Steamboat Springs Gary Roney couldn't be more pleased to take the reins as new owner of Market on the Mountain.
The Missouri native worked for Bill and Kay Stuart at the market for 16 years, taking ownership May 1. Roney came to Steamboat Springs from Kansas City, Mo., at the suggestion of his father, Dean Vogelaar.
He worked first at Steamboat Resorts for his parents' friend Steve Dawes.
"I saw very quickly that he's a hard worker, and he brought that Midwestern work ethic," Dawes said.
Roney said he learned a lot from the man he still calls "Mr. Dawes."
"He was a great person to have around for your first year," he said.
Roney started as a part-timer at Market on the Mountain in 1994. He moved to full time in 1995, becoming manager in 1998 and general manager about five years ago.
"He had a strong desire to learn the business, and he had a good rapport with the other employees," Dawes said.
Roney's mother, Cathy Vogelaar, owns Steamboat Floral and Gifts. She hired her son when she and Dean worked for the Kansas City Royals baseball club. He was 16 when he started there.
Gary "ran the press boxes and worked for all the media relations," Vogelaar said.
The Stuarts "kind of stole him" from Dawes, she said with a chuckle.
"He's been with them ever since, and it's been a very positive, wonderful, wonderful story," Vogelaar said.
Market on the Mountain sits at Village Drive and AprÃs Ski Way, smack in the middle of condominium central. It's open year-round and offers staple food items, snacks and deli products, as well as a liquor store.
Roney said he looked forward to his new role but enjoyed working for the Stuarts. The couple couldn't be reached for comment last week.
"They're outstanding," he said. "That's why I stuck with the job for 16 years. They've been a great part of this community, great bosses."
The Stuarts and Roney have talked about the ownership switch for 10 years, Roney said.
"It was always in the plans," he said.
Both parties decided the time was right. The Stuarts have retired, Roney said, adding that he expects the couple to stay involved in Steamboat's community. Bill Stuart has been active in the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, for example, Roney said.
He wanted to take the helm mostly because he sees the market as a viable business that fills a need.
"I feel this is a successful business," he said. "We get great support from management companies around Steamboat and great support from locals."
Roney plans to make few changes at the market - so few that he was reluctant even to discuss them. He switched the music from classical to jazz. He's adding a few recipes.
He also plans to be involved in the community.
"I still plan on being part of the Chamber, still plan on being part of the airline program and making sure we're working with the management companies around here," Roney said.
He's pleased with the staff he has in place and isn't overly worried about the economic recession.
"I think you have to be nervous even if it wasn't this economy," Roney said. "It's something when you're a new business owner, and you spend money, and you spend time. : I am nervous, but I'm looking forward to it."