Few storefronts remain vacant in Minturn

Server, Sam Gupta, center right, takes a drink order from Melanie McMichael, right, as owner, Eric Greon, center left, pours water for the table of diners during a busy lunch Friday at Magusto's in Minturn.
Dominique Taylor | |

Four facts

Minturn became an incorporated town in 1904.

Population as of the 2010 census was 1,027.

It’s about 7.5 miles from Vail Village to down Minturn.

There are more than 140 businesses in town

MINTURN — Here’s how quickly storefronts get filled in Minturn these days: Lynne Schleper signed a lease for retail space on Main Street the day after she learned it was available.

Schleper plans to open yet another of her successful Treasures consignment stores in mid- to late August, depending how quickly she can get inventory — and phone service — into the shop. This store will be a bit different than the other Treasures locations, with less furniture and more small items.

Schleper said the idea to carry smaller items — aside from the fact that it’s hard to park a furniture truck outside — is a reflection of what’s sold at the Minturn Market on Saturdays.

“We want to have market-type items seven days a week,” Schleper said.

Moving to Minturn was an easy decision, Schleper said. A longtime valley resident, Schleper has liked the town forever, and her daughter owns a home there.

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“It’s just a great town that people really like to visit,” she said.

Tom Robbins, co-owner of Eagle Valley Music and Comics, grew up in the Vail Valley, so he’s been familiar with Minturn all his life. Robbins in January moved the family store from Vail to Minturn. So far, he said, longtime customers have been able to find the shop, and new customers come in on their way to or from dinner or drinks.

“It’s been awesome so far,” Robbins said. And, with an owner’s apartment in the back of the shop, Robbins can sit on the porch or wait on customers until he decides it’s time to go to bed. Usually that’s 10 p.m. or later, when the evening crowds have mostly cleared out.

Michelle Metteer is the economic development director in Minturn. She said the last couple of years have been good ones for business vitality in town. That’s a healthy change from the depths of the recent economic slump, when the town had several vacant storefronts. In a town of just more than 1,000 residents, that’s not a good thing.

But downtown these days is attractive to “Mom and Pop” businesses, Metteer said. They see the success of the market, and want to be part of that action she said.

The market itself is bustling these days, Metteer said, with a waiting list of potential vendors. Local businesses have helped drive people to the market, and vice versa, Metteer said, with town employees giving out coupons for local businesses on market days.

The market is a cornerstone of the business at Magusto’s restaurant. Owner Eric Cregon said the patio there is busy on market days. But Magusto’s really hops on Fridays, with people coming for both free beer and live music.

“We’re getting a lot of tourists here,” Cregon said, and for more than just dinner.

While Minturn used to be pretty quiet in the middle of the day, Cregon said businesses including the Holy Toledo clothing store draw shoppers for lunch, snacks and maybe a drink before heading back to Vail or Beaver Creek.

“More business like that would be great for our days,” Cregon said.

While Minturn’s storefronts are popular these days, running a small business requires more than simply hanging an “open” sign in the window. The fact is that small businesses often can’t make it, so there’s been some coming and going in town. A music shop recently closed its doors, as did a yoga studio. The difference, at least right now, is that other entrepreneurs seem to be waiting in the wings.

“We’ve been very fortunate in that regard,” Metteer said.

For the businesses that are succeeding in Minturn, new blood is always nice to have on Main Street. Then there’s the place itself, which Robbins called a “real town with real people.”

Cregon, who ran Mango’s in Red Cliff until opening Magusto’s, said town officials have been good to do business with, adding that he loves the location, too.

“You’re in the middle of everything, but it’s still a smaller town,” Cregon said. “I love it here — I’m not going anywhere.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at

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