Letter: Short-term profits, long-term resent

Short-term profits, long-term resent

The American Dream has long held that we all have an equal chance to succeed provided that we work hard and do everything right. In the upper-valley’s version of this dream it turns out that some are more equal than others.

Last month Terrence Mcguire penned a letter to the editor describing his dealings with his landlord on the mall. The Little Dill’s lease wasn’t renewed after a decade in business. Vega Venga, an offshoot of a global concern with restaurants from the sands of Dubai to the sands of Arizona, decided that it needed to cut into the huge burrito market of Snowmass. After 10 years of building a reputation as a successful sandwich joint, The Little Dill was booted with no fanfare.

Local Rebels is receiving the same treatment as we speak. The Snowmass Bakery was replaced with Starbucks. Gene Taylor’s was a huge two-story retail operation that had operated since the inception of Snowmass Resort when it was pared down to a quarter of its size to make room for a real estate office to pimp the bubble economy then being blown to bursting in Snowmass. Cowboy’s restaurant was one of the village’s finest establishments for 11 years. Now it’s a private club that looks to be a great place to read.

The landlords of this valley have every right to maximize their profits. In Aspen it has resulted in a corporate shopping experience that can be found anywhere in the world. The diversity of independent merchants isn’t as important as the deep pockets of corporate bank accounts. In the long run the generic sterility may kill the goose that laid the golden egg by defining the Aspen experience as the same one as can be found at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. For now, short-term profit is all that matters.

But it’s worse than maximizing profit in Snowmass. The Village Market owners have said they offered everything the landlord asked for. More rent, more service, more everything. The landlord simply wanted to snatch the business away and give it to someone else. After 34 years of blood, sweat and tears, having your business forced to close and handed to another reeks of cronyism.

With the system rigged thusly, no intelligent entrepreneur will enter Snowmass Village once they look around and figure out that if they are successful, the landlord will notice, shut them down when the lease comes due and replace them with its friends. If there’s money to be made, there’s a corporation hovering like a vulture to move in. Despite the “positive” experience reported by the owners of Sundance Gifts and Liquors, who thinks it would still be operating if the retail liquor license weren’t held in the owner’s name?

All of these businesses did everything right. They lived and breathed the American Dream. They were successful in a resort that is spitting the corporations out right and left. The reward for a decade, heck for three decades of hard work and sacrifice in Snowmass is injustice perpetrated by an insensitive, indifferent, ingrate landlord with no regard nor respect for anything but its own bottom line.

Not since the Base Village vote has there been such hard feelings in this town. It won’t be forgotten.

Johnny Boyd

Snowmass Village