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Battlement Mesa loses City Market and gains a Clark’s Market

BATTLEMENT MESA – Ron Galterio was surprised to hear that the Battlement Mesa City Market would be closing the end of July.”It was pretty shocking,” Galterio said.Galterio’s concern Tuesday was that the small western Colorado community would be left without a grocery store, and that the large elderly population would have to commute to neighboring communities like Rifle to get their groceries.However, that is not the case according to Battlement Mesa Company’s President Eric Schmela. He said, Tuesday, that the Battlement Mesa Company has leased the current City Market building to Clark’s Market, which is scheduled to open after August 1.Schmela said that BMC was unable to negotiate agreeable terms of a new lease with City Market, which opened up the opportunity to welcome a new grocer to the area.”It was a business decision for us,” Schmela said. “We have the entire community’s interests in mind by welcoming Clark’s (Market) here.”City Market’s lease expires on July 31, and Clark’s Market will take possession on that date. However, according to Tom Clark Jr., with Clark’s Market, there will be a period of transition where the store will be closed for an extensive remodel.”We won’t open August first,” Clark said. “We are doing a significant renovation and bringing in new equipment and will change the layout and core of the building.”That could leave residents without a local grocery store for an undetermined amount of time.Residents like Galterio, who has lived in Battlement Mesa for close to 20 years, were unaware that a new store was replacing the existing City Market. Galterio was also concerned that the elderly population would be without a much needed pharmacy. But Clark said that the new market will be a “conventional” grocer store, and a pharmacy would be included.”We’ve been interested in that area for some time,” Clark said. “After a lot of work, we finally got a lease agreement with the Battlement Mesa group and are excited about it.”Schmela would not say what specifically led to the negotiation failure between BMC and City Market. He would also not reveal the new lease terms with Clark’s Market saying that it is a private contract between the two parties.Calls to City Market were not returned Tuesday.City Market has leased the location since 1983, according to Schmela. He said that the grocer originally leased the space when the community was owned by Exxon. BMC purchased the development in 1989, and has continued the lease with City Market.Schmela said that the change in management “could result in multiple layoffs for the existing staff.” However, Clark said that he didn’t think that layoffs would occur.”We are probably going to have more (staff),” Clark said. “Because we will be offering more services in the store.”While Clark said that the plans remain in the very preliminary stages, it was his opinion that the new store would have at least the same number of employees.This will be the eighth location for the Clark’s Market Company. The grocer, which was started in Aspen 30 years ago and still has its central office in Basalt, has stores in Aspen, Basalt, Norwood, Telluride, Crested Butte, and two locations in Blanding, Utah.jgardner@postindependent.com


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