Locals see progress, a few lost friends
VAIL – The Vail Valley was abuzz. They talked about it in the grocery stores, while buying a cell phone and waiting for lunch at a local eatery – Vail Resorts, the company that has been synonymous with Vail for decades, is moving out of town.
Well, at least its corporate offices are. Newly appointed chief executive officer, Robert Katz, announced yesterday the resort company’s corporate and administrative operations will move down to the Denver metro area. When or to what part of Denver hasn’t been determined yet, but 100 staff members and executives will be asked to make the move from the high country to the Front Range. In a letter to Vail Resort employees, Katz said, “While that number is relatively small compared to our total peak employee base of nearly 14,000, I am acutely aware that there is a real personal impact to anyone who is asked to relocate.”
Katz, who appointment also was announced Tuesday, promised Vail Resorts will help with the transition, but valley resident Zoe Layton, who has friends in the corporate office, said she prefers no one have to move.”I don’t want my friends to have to go to Denver,” Layton said. “I think people in the corporate office should be close to the actual resort so they can keep an eye on things and make sure everything is running right.”Layton’s friend Lindsey Edwards commiserated, saying, “It sucks that they would make them go.”
But 100 resorts employees are being asked to get ready to pack up and ship out nonetheless. And, of course, there’s always the option of letting the job go to stay in the mountains. Rick Smith, the resort’s vice president of human resources, has already chosen not to move to the new Denver location and parted with the company, Katz said in his letter.John Wetmore, owner of the Salad Factory, Inc. in Avon, is also reluctant to see the resort workers leave town – they make up part of his lunch crowd.”That’s 100 people who aren’t buying lunches from me,” Wetmore said. “But it doesn’t really affect me at all, except for that.”Wetmore said the Salad Factory also regularly catered meals for the Vail Resorts’ offices – a check that will go to someone else when the offices move down the hill. A couple doors down, Masato Okamoto, owner of Masato’s Japanese restaurant, said people in town means money in town.
But despite the financial impact, both Wetmore and Okamoto said they understand the transition, which Wetmore guessed will lead to cheaper rent, lower business expenses and lower living costs. To valley resident Brandon Rosario, the whole deal smacks of inevitable progress.”It’s 100 more people out of the valley, which is fine because people keep on moving into the valley,” Rosario said. “In this day and age, I don’t think it matters that much.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or email@example.com. Vail, Colorado