New Starbucks in Aspen brewing for a September opening |

New Starbucks in Aspen brewing for a September opening

Starbucks is returning to Aspen and will be open on the Cooper Avenue Mall later this month.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

After more than a year hiatus, Starbucks is returning to Aspen and will be open on the Cooper Avenue Mall later this month.

Manhattan Capital LLC operates the coffee shop, which is a licensed partner of Starbucks.

Aspen resident David Ellsweig is an investor, who was approached by his friends at Manhattan Capital to be their local partner.

He said after the Starbucks at gondola plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain closed in August of 2017, as did the popular Peaches Cafe a few months later, the timing was right.

“It was an incredible opportunity,” Ellsweig said Thursday. “This is an opportune time to open a coffee shop … there was a void that needed to be filled.”

Ellsweig’s group took over the lease at 401 E. Cooper Ave., the former location of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, in April.

Building plans were submitted in May — according to Starbuck’s specifications — and the space was built out over the summer.

Ellsweig said he and his investors originally planned to open in December but they were able to get into the space sooner than they anticipated.

The space is owned by Valley Investments LLC, which is tied to M&W Properties, run by Tony Mazza and Frank Woods.

Ellsweig said the city of Aspen and Mazza have been great to work with, noting that the lease is long-term and “very fair.”

On Thursday morning, the coffee shop was abuzz with new employees in training and a Starbucks district manager overseeing the rollout of products.

It will be one of only two stores on the Western Slope that will offer Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew coffee. It’s coffee charged with nitrogen, giving it a rich, creamy top. It will be on tap at the Aspen location.

It also will have all of the offerings that other Starbucks have, including pastries and breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

Ellsweig, also known as “Campo Dave” for his role as general manager of Campo de Fiori, said he’s excited for the coffee shop’s outdoors space, which wraps around the building and faces Wagner Park on the pedestrian mall, where there are additional tables and chairs provided by the city.

He said he and his group plan to ask the city for permission to place heat lamps along the perimeter of the building so customers can sit outside during the cold months.

Ellsweig added that he thinks it’s a perfect location being on the mall, next to Rubey Park transit station and a couple of blocks from the gondola.

Because the store is a licensed partner, Starbucks approves the location, designs the interior space and assists with the build-out and employee training.

The store employs 18 people and is set to open Sept. 24. Hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Ellsweig said he isn’t too concerned about opening in the offseason and hopes to attract the local clientele first. It also gives the staff some time to get the details right.

“It gives us a great opportunity to get the store wrapped up before the busy winter season,” he said.