Steamboat Springs Rays of sunshine are filtering through the dark clouds of the recession, casting light on several Yampa Street businesses.
Sunpie's Bistro's owners are trying to buy their lot. Sweet Pea Market has changed locations, and owners are considering a year-round operation. Crepe business Mountain Mama's has set up shop on a Yampa Street lot for summer, and Steamboat Flyfisher plans to open in The Olympian on Yampa in June.
Sunpie's, at 735 Yampa St., has started its fifth summer, said Mike Miller, who owns the bistro with his wife, Colleen. A Denver man owns the property, and Colorado Group Realty and then Green Courte Partners were the landlords and property managers until April 30, Miller said.
The bistro and bar's initial lease was three years. The Millers then received a one-year extension. The plan always was to develop the space into something else, Mike Miller said. But the recession has changed the development landscape. Now, he and Colleen hope to make their business's home permanent.
"We've known all along that the lease was going to be up at the end of April," he said. "So anytime you get a chance to buy it, you try. We've been talking to the owner since December."
The couple is renting month to month while they try to negotiate a deal, Miller said. He expects Sunpie's to be open through summer even if a purchase doesn't work out.
Miller noted that business has been steady despite the recession.
"Everybody's been down, and we've been up," he said. "So we appreciate all the people that keep coming in."
The Millers' hopes partly prompted Sweet Pea's move. The open-air produce market sat on property that's part of the Sunpie's parcel, co-owner Jonathon Hieb said. So he and Katherine Zambrana are moving their business one slot east, to what was once One Stop Ski Shop.
Construction was in full swing last week. They're using beetle-killed wood in the building and plan to offer outdoor seating along the Yampa River, Hieb said. Sweet Pea is scheduled to open Saturday.
"I think we're going to make it," he said. "It's going to be tight."
The summertime market also moved because health officials want floors and walls for businesses that sell eggs and dairy, Hieb said. He and Zambrana have expanded their offerings throughout the years and might expand them further if they opt to stay open all year.
They haven't decided on that yet, Hieb said, but they're preparing the building just in case.
"It is definitely a consideration : right now," Hieb said. "I would say that we're leaning toward it. The biggest challenge for going year-round for us is how we're going to be different from Bamboo (Market) and Healthy Solutions."
Sweet Pea is adding a kitchen, which could allow it to offer bakery items or cafe products, Hieb said. The owners don't want the spot to be just another grocery store.
"The past two years, we've been really trying to increase our produce line of being local within Colorado, and we're about 80 percent there now, which is really, really neat," he said.
Across the street and down a block, sisters Jill, Julie and Tara Wernig are setting up for summer business at Fifth Street and Yampa. The women started Mountain Mama's this winter, selling crepes out of a caboose at Gondola Transit Center.
They plan to open June 5, Jill Wernig said. The shop will operate 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and they'll stay open a bit later Friday and Saturday, Wernig said.
The menu is "going to be a little bit pared down, but there's going to be all of our favorites," Wernig said.
The winter season was decent for the business, though traffic slowed after Christmas, Wernig said. Mountain Mama's will be open through September, depending on weather and whether they take the caboose to music festivals, she said.
"We're expecting a big summer," Wernig said. "People are looking for something different to eat."
Nearby, at the new Olympian, Steamboat Flyfisher is preparing to open. Co-partner Tim Kirkpatrick said the shop would be ready in early June, and a grand opening is planned for June 13.
Things are moving quickly on Yampa, Hieb noted.
"It's kind of strange how much things can change in a year on that one street," he said.