Visions of Starbucks in Vail still rumors
There are Starbucks, and rumors of Starbucks. So far, the rumors are just that.
The local rumor mill has Starbucks Coffee opening two company-owned stores in Vail, one at the Apex Lodge in West Vail, the other in the former Platzl location at the top of Bridge Street in Vail Village. So far, though, company representatives say they have no firm plans for new stores in the area. There are already four Starbucks locations in the valley
“We don’t have a signed lease for any locations in Vail,” said Bridgett Barrett, marketing director at the Starbucks regional office in Denver. “If things change, we’ll let you know.”
If Starbucks does come into Vail Village, the firm will buck a longtime trend. At the moment, the Village has no national chains. Several national chains have had locations in Vail Village in the past, including Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King and Polo. None of those stores lasted very long.
“Franchises haven’t historically been viewed as something we want to encourage,” said Kaye Ferry, president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association. But, she added, the town doesn’t prohibit franchise stores, and times are changing.
One of the bigger changes is that as Vail redevelops, retail spaces are getting bigger.
“Store sizes have been right around 1,000 square feet, and that hasn’t been enough to accommodate franchises,” Ferry said. “But spaces are going to get bigger, and as spaces stay vacant, landlords will do what they need to do.”
While not concerned about her own Vail Village business, Blizzard’s Deli owner Tracy Long said she is concerned about the future of Covered Bridge Coffee. That shop, tucked below street level on the village side of the covered bridge, is currently closed during the construction on lower Bridge Street.
“It might be good for the town,” Long said. “People from all over are accustomed to Starbucks in their neighborhoods. It makes them feel welcome.”
Starbucks is also a place where people like to linger, Long said.
“And anything that gets people to hang out in Vail Village is a good thing,” she said.
While Starbucks isn’t announcing anything at the moment, Long said the village is buzzing with speculation about the company coming in. Ferry said Starbucks in the village is likely to happen.
“I think it’s probably inevitable that they’ll come,” Ferry said.