More national chains on the way, some say |

More national chains on the way, some say

Dominique TaylorCameron Clower, left, from Eagle Appraisals unloads his office-supply purchases to be scanned by customer service agent Jamies Sanchez at Office Depot in Avon. Local experts expect to see more local-targeted business like Office Depot pop up here over the next few years.

In the early days of Vail, you had to go to Denver just to get a Big Mac.

While McDonald’s came to the Vail Valley long ago, many locals will tell you there are lots of businesses that are still missing here.

Is it a Whole Foods that you want more than anything? One’s coming to Pitkin County in the next year or two, but not to Eagle County ” yet.

How about a Target? There’s one in Glenwood Springs, and one in Summit County, and developers have even talked to local towns about bringing a Target here. But those plans now seem stale.

Some rejoice at the rumor of a Sonic coming to Gypsum. Jeff Shrull, town manager for Gypsum, said he doesn’t know if that’s anything more than a rumor.

Greg Moffet, a Vail resident, said the area could use more movie theaters, even though there’s one in Eagle and one in Edwards. The new Solaris development, which is supposed to be completed in 2009, will bring one to Vail.

And maybe a bookstore, too, he said.

“And I’m talking about a real bookstore,” Moffet said, pointing to something like Borders, which his family visits when they’re stopping in Summit County.

And a big, discount pet store.

“It’s hard to find a decent selection of pet food in the county,” he said.

Costco ” plus online shopping ” has filled in a lot of the holes that once existed in Moffet’s shopping needs, he said.

Experts say Eagle County can expect to see more and more locals-oriented chain stores ” like Target and Best Buy ” as the population reaches the critical mass that retailers look to for expansion.

“I think that’s an inevitability,” said Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County. “They blanketed America in the metro area, and now they’re moving into smaller areas.”

As the county’s full-time population grows, its retail landscape is moving from boutique stores and tourist-targeted retail to “everyday retail,” Cohen said, citing recent additions like Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Costco.

There’s room in the Traer Creek development in Avon for one more big box or two to three more mid-sized box stores, Cohen said.

Otherwise, the big chain stores will be moving in to Eagle and Gypsum, he said.

Even in Vail proper, developers see holes to fill among the town’s retail offerings.

Mark Masinter, a developer who wants to rebuild the Lionshead parking structure into a $600 million project that includes some 90,000 square feet of retail space, said he’s been studying what stores Vail is lacking.

“Women, especially, have told me when they have to do better-end shopping, they have to either drive to Cherry Creek Mall or Park Meadows Mall in Denver or drive to Aspen,” Masinter said.

Masinter has mentioned chains like J. Crew, Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie as potential stores in the project, which hasn’t been approved yet by the town.

There’s also a lot of room for new kinds of restaurants, Masinter said.

“There isn’t a significant Asian concept in the town of Vail,” Masinter said. “High-end sushi, Asian fusion.”

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