Edwards building hit by fire is slowly re-opening | VailDaily.com

Edwards building hit by fire is slowly re-opening

July fire started in Larkburger, but smoke and damage spread to cycle shop, vet clinic

Smoke pours out of the Larkburger in Edwards on the evening of July 12. A kitchen fire at the restaurant spread to the roof of the building and caused significant smoke damage to neighboring businesses. While one tenant, Vail Valley Animal Hospital, has re-opened, renovation and restoration work on the building may not be finished until March of 2020.
Eagle River Fire Protection District

You might think winter would be an OK time to close a bicycle shop. Frank Mitchell doesn’t see it that way.

Mitchell is the owner of Moontime Cyclery, one of three businesses that were shut down following a July 12 fire in the Larkburger restaurant between Moontime and the Edwards location of Vail Valley Animal Hospital.

An investigation determined the fire was accidental. But that hasn’t shortened the time needed to repair the damage. Smoke from the fire got into the building’s ceiling and caused damage to all three units.

The Vail Valley Animal Hospital has been back in its location for about a week now. But Moontime and Larkburger remain closed.

Mitchell and Vail Valley Animal Hospital owner Dr. Charlie Meynier had other locations for their businesses — Mitchell in Eagle, Meynier in EagleVail.

Still closed for business

But Larkburger, which was founded in 2006 in the Edwards location, has been shrinking. The group, which once had 14 locations, announced in January that it would close six stores and rebrand most of the remaining locations into a concept called Lark Spot. The company’s website currently lists just three locations, including Edwards. The local restaurant is “temporarily closed,” according to the website.

Mitchell said the months after the fire have been tough.

“It’s been terrible, in my eyes,” Mitchell said.

Moontime’s Eagle location is essentially just a showroom, and was intended to be a satellite shop to the Edwards location, Mitchell said. That means there’s no room for storage. If something isn’t on the display floor, Moontime doesn’t have it.

That’s put a serious crimp in Mitchell’s business.

Mitchell said he’s been told that renovation and construction work should start in the next week or so, with work finishing up by March or so.

That sounds like good news, since that’s when locals start thinking seriously about trips to Fruita, Moab and other cycling hot spots.

But, Mitchell said, those March trips often start with people wandering through shops like his during the winter. As a year-‘round operation, Mitchell has seen it.

“A guy walks in in January dreaming about summer,” Mitchell said. “I’m not going to see those guys (this winter).”

That kind of business is hard to quantify, but it’s there. And, given that high-end bicycles are big-ticket items, people spend some time thinking about what they want, and how much they want to invest.

Mitchell feels fortunate he’s had the Eagle store.

“We’ve gotten a lot of traffic from people who otherwise wouldn’t have come down,” he said. But, he added, a lot of those people would probably have gone to the store in Edwards.

While he once held the faint hope that Moontime’s Edwards location might open by the end of this year, that isn’t going to happen.

While he’s carrying on, Mitchell said. “This isn’t an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.

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