Carnes: Retailers give a ton |

Carnes: Retailers give a ton

Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

An anagram for “Eagle River Station” spells out the above headline, but the real question is, which type of retailer does it refer to – the native mom and pops or the national chains?

Granted, the same letters spell “Go native, retailers,” which theoretically cements a position for the “against” crowd, but they also spell “Soviet Retail Anger,” which just con-fuses the whole mess even more.

So, where do I stand, and why should you care?

Everywhere I go these past few weeks, I am asked my opin-ion on ERS.

But like editor/publisher Don Rogers, who took a stand last week, I don’t have a dog in the hunt (I can’t vote). So feel free to ignore my advice.

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This entire issue, if taken at face value, revolves around those who are con-vinced they know better than others how to get the town of Eagle from A to B and will apparently stop at nothing in an attempt to force their opinion on oth-ers. Pretty much like Repub-licans do to Democrats and Muslims do to Catholics (and vice versa).

For every, “I don’t see how anyone in their right mind could be for it,” I hear just as many, “I don’t see how anyone in their right mind could be against it.”

The former is usually said by those in the “old guard” and current retail business, while the latter is usually espoused by those connect-ed in one way or another to the development-real estate industry.

For those already scream-ing at their newspapers, please note my use of the word “usually,” as there are admittedly exceptions to every stereotype.

Either way, I say both sides simply need to take a gander east and focus in on The Village at Avon.

What was at one point the largest annexation deal in the state of Colorado involv-ing more than 600,000 square feet of proposed commercial retail space and a few thousand residences has, 12 years later, evolved into little more than two large “anchor” stores, a half-empty, mud-roofed side project and a seasonal dirt patch for Beaver Creek aficionados to pretend to play cowboy.

Lots of ink could be spilled pointing fingers of blame, but the reality for the dearth of construction is based upon simple supply and demand. There is not a large enough market upvalley (around 20,000 nice people, plus one Michael Cacioppo) to justify the risks for most national chains. Thus, nothing else has been built.

There is no debate that the downvalley market is about half the size (please, do not for one half-second think the masses will drive from Glenwood to go shop-ping in Eagle), so this alone should be enough to con-vince most that, even if passed, the project has as much chance of succeeding as the Broncos do winning the next Super Bowl.

For those counting on the potential for future jobs two or even three years down the road as a reason to vote yes, all I can say is that’s about as short-sighted as living off your credit cards in anticipa-tion of winning the lottery.

So, yes, I am suggesting a “no” vote, but Eagle will sur-vive either way, and then we can all move on to the next end-of-the-world issue for Happy Valley. Ever Vail, anyone?

Richard Carnes can be reached at

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