Letter: Town closing
News that Town is closing doors in Carbondale is sending shock waves through the community. I heard a colleague say that it’s been like a death in the family: There is disbelief, anger and sadness among many right now.
I’m extremely heartbroken for Mark and Lari Fischer, and for their staff — the friendly faces at the coffee counter, the kitchen pass and the cocktail bar — many of whom will be making life-changing decisions right now about work, careers, how to pay the bills and whether they can sustain life in Carbondale anymore.
For myself and many others, a restaurant like Town sits at the heart of this community. It’s where we go for breakfast, where we have our coffee meetings, it’s where we go for birthdays, dates or to dine on First Fridays. We can even coax our Aspen friends to come downvalley for dinner with the tempting invite of Town.
Mark and his team have also supported so many other businesses and organizations over the years: 5Point Film Festival fundraising dinners, Sustainable Settings harvest dinners and many others. Our brewers and distillers in this community got a leg up from Town, which championed their fledgling products from the get-go. How can we, as a community ever say thank you to Mark, Lari and Town for all they’ve done for us?
I’ve worked with Mark in a culinary capacity over the years and I’m so aware of his impact: He single-handedly put Carbondale on the dining map of the state of Colorado when he opened Six89. Many chefs and industry players beyond the Roaring Fork Valley hold him in high regard and consider him as a pioneer of the local food movement. He’s been an ambassador for our state, our valley and our little town when he’s participated in initiatives like dinners at the James Beard House in New York.
More anxiety comes at the thought of an empty business sitting on Main Street: What is the true economic impact of a fourth empty space in the core of our business district? How much sales tax will be gone from our town’s budget? What will the overall impression and visitor experience be like with Town gone?
I hope the community leaders, trustees, business owners and landlords start putting their heads together to have creative conversations about how to mitigate this loss and how we find ways to continue to thrive long-term when we are dependent on visitor spending for our tourism economy.