Sweetwater Grill owner Kim Haggarty, who bought All That Jazz on Wednesday, and former store owner Joe Kboudi discuss their plans for the future of the downtown Steamboat institution.
Steamboat Springs Wednesday was Kim Haggarty’s birthday. But there was another monumental event that gave her even more cause for celebration late in the afternoon: The Steamboat resident and Sweetwater Grill owner had just closed on the purchase of downtown music and gift store All That Jazz.
“I’m excited for the new adventure,” she said.
The store was closed Tuesday and Wednesday while she and former owner Joe Kboudi went over inventory for the sale. The store will reopen Thursday, and it won’t look much different from when Kboudi owned it.
Haggarty plans to keep him on as a consultant and manager, which is exactly what he had hoped for.
Kboudi, who opened the store 34 years ago, had put the store up for sale at the end of August with the intention of retiring from running the store. On Wednesday, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“It feels fabulous,” he said. “I wanted someone to buy it who would carry on the legacy.”
That legacy, he said, is the music.
He said many people have tried to tell him that a brick-and-mortar music store was no longer a viable business and that he should concentrate on the gift and clothing sales that occupy about half of the store.
But he wouldn’t back down from investing in new and used vinyl, CDs and local music.
Haggarty shares the same values.
“Every town needs a music store,” Haggarty said. “It would be weird without it. It would be like not having a coffee shop or a bookstore.”
Haggarty won $27 million in the Colorado Lottery in 1992 and opened Sweetwater Grill in 2010.
The business transaction was quick and painless. Within two weeks of putting the store up for sale, Kboudi began to contact local people he thought would be interested. He called Haggarty and made the proposal.
“I was intrigued,” she said.
In less than a month, Haggarty had family, friends and business associates look over the books and decide it was a viable business. In the past 10 days, she and her brother Joe Walker, who runs Sweetwater Grill, had gotten all the paperwork, licenses and bank accounts out of the way.
She even had her children’s blessing.
“They love it,” she said. “It’s like paradise for them.”
She purchased the business and the inventory in separate transactions. The pair would not comment on how much the business sold for. Kboudi had it listed for $275,000 when he first put it up for sale.
Steve Hitchcock, a broker with Prudential Steamboat Realty, represented both parties in the deal. He said the transaction took place “remarkably fast.”
“It was the classic example of a good deal for everyone,” he said. Hitchcock is also the owner of Zirkel Trading, a downtown retail business a block away from All That Jazz.
He said the sale prevented downtown from losing an important business.
“All That Jazz is one of the anchor businesses of downtown,” he said. “It’s the kind of place that locals and regular visitors hope and expect to visit again and again.”
Haggarty said she plans to continue to enhance the merchandise in the store, keeping the music inventory at a “good level” while expanding gift and clothing offerings with the combined effort of Kboudi’s expertise and a fresh eye from Haggarty.
They hope to have more live music in the store from local musicians.
All of the employees will remain with a few new faces from Sweetwater Grill running the books, and Kboudi will get to spend more time on the floor doing what he loves: talking about music with his customers.
Haggarty and Kboudi said they’re not worried about any challenges coming down the pipeline, even in a rocky economy.
“We think this store has a really good niche,” Kboudi said.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com