Neighbors welcome sporting goods store

Dennis WebbPost Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson

Plans to open a sporting goods store in downtown Glenwood Springs should score well with residents who had a hard time with the idea of a restaurant there.Mountain Sports Outlet, a specialty sporting goods store owned by the Gart family, will open at the former Elk Mountain Motors location on Sixth and Pine streets, across from the Hotel Colorado. It will offer items such as bicycles, skis and snowboards, said the propertys owner, Steve Lundin.Lundin previously had been trying to lease the location to one or more restaurants. In December, City Council granted Lundin a variance from a city requirement that the site have 64 parking spaces for restaurant purposes at the site. Lundin plans to provide 47 spaces, and some residents living nearby feared that would result in more parking problems in their neighborhood.Only 20 spaces are required for the sporting good store, Lundin said.Theoretically there shouldnt be as many cars there (as with a restaurant use), but who knows, Lundin said.Linda Holloway, who lives near the site, cheered the change in plans.It sounds like a better deal for our neighborhood, she said.Lundin is remodeling two buildings totaling 9,000 square feet of space. Mountain Sports Outlet will lease all of the space, he said.He had hoped to lease the site to one or more restaurants, seeing them as a good use for the area, which is close to several lodges and the Hot Springs Pool.Lundin said Moes Southwestern Grill had wanted to open there, but decided to go to Glenwood Meadows instead when the city Planning and Zoning Commission rejected his request for the parking variance.A member of the Gart family contacted Lundin the day after council overturned the P&Z decision.The family originally opened the Gart sporting goods stores, and later sold that chain, which includes a Glenwood Springs store that will be moving to Glenwood Meadows. Lundin said the family has since opened about 120 new sporting goods stores, including Bicycle Village, Colorado Ski & Golf, and Aspen Sports.The parking variance remains in effect, and Lundin said the location still could hold restaurants later. But Mountain Sports Outlet has a 10-year lease, he noted.He said the store is scheduled to open in October but might do so sooner.I think it will be great in that area down there. Theyll draw from that tourist trade that walks by there just like the restaurants would, Lundin said.Said Holloway, Hopefully it will be good for them and good for the city and good for us.Im glad its working out the way it is. I think its better than the bunch of restaurants they wanted to put in there better for our neighborhood and the impacts.Some north Glenwood Springs residents say they already suffer from overflow parking on their streets due to nearby business activity, with customers blocking driveways and creating other problems. Holloway said restaurants also bring more late-night parking to the neighborhood.Mountain Sports Outlet will open the second sporting goods store near the Hotel Colorado this year. The Gear Exchange, which sells both new and used equipment, opened across Sixth Street on Jan. 3.Lundin, who lives near Gear Exchange co-owner Kendall Spyker, said he thinks both stores will gain from their proximity to each other.When you get those kind of uses they help each other. If somebodys looking for sporting goods and you see both of them, theyre going to go to both sides of the street, probably, he said.Steve Di Campo, Spykers partner at the Gear Exchange, tries to take the same view.Its going to bring more traffic to us. Thats what were thinking. Weve got to think positive about it, right?What can you say? Its kind of one of those (things), what are you going to do? Theyre like the big guys, and were like the little guys.He thinks the Gear Exchange has a good niche in its consignment sales, which might complement the sales of new items across the street.Everybodys got gear, and they need to get rid of it so they can buy new gear, he said.A restaurant might have posed problems for the Gear Exchange if diners had parked in its spaces, Di Campo said.He praised the work Lundin has done with the remodeling and landscaping of the former car dealership, and wished Mountain Sports Outlet well.We hope it works out the best for both of us, he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext.

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