Clark's Market under new ownership


— Robert Ellsworth sees too many people slip through the sliding doors of Clark's Market with no intention of shopping for groceries.

Now he hopes to give them a reason to stay.

Clark's Market fell under new ownership Friday.

Ellsworth, the owner of Curve Development, took over the struggling grocery store in west Steamboat's Elk River Crossing.

Curve Development brought in Curve Deli last August to replace the deli run by Clark's Market.

The new deli succeeded despite the grocery store's financial woes and established a following of people who visited Clark's Market only to shop at Curve Deli.

"People would come in, and they would turn right (to the deli)," Ellsworth said.

He intends to repeat the deli's success with Curve Market and Deli.

The new grocery store will offer customers a local feel they did not find at the old market, Anne Halloran said.

Halloran, owner of Bamboo Market, is working with Ellsworth to improve the store's selection.

Ellsworth plans to expand and improve the produce section by bringing in organic and natural foods and supplements.

"It will be more of a community-based store," Halloran said.

It may take 30 days to replace the old Clark's Market signs, but change is already in the air.

Staff will be added, such as an on-site butcher at the meat department.

Ellsworth plans to take advantage of an already experienced staff.

Curve Deli managers Darcy Tufts and Susan Marno, grocery manager Lloyd Crull and assistant grocery manager Gary Cole will remain and take the helm of the new store.

Curve Development began negotiations with Clark's Market almost three months ago.

Ellsworth wanted to ensure continuity at the grocery store by keeping the same contracts with suppliers.

The change of ownership will not disrupt day-to-day operations at Curve Market, he said.

Curve Market will better represent the community, because the people who run the operation will understand Steamboat Springs, Ellsworth said.

Outside executives from the Clark's Market headquarters in Utah, who knew little about the people in Steamboat, oversaw Clark's Market, he said.

Ellsworth's stepbrother, James Borglum, and Byron Chrisman of Steamboat Springs share the ownership of Curve Development.

The people at the forefront of the switch intend to listen closely to the needs and demands of their customers.

Managers intend to make themselves available to shoppers who come to the store with suggestions.

"What's going to make the difference is that we will have contact with the customers," Ellsworth said.

A third grocery store can survive in Steamboat Springs, he said.

As the west end of Steamboat continues to grow, the need for a market in a closer location will grow, he added.

The store should hold its grand opening in two months.


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