Businesses bank on promise of better days |

Businesses bank on promise of better days

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily/Dominique TaylorHeather Neighbarger of Double Diamond says the shop did well over the Fourth of July holiday.

VAIL – Vail is the Land of Big Holes these days. One of the biggest holes is in Lionshead, where Vail Resorts’ development company is building the Arrabelle at Vail Square, a large condominium and hotel project. Construction is expected to be finished in 2007, and that leaves shop owners in Lionshead hanging on, waiting for better days.Tom Ludwig has a large, green construction fence right outside the front door of his restaurant, Montauk Seafood Grill.”We’re actually up a little from last year,” Ludwig said. “It’s not great, but we’re doing all right. People have to walk right by.”When things usually pick up at Montauk is in the evenings.

“Once the ‘beep-beep-beep’ stops, then people sit out on the deck,” Ludwig said. “But we have to keep everything closed up until the work stops because of the dust.”The dust was a problem at the Swedish Clog Cabin when some street work was done last month just outside the front door. “We had to dust the clogs every two hours or so,” said shop employee Alice Campbell.The story was a little different at a nearby shop, Dakota Craftsman.”It was kind of an excuse not to dust,” said store owner Debbie Heim.Heim, like other store owners around the plaza, is hunkered down for a long slow stretch. But, she said, she’s staying.”It’s not bad now,” Heim said. “Sales are down, but we expected it. We’re prepared.”

At the French Deli, business is still pretty good. Regulars still come in, and, of course, places that sell coffee can generally attract construction workers.”It’s a little softer now, but it’s not a disaster so far,” said shop owner Daniel Bouvier.Bouvier said what’s hurt the most this summer is stopping the Fourth of July parade short of Lionshead because of the construction.The Double Diamond ski shop is a bit farther from the construction fence than Montauk or the French Deli. There, Heather Neighbarger said life is pretty good.”Business is picking up,” she said. “Our Fourth of July weekend was fantastic.”And most people in businesses around the Arrabelle project said they, and their customers, are excited to see some needed renovation in Lionshead.

“‘Wow’ is what most people say when they see it,” said Chris Shump at the Double Diamond. “They’re excited.”So is Heim.”We started here in 1986 and it was good,” she said. “The shops were full and it was busy… I just thank God they’re running the gondola during this. If they hadn’t, I would have just quit.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or

=============That hole in LionsheadThe site: 2.27 acres

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An outdoor ice rink======================Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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