Golden Bear opens in Sitzmark in Vail |

Golden Bear opens in Sitzmark in Vail

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – The Golden Bear just might be the symbol of Vail in terms of jewelry, but the popular Vail store will no longer be a landmark on Bridge Street.

The Golden Bear has opened in its new location at the ground level of the Sitzmark Lodge, on Gore Creek Drive next to Checkpoint Charlie. The Bridge Street location will remain open through the end of January, but after that the Gore Creek Drive location will be the only Golden Bear store in Vail.

Owner Kristen Busse, who bought the store about 5 1/2 years ago, said the Golden Bear is getting out of the clothing business and focusing solely on jewelry. With the elimination of clothing, the Bridge Street location is too big, she said.

“We needed to downsize and have a smaller space,” Busse said. “It’s something we had been toying with for many years – getting back to the basics for us and focusing more on the jewelry.”

The move is exciting for Busse, while also bittersweet. She said the store, which spent more than 20 years at its Bridge Street location, needed a fresh, new look. Busse hired Viele Construction to give the store just that over at the Sitzmark. The timing also worked out in that the Bridge Street lease was just about up, Busse said.

The new space, formerly an art gallery, was totally gutted, Busse said. There’s a new exterior, and the interior is very modern, she said.

“We’re all sad to be leaving Bridge Street. It’s been our home for many years and has meant a lot to us,” Busse said. “But we’re excited for this, too. It’s more modern – it’s an exciting change. … It’s not just a new space for us, but it’s sort of a whole new front of the Sitzmark Lodge, as well.”

That area of Vail Village has become re-energized in the last year or so since the Solaris development opened and has generated more traffic through the area, providing more connectivity throughout the entire village. Busse expects the pedestrian traffic to only continue to grow throughout the area, so she’s not concerned that the move makes the Golden Bear less visible.

And, after all, the new location is merely down the street.

“As Vail continues to grow, we want to continue to grow with it,” Busse said.

Busse thinks the new location will continue in the tradition that Golden Bear founder Lee Kirch began in 1975. The Golden Bear jewelry design became somewhat of a symbol of Vail, and Busse has no intention to change that.

“Tradition is really important to us,” Busse said. “We’re trying to sort of remain the staple of Vail and grow the brand and hopefully continue to be that symbol of the Vail Valley.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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