Developer Chris Wittemyer said the Stagecoach Marketplace, when it is built, will have a "nice ranch/country store feel to it." Construction may begin as soon as this summer, he said.

Courtesy/Hawkins Architects

Developer Chris Wittemyer said the Stagecoach Marketplace, when it is built, will have a "nice ranch/country store feel to it." Construction may begin as soon as this summer, he said.

Stagecoach store site for sale

Developer exploring ways to get commercial space built

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Courtesy/Hawkins Architects

Developer Chris Wittemyer said the Stagecoach Marketplace, when it is built, will have a "nice ranch/country store feel to it." Construction may begin as soon as this summer, he said.

Time line of Stagecoach development

July 2004 - Developer Chris Wittemyer, an owner of Stagecoach Ski Corp., presents a sketch plan for a 6,500-square-foot general store at Routt County Road 212 and Schussmark Trail in Stagecoach. The general store would offer gasoline pumps, a restaurant, a liquor store and space for other commercial uses.

October 2004 - Routt County commissioners approve initial plans for the proposed general store, saying the project is a "leap forward for the Stagecoach community." The store would sit on a 2.2-acre site. Wittemyer predicts the store being built by summer 2005.

June 2005 - Routt County commissioners approve final plans for the store contingent on several conditions, including amending the site's special-use permit to remove the Stagecoach Marketplace parcel from a potential ski area parcel. Wittemyer predicts construction to begin in spring 2006.

Summer 2006 - Water, sewer and electric lines are brought to the Stagecoach Marketplace construction site.

December 2006 - Wittemyer begins private discussion with parties interested in building the Stagecoach Marketplace as soon as this summer.

— Three years after proposing Stagecoach's first commercial development, developer Chris Wittemyer is looking for someone else to build and operate the store.

Although the proposed 9,500-square-foot building on a 2.2-acre site in Stagecoach isn't listed in the local real estate market, Wittemyer said he is talking with several interested parties about the store. Stagecoach Marketplace would include a 24-hour gas station, a liquor store, a grocery store and a coffee shop.

"We're just trying to find the best way to get it built and make it economically viable," he said Wednesday. "It's a real chicken-and-egg situation because our goal is to set it up to succeed, not fail. To support a business, Stagecoach needs more people."

It's no secret the Stagecoach area is booming with several new housing developments, but it could take years for the Stagecoach Marketplace to support itself, Wittemyer said.

"My intention was never to operate a gas station, which is why we're looking at creating an opportunity to allow someone else to do this," he said. "It might make more sense to give someone the incentive to own the building than to just lease it."

Wittemyer said he remains optimistic that the store could be built this summer.

"Ultimately, it will be very successful. Initially, it will need a lot of support," he said. "I expect it to take years for it to be fully supported."

Construction has begun to extend water and sewer lines to Routt County Road 212 and Schussmark Trail, where the store eventually will be built. However, additional line extensions and roadwork still needs to be completed.

"It's not like this project has just sat still," he said. "Over $100,000 worth of work went into it last summer."

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

JazzSlave 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm betting a liquor store would do quite nicely in Stagecoach.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 3 months ago

Actually, fourseasons, Space Station worked just fine in Steamboat. It was there for over 30 years. Back in 1979-ish is when Go-Fer Foods was added. (I was a kid and helped fetch stuff for the workers on weekends.)

Go-Fer Foods & Space Station gas (which used to be separate businesses when I worked for Cal Ranck) were one of the most popular places for locals & visitors to pick up items quickly. It was always busy when I worked there during the night, even during mud season.

What didn't work for Space Station was a developer offering Monument Oil some big bucks for the land, no doubt. As for not enough volume in Stagecoach to warrant a liquor store...that's just funny! Gee: who here can count on more than a few dozen hands how many people drink or party in Stagecoach? (raises as many hands as possible)

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 3 months ago

Fourseasons- I said I could count on over a few dozen HANDS, not just fingers. I think a gas station/liquor store...maybe as close as could be allowed to the marina...would thrive. Next closest gas station is a few miles to Oak Creek; same with a liquor store. I know a lot of people who hate driving to OC from Stagecoach to get booze or cigs.

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

There are lots of people who look around for business opportunities in resort towns. Basically, they leave some other place, buy a job in the new town by opening or purchasing a business and then hope for the best.

The fact that there's not already a store at Stagecoach probably tells the tale. Banks just don't lend money without collateral, which means you've either got to have a very strong business already established and showing a good cash flow, or you have to get investors to guarantee the loan. The thing you really need is a chain to get behind the Stagecoach location with a corporate owned store. If Go-Fer, 7-11 or Kum-n-Go doesn't want the location, it's either too expensive or not attractive from a business standpoint.

For one thing, is it worth it for suppliers to come up 131 from I-70 or back from Steamboat to Stagecoach to deliver stock? There's a lot involved in running a retail business, and if you're going to put in the 60 to 80 hours a week required to make a go of it, it's got to be a sure thing.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 3 months ago

ID- very true words, but if they can make it to stock things at OC, it could be done in Stagecoach. The next 5 or so years will see even bigger growth down there. This last year has seen developments that can double the current area population of Stagecoach. The biggest thing that would hold that growth back is rising prices. Lots are staggeringly high compared to just a couple of years ago, as are condo/townhome prices down there.

Should the area stay fairly affordable as a bedroom community for Steamboat, services will thrive down there. If prices continue to climb out of reach so that it's full of 3month visiting owners, then no: a gas station would most certainly not last, let alone any other type of service store.

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

You would not believe how much it costs to keep lights and refrigerated storage running in a retail store.

Thanks to the new Congress, it now costs a business owner a minimum of $4,800 in direct labor cost to keep a business open 20 hours a day, 30 days a month, with only one employee in the store.

Oh, and then there's propane for heat . . . and insurance cost and workmens comp and unemployment insurance and license fees and rental or mortgage payments and some others I've probably forgotten. Oh, yeah, an accountant unless you can handle all that yourself. And a refrigeration repair guy and a plumber a couple of times a year, and whatever the EPA and the Colorado Department of Revenue require for fuel sales facilities. Oh, yeah, and the credit card terminals.

So the deal is that by the time you add up the minimums just to keep the doors open, you're talking $10,000 a month in expenses before you purchase inventory.

And what does it take to own a house in Stagecoach? Is $100,000 a year in gross income for the owner enough to live down there? If so, that means you've got to NET at least $220,000 a year on what you sell to make it worth your while. This means that, at a 60% markup on a bag of chips that sells for 99 cents, you've got to be selling 50 bags per hour every hour that you're open.

And hope the kid you hired to work behind the counter from 6 PM to midnight (his part-time job, after his regular day job) doesn't sell beer to minors before closing up for the night. That way, when you arrive at 4 AM to open the place and make coffee and bake muffins (pre-prepped stuff that you buy from Sysco or Alliant) for the 5 AM breakfast rush, you won't have been up all night dealing with the aftermath of the failed compliance check.

Oh, yeah, and somebody has to clean the bathrooms.

All of this adds up to why so many small businesses are family run. Unless you have a whole family in there running the place for the equivalent of a single decent income, it's very hard to make a go of it. Then it begs the question, if you're never going to see anything but the inside of a store, why live in a place where the cost of living is so high?

Might it be better to go back to a real town and a real job, pull in a nice paycheck with benefits and paid vacation time, and maybe spend a couple of weeks in the mountains on vacation a couple of times a year?

Yeah, it be better. Don't ask me how I know.

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