The Biz Buzz in Pbville
The Word on the Curb From Leadville Today
Business news is making the headlines in America’s Highest City. So, if you think the hope for spring (weather!) springs eternal, so does the spirit of entrepreneurship at 10,200 feet! Every April as the snow recedes, small business plans advance, and new dreamers attempt to make a go of it in Leadville. From new restaurants to new retailers, here’s what LT has been able to confirm, so far. This April 2021 post begins south of town, past the little red schoolhouse at the Malta Curve on Highway 24 South.
Saturdays. That’s the name most locals know it by and will likely continue to call it even under the new ownership which happened earlier this month: Fast Stop Travel Center.
It was Frank Nickel’s vision 20 years ago this July that started the whole thing, creating a retail/grocery/gas anchor that was sorely needed at the time. Who can forget when founder Frank Nickel began constructing, “that giant building” south of town at 12655 Highway 24 South? It was July 2001, and few had his vision when it came to growing Leadville’s economy. As a keen businessman, Nickel knew that by building Saturdays at that location he would capture the passing traveler, looking to stock up on gas and snacks for their road trip. However, it was his commitment to the nearby Lake Fork Trailer Park community that laid the groundwork for the well-worn footpath that quickly formed between retailer and loyal customer.
After 13 years in business, Nickel’s first attempt at retirement resulted in a “boomerang” sale in 2014, but eventually, he found the right fit with Jim and Meredith Spesock who recently sold the business as pretty near to their 5-year original purchase date of April 1, 2016. During the Spesock stewardship, the southern Leadville anchor saw tremendous growth in its offerings and traffic. So congrats to all the ma-and-pas who kept the bread and butter on the table, the ammo on the shelves, and the tank filled with gas.
So what’s next for Saturdays? Will the name change? Will it expand? While it’s hard to tell less than one month in, the travel centers do appear to be independently owned and operated. But the imprint on that curve on Highway 24 South is likely to get bigger. In fact, if the online reviews for other affiliates in the Fast Stop Travel Center family are any indication of what residents in Leadville Today can expect, read on.
- USA’s 10 best truck stops in America
- “Not a bad little truck stop.”
Big R in The Big L
Heading north into town, Leadville Today was able to confirm that retailer Big R will be taking over the former Shopko shell on Highway 24. After getting a news tip from a downtown delivery guy, LT stopped into one of the biggest retail spaces in America’s highest city earlier this month. While the Big R staff on scene were part of the initial analysis team, they did confirm that “the top merchant for your home, farm, and ranch,” will be opening in the Leadville location late summer. According to the company’s website, “We supply pet, clothing, footwear, sporting goods, hardware, automotive and more. “
Leadville neighbors were quick to weigh in about the news on LT’s social media platforms:
- “Thank Goodness!! We need something different in Leadville. But, think a lot of us were hoping for another grocery store.” – Lisa Tull
- “Our son worked for them and they were a great company.” – Erik Sengel
- “Wondering why we are excited to welcome a store that has the potential to put the hurt on many of our small, locally owned businesses that already carry a lot of the things this ‘big box’ store will carry? Shop small and shop local if you want to keep these businesses around folks!” – Veronica Gross
Silver Dollar Sidewalk Rehab
Even though it seems more and more privately owned businesses in Lake County are having to “gear up” for direct competition from the tax-funded, public sector, the independent-minded business owner still reigns supreme in this Old West mining town. And you don’t have to look any further than the entrance to one of Leadville’s most legendary watering holes to see a world-famous example of that entrepreneurial spirit.
The historic Silver Dollar Saloon was closed for a few days this week as crews from Romer Real Estate and Development Group replaced the wooden sidewalk in front of the famous bar at 315 Harrison Avenue. The boards have seen some wear and tear from the cold, harsh weather that life at 10,200 feet can bring. The pine beetle replacement boards have been stained and are ready to be installed this week. The popular eatery and gin joint will be back open by this weekend.
And for the more curious reader, if you have ever wondered why only the entranceway to the Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon is the only business along the avenue to retain its original wooden boardwalk, LT offers up that story HERE.
Pssst, word on the curb is Leadville Safeway will be getting a new manager . . . again! So be extra kind to those wonderful familiar faces behind the masks and cash registers! Say “good morning” to your favorite produce stocker in Leadville Today!
Yo Quiero . . . Strikes and Spares?
For most of the 20th century, Leadville prided itself on not having many fast-food restaurants in town.
Of course, you were still able to get a burger, burrito or sandwich, you just got it from a locally owned and run eatery. Slowly a couple came in, namely Pizza Hut and Subway but the bigger, burger, heavy-hitters always seemed to be kept at bay. Until now…
Leadville Today has been able to confirm through their official Public Relations Department that Taco Bell will be opening a new location at 1717 N. Poplar Street in Leadville. Yes, it’ll be in the location of the former Kristi Lanes Bowling Alley which collapsed under the weight of snow in March 2019. Built in the early 1960s the bowling center served as the focal point for Leadville gaming and socializing for more than 4 decades. In 2014 the building was purchased by a realtor, but by then most of the insides assets had been stripped out, including the bowling lanes and kitchen equipment.
Sounds like there could be some interesting surprises with this one, so stay tuned to Leadville Today as more information is revealed about the new Taco Bell “set to open at the end of 2021.” Feliz Navidad!
Over the Masks, Through the Trees
The LT report travels even further north and then a bit west out to everyone’s local ski hill, Ski Cooper! It was a crazy COVID season, and none really knew what to expect. Fortunately, the Cooper team was ready for anything and that turned out to be a real, good plan!
Find out how the 2020-21 ski season went from Ski Cooper’s GM Dan Torsell in this video overview. The crew faced numerous COVID-19 public health restriction challenges and met them all to provide a first-class slope experience in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Season passes for the 2021-22 season go on sale July 1, 2021.
Well, that’s a wrap for this Leadville Today business news update. There’s been a lot of buzz-on-the-wire lately and LT will post those stories when they are fit to print with the facts. Until then, support your locally owned small businesses, as they continue to “gear” up for more competition from the public sector as well as the corporate heavy-hitters marching boldly into Leadville Today.
Got a news tip for Leadville Today? Send it along via email of reach out on any of LT’s social platforms. Info@leadvilletoday.com.