Business as Usual: Sundance wraps up another summer
Editor’s Note: Business as Usual is a series highlighting local businesses in Snowmass Village. It is published weekly in the Snowmass Sun.
Barbara Wickes, owner of Sundance Liquor and Gifts, just wrapped up another successful Snowmass Wine Festival, for which she has curated the wine for years. She and her husband, Steve, have owned and operated Sundance for more than 30 years.
Snowmass Sun: How did your business start?
Steve Wickes: Two of the developers of the Snowmass Center, Nick Coates and Fritz Benedict, were customers at our original drugstore, Aspen Drug. They liked the friendliness of Aspen Drug and asked us if we would like to open a pharmacy/liquor store in Snowmass. With the help of a small business loan from Alpine Bank, we opened Sundance on Aug. 1, 1979.
SS: What services or goods do you sell?
SW: We’re a liquor store, a drug store and a gift store. We offer lots of free advice on topics ranging from what wine goes with lamb to which knee brace will allow you to finish your ski vacation. Through the years, Sundance has also been a hub for seeing friends and catching up on what’s new in the village.
SS: What makes your business unique?
SW: Many visitors remark that, for a liquor store in a small town, Sundance has an incredibly large collection of famous wines. Also, thanks to our recent renovation we now have one of the largest selections of craft beers in the Roaring Fork Valley. When it comes to gifts, Sundance has a reputation as the perfect place to find a unique present for birthdays, housewarmings or just about any special occasion.
SS: Who is your primary clientele?
SW: This may surprise some, but our business is approximately 50 percent local and 50 percent visitors. It’s a synergistic combination. We couldn’t survive without the loyal support of either group.
SS: What is the best thing about running a business in Snowmass?
SW: If you want to be reminded what a wonderful community this is, come work behind the counter at Sundance for a week. You will be greeted by a steady stream of smiling locals and, during Snowmass’ prime tourist months, you will hear over and over again, “This is a spectacular place, do you really get to live here?”
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Alex Rager believes that the search for affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley can sometimes boil down to luck and timing. “When you least expect it and when you most need it is when things happen,” she said.