop for me.

Then there is Anthropologie. I’ve walked past one, or 12, in various trips to shopping malls in far-flung outposts like Cleveland and Phoenix but I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in one. Not sure I ever will be. (By the way the word “Anthropologie” freaks out Apple spell check.) Restoration Hardware is cool. They make things that look like things that people used to make. If you’re not sure what I mean, look ’em up on line. There you can buy virtually anything that they sell, virtually. And you’ll save the tax.

Fortunately the silver lining of all of this is the potential of having a Christian Louboutin shop in the old Gap location. There is something about the red-soled shoes that is quirky, fun and irresistible. This Frenchman has supplanted Jimmy Choo as the designer of choice for many of Aspen’s most stylish women and saving them a trek to the Champs-Elysees, Rodeo Drive, Madison Avenue, Bond Street or Dubai for a selection in all of the most petite sizes is, well, priceless. I will suggest, however, that buyers think twice before wearing the shoes out of the shop after “OMG, I just love them and yes I’ll take them” $1,000 purchases. We still have a little mud on these here streets and they can make young shoes look old fast.

Oh, well change happens. At least we know that there are 3,247 other Gap locations where we can go if we have a Madras shorts emergency.

Authors Note: In my errors and omissions column last week, designed to make up for my errors omissions from the preceding week, I omitted appropriate kudos and praise for one Janet Urquhart. A soulful and talented writer, her stories from the rivers and the nordic trials capture parts of this valley that many never see. Not to mention her fine reporting. Thanks JU.


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