Businesses building in Avon
AVON, Colorado – Thinking about “economic development,” big stores, offices or factories usually come to mind. In Avon, the economic engine is being goosed by coffee and a drug store.A new Walgreen’s drug store – in a brand-new building – is set to open at the site of the old Denny’s restaurant in Avon in the next couple of weeks. That opening has drawn a lot of attention from this year’s crop of Avon Town Council candidates, all of whom have cited the new store as a good thing for the town.The main thing Walgreen’s has the potential to deliver is tax revenue. Vince Riggio of Trinity RED Development, which owns the land and the store, said the potential revenue from Walgreen’s promises to be many times what the Denny’s delivered to the town.”The town can do some cool things with that money,” Riggio said.And Riggio expects the store to do well, primarily because it fits well in real estate’s eternal trinity – location, location, location.Virtually everyone who skis Beaver Creek will come into Avon and see the new building, Riggio said. And people in some of the valley’s biggest sources of visitors – Chicago and New York – are well-acquainted with the stores.Between tourists, second home owners and local residents who live within quick walking distance of the store, Riggio believes he has a solid model for success.The candidates have also spent a lot of time talking about the Northside Coffee & Kitchen restaurant on the northwest side of the town’s main Interstate 70 interchange. That restaurant, run by former Vail Daily owner Jim Pavelich, has been popular just about since the moment it opened. Pavelich in the past few months had to go to the council to ask to lease some town-owned property to free up more parking.”We’d hoped to do this well, but we certainly didn’t expect it,” Pavelich said. Part of the reason for Northside’s success, Pavelich said, is the location, which he called the best spot along pretty much the length of I-70.The success at Northside has led to plans for another restaurant next door, a project Pavelich said is moving right along.Opening a Walgreen’s, with a drive-through pharmacy window, is likely to draw still more traffic to the interchange area, Pavelich said. And more traffic in that area is a good thing.But Avon’s business climate for smaller businesses is also working for established companies.Kent Beidel opened Loaded Joe’s coffee shop about eight years ago, and the store quickly became a local gathering spot. Beidel and his crew spent some time on renovating the Avon space earlier this year, with quick results.”People have responded fantastically,” Beidel said. “We’ve really seen a bump in business.”Beidel said he opened the first Loaded Joe’s in Avon because he saw the potential of the place. He continues to see that potential today.”I looked at Edwards, Vail and Avon, and thought this town has the opportunity to grow,” Beidel said. “Over the years it’s been great.”Eric Boylan this year moved his store, Alpine Appliance Center, to Avon, near Ruggs Benedict. Boylan said he’s been pleased with the move so far.”The location here is more central to the valley,” Boylan said. “What I’ve found is that our walk-in traffic so far has been awesome.”Chris Evans is a co-owner of Evans Chaffee Construction, which built the Walgreen’s building. He’s also a member of the Avon Town Council.Evans said new, remodeling and relocating businesses are all key to building up the town’s sales tax base, and providing more shopping options for residents and visitors.Evans said while national stores such as Walgreen’s are nice to have, he believes both residents and visitors prefer locally-owned shops.To do encourage more businesses coming to town, Evans said the town might want to consider permit waivers or similar tactics to encourage people to open up in town.”But we have to be careful about what we choose to do,” Evans said. “We don’t want to put existing businesses at a disadvantage.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.