Taco truck booted from Glenwood Rite Aid lot
On Monday, Rite Aid store manager Justin Lyons said Rite Aid executives did not want Jaime Salazar to remove his taco truck from the lot entirely. They only requested that he move it away from the sign, Lyons said.
From there, a female employee from Crystal Property Management, not owner Justin Windholz, sent an email saying the taco truck must leave completely. Someone in Rite Aid corporate told Lyons he had to comply with the property manager’s wishes. Lyons said these emails were sent more than 60 days ago, and his Rite Aid email account automatically deletes emails after 60 days, but he and his district manager are trying to track them down to prove it was the property manager who booted Salazar out.
Lyons also said he gave Salazar a month’s notice, not a week’s, to remove his truck from the lot.
According to Lyons, he and his district manager would call Salazar in a heartbeat if the situation with Crystal Property Management changed.
“We both feel bad because at the end of the day, he bettered Rite Aid,” Lyons said of Salazar.
Salazar was not on a lease, but he was paying the store monthly to be there. If nothing is resolved, today will be his last day open.
A teacher from Glenwood Springs High School encouraged his class to write letters protesting Salazar’s boot from the Rite Aid lot. When his class hand-delivered the letters to Crystal Property Management, the teacher said the letters were given back “in a not-so-nice way” without being read.
After more than five years of serving beloved, authentic Mexican food, Jaime Salazar was given one week to remove his taco truck from the Glenwood Springs Rite Aid parking lot.
According to Salazar’s daughter, Karen Torres, a Rite Aid store manager asked him to leave immediately, but eventually said Salazar could stay through the weekend as long as he was gone on Monday.
Because everything has happened so quickly, she said Salazar and his family are disappointed and confused. She said they haven’t been given a straight answer by anyone as to why he has to leave his spot.
Rite Aid store manager Justin Lyons said it wasn’t the store’s decision.
“I love the guy being there,” he said. “I enjoy his food.”
He said the property manager wanted Salazar’s truck gone. But Justin Windholz, owner of Crystal Property Management, which manages the Rite Aid lot, disputed Lyons’ version of what happened.
“That guy’s been there for a while, and we’ve never really cared,” Windholz said of Salazar.
He said the command came from higher up at Rite Aid. When some corporate executives were passing through town, they noticed the taco truck and asked Windholz about it. Windholz said Salazar had worked out a lease with the Rite Aid store manager, not Crystal Property Management, and he had nothing to do with the stand being there. He said the executives wanted Salazar’s truck gone.
At press time, Ashley Flower, Rite Aid Corporation’s senior manager of public relations, only said Rite Aid is looking into the matter.
A community staple
Torres said her father worked construction before buying the food truck more than five years ago. When he bought it, it was already in the Rite Aid parking lot in a corner by the City Market side. She said the Rite Aid managers asked him to move it after customers complained about its location, so he moved the truck to the Rite Aid sign. He’s been there ever since.
And, ultimately, Salazar has decided to close down his stand rather than relocate.
“He thought about relocating, but he thinks it’ll be hard to start over,” Torres said. “Where he is now is really accessible, but he thinks it’ll be hard to relocate, so he’s decided to close it down.”
It wasn’t an easy decision. Salazar has worked seven days a week, all day long, for five years at his stand, serving food to regulars and newcomers alike.
One of his regulars for the past year is Christina Juarez, who works in an office nearby and said she walks to the taco truck for lunch fairly regularly.
“It’s just convenient; it’s a good option for everyone around there,” Juarez said. “And I know a lot of high school kids eat there, too.”
Juarez said when she found out Salazar was being forced to leave his spot, she thought it was incredibly unfair.
“I know at one point this year, whoever was in charge over there asked him to move,” she said. “And now they’re just asking him to not be there at all. I just feel it’s kind of messed up because he’s not doing any harm.”
Now, Salazar is planning on getting back into construction work.
“At first he was disappointed,” Torres said. “He really liked what he was doing.”
Torres said the whole family is trying to find the silver lining and stay positive.
“A lot of us think if it happened for a reason, maybe it’s for him to spend more time with his family,” she said.
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.