Friday, August 27, 2010

And then there were 3?

Colorado couple leases former Williams Market building

Express Staff Writer

The former building of Williams Market at the corner of First and Main streets is being gutted for a new grocery store, Roxy’s Market. Photo by David N. Seelig

The proposed Ketchum Market isn't the only new grocery store planned for Ketchum. A third, named Roxy's Market, revealed itself this week.

And even though Ketchum Market has half a year on it, Roxy's is already much further ahead in the process, not caught in the bureaucracy and zoning debate that Ketchum Market is wading through.

That's because Roxy's is leasing the site of a previous grocery store, Williams Market, at the corner of Main and First streets. Gutting of the building began this week, with plans to open sometime in the second half of the upcoming ski season, according to co-owner Roxanne Lawler.

Roxanne and her husband, Michael Lawler, live in Aspen, Colo., where they have another Roxy's Market. Roxanne said Ketchum's market would be similar in style to the one in Aspen. But pencil has yet to meet paper. Roxanne said they're waiting until demolition is over to plan the interior and amenities.

"We're getting rid of a lot of stuff that doesn't need to be there, so we can see it with a clear view," she said. "We're going to make it as clean and new of a shopping experience as possible."

She said the couple has been in the grocery-store business for eight years, also operating The Market at Mountain Village in Telluride, Colo., and others. Roxanne said they entered the food business with sandwich shops in San Francisco, then went into real estate but reverted to food through grocery stores.

"We're just big foodies," she said.

Roxanne said she and her husband lived in Ketchum from 1995 to 1999.

"When we lived there, we had two choices," she said. "It was sad to see one go away."

Atkinsons' Market still remains but Williams closed in the fall of 2005 after 12 years in business.

"It's just no longer viable," said Williams Market owner Chris Williams at the time.

Roxanne said she and her husband think the community can "comfortably" support two grocery stores.

"It pays to have choices," she said.

But if Ketchum Market succeeds, that would make three. However, Ketchum Market is still a big question mark due to its proposed location in the Light Industrial zone, which doesn't permit grocery stores.

The city can't even consider looking at Ketchum Market's proposed 31,500-square-foot store and stand-alone 3,155-square-foot drugstore until it decides if the grocery store can be given a zoning exception.

Jim Laski, attorney for Ketchum Market developer Valmark, has suggested since early this year that an amendment be added to the Light Industrial zone allowing retail—such as a grocery store—so long as the business employs at least 25 full-time workers and operates all year. The amendment would also require businesses to be under single ownership and provide community housing equal to 20 percent of floor area.

However, in past meetings, the P&Z has been torn over whether this conditional use would dilute the commercial core and crowd out industrial uses at the north end of town. This separate zoning amendment will be taken up at a meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.

Roxy's Market has about 12,000 square feet of space for retail and an additional 2,000 square feet for managers' offices and a basement. The parking lot has about 37 spaces, according to Paul Kenny, of Paul Kenny & Matt Bogue Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the lease.

Trevon Milliard:

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