Your favroite shops await easier Avon
Vail, CO Colorado
AVON ” The buildings in Avon will creep closer to the sky. Streets will be straightened, moved, and added.
New restaurants, coffee shops and clothing stores will line the sidewalks. New locals will fill apartments above boutiques and law offices.
In the next decade or two, Avon will start looking a little like downtown Denver instead of a bedroom community at the base of a ski resort.
And amidst this drastically changing town, Teresa Minami, longtime owner of Hair West and Skin Aesthetics in the Avon Annex, doesn’t know just yet how her business will fit in, if it can fit in at all.
Maybe the super-charged bustle will be great for business ” in fact, that’s even likely. Or maybe the onslaught of change ” which will include relocation for herself and other businesses ” could be too much to handle, she said.
“You got to make up your mind if you’re going to be a part of it,” she said. “Who knows what’s coming next?”
She’s one of many long standing business owners in Avon who are figuring out where their place is in the town’s sweeping effort to become a destination instead of an that place between Interstate 70 and Beaver Creek mountain.
Already, some businesses know they’ll have to relocate and make room for the new Avon. Businesses in the Annex, for example, could be some of the first to go. Leases won’t be renewed for the long haul, the building will come down, a brand new one will go up, and Avon will have some new shops and homes.
So, the current tenants must decide if they can still make it in Avon, if they should move to Edwards, if they can afford to move at all or if it’s time to choose a new career.
Minami, who’s been at her Avon location for 12 years, said she at least talks like she’ll stick around, but then again, she doesn’t really know. She likes doing business in Avon, but the cost and stress of relocating, even in-town, is something she hadn’t planned to deal with, and in which she didn’t have much choice.
“It’s exhausting and expensive ” you feel like the rug has been pulled from underneath you,” Minami said. “You wonder where you’ll get the money to do it.”
She admits that the town’s plans might be good for business ” she just wonders where she’ll end up, who her new neighbors will be, what competition might move in and if Avon will lose the charm of a small mountain town. Will it become too urban, she wonders.
Her uncertainty is mirrored at Doctors on Call, an appointment free walk-in clinic that’s been around for more than 17 years. They’ll have to find a new home as well, and while they’d like to stay in Avon, they don’t know if that’s a possibility when vying for limited office space in a small town with well financed competitors.
“I don’t want to end up in a bidding war for the survival of a business,” said Jill Kovacevich, practice manager at Doctors on Call.
So, they’re already preparing for the possibility of moving to Edwards and even as far as Eagle, a move they really don’t want to make. They love Avon, they love treating the locals and fear losing a lot of their patients if forced to move downvalley.
“Why should we have to go through moving to another community?” Kovacevich said.
Despite the inevitable hassles that will come with change, it’s easy for these businesses to at least acknowledge the town’s reasoning for wanting to revitalize its downtown.
“The sense of ‘town’ in Avon is a little strange” not the way somebody would choose to draw it if they were to lay it out from scratch,” said Frank Lilly, who owns another business that will soon have to move ” Copy Copy.
The new roundabout at Avon and Benchmark roads, a gateway project to the rest of the urban renewal, already seems to be an improvement, something that could help draw in business, he said.
“I always had a hard time giving people directions there,” Lilly said.
But Lilly questions how far a government should go in pushing those sorts of changes. He hopes the town will show good judgment when faced with the temptation of high rise buildings and cumbersome developments that overshadow the community the locals have grown to love.
He’ll have to move in a couple years, and he hopes it’s for a good reason. “Clearly they have a role to play, but government doesn’t always know best,” Lilly said.
Kovacevich also sees the benefits of the urban renewal, and for the most part, is in favor of it. She likes the idea of a renewed focus of bringing full-time residents into the core of Avon instead of sending them to the fringes. Residents give stability to communities and provide a new stream of business, she said.
Kovacevich said existing businesses should get first picks in new developments, and at the very least, constant communication between the town and developers so they can plan in the next few years.
The town will have some ability to help out these businesses, said Eric Heidemann, community development director for the town.
“As part of our urban renewal, the town can request that we’d like to see certain businesses be given space from the developers,” Heidemann said. “A lot of it though will be personal issues between a landlord and tenant. We want to work to make sure that people aren’t out of the loop.”
Lilly and Minami both said they’ve been told they’ll have priority leasing in any new developments, but they’ll just have to wait and see when it happens.
“It could be another long while before anything actually starts,” Lilly said.
Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or email@example.com.
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