The Ghost Ranch closed indefinitely on Oct. 30, 2011, after three years of operation. At the time, the owner said the venue would reopen at a later date.

The Ghost Ranch closed indefinitely on Oct. 30, 2011, after three years of operation. At the time, the owner said the venue would reopen at a later date.

Ghost Ranch Saloon in Steamboat closes down indefinitely

Employees let go after owner says new management and direction are needed

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Music event change

String Board Theory was scheduled to play a 10 p.m. Halloween show at Ghost Ranch Saloon on Monday night. The band will now be playing at Old Town Pub.

— The Ghost Ranch Saloon in downtown Steamboat Springs closed its doors indefinitely Sunday after all of its employees were told they no longer had jobs.

Owner Jean Sagouspe said Sunday that he plans to reopen the bar and music venue, which employed about 22 full- and part-time employees, under new management, but he did not say when that might take place.

“The Ghost Ranch has gotten away from its original vision over the last 12 months, and I’d like to get it back on the right track by bringing in new management to start over,” Sagouspe said. “It was not doing what I expected.”

Sagouspe said he’s working to find a new manager who he would work with to develop a fresh business plan for the Ghost Ranch.

“It would be hard to do that while we were still running, and I decided to close it during one of our slower times of the year,” Sagouspe said.

He said Monday he would inform the bands that already were scheduled to play at the saloon and would work with them to either reschedule or refund their deposits.

The saloon, which opened in May 2009 downtown on Seventh Street, has hosted numerous concerts and can accommodate as many as 400 people in its 7,000-square-foot space. The building previously was home to Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and underwent a significant redesign to be transformed into a restaurant and bar.

Brooks Graham, a bartender at the Ghost Ranch since it opened, said employees were notified of the closure at a brief meeting with Sagouspe on Sunday afternoon. He said employees were told the venue was closed because of financial issues and not because of the staff.

“(Jean) said the business has been running at a loss,” Graham said. “Jean has been absorbing that loss for the last three years, and it has come to a head. He could not continue on the business path he was already on. It’s not anybody’s fault. No devious things were going on. It’s just business and the numbers didn’t work.”

Asked about Sunday’s meeting with employees, Sagouspe said no financial issues led to the closure. He said the music venue was not performing how he expected and that he closed it so it could be restructured under new management.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Jason Miller 3 years, 1 month ago

What a bad time to lose your job.But they should be hiring for ski season.

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bigfatdog 3 years, 1 month ago

thank god! one opinion...bring back the western themed focus and the larger community will be patroning GRS once again. The venue is too special for the direction it was following.

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 1 month ago

Finally a bar get's shut down because of the managers corruption.. Looks like we should take a closer look at what alcohol is doing to this town!!! Instead of trying to shut down legitimate businesses' like dispensaries. The bar's are far more dangerous and destructive to the community and no one seems to be pointing the finger at who is doing what wrong. Until now !

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seeuski 3 years, 1 month ago

They shut down to eliminate the knit cap crowd who frequently were seeking relief from unknown pain out the back door. That crowd kept away the business that mattered.

You invited that one skiforfree

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually they shut down the place because of embezzlement... So maybe you should think twice about what you say seeuski!

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 1 month ago

Looks like the drinks are about to become more expensive at the GR.

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MsRed 3 years, 1 month ago

Seems like some people out there (skifree) may have additional "insider" information...any thing you"d like to share with the class skifree?? or just repeating rumors?? I didn't see any of that in the story- but as we all know there is probably more to this one.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 3 years, 1 month ago

Worse bartenders, service in town. Some change will be good there.

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sashas 3 years, 1 month ago

If you believe in karma, that might be the case here, for the owners not even allowing locals to audition to play music there.

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Gregory Effinger 3 years, 1 month ago

Please don't believe anything you read or hear on the streets. There was no embezzling or any staff issues.

Jean said in the story, "It’s not anybody’s fault. No devious things were going on. It’s just business and the numbers didn’t work.”

We all know that the team there did a heck of a job!

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 1 month ago

Ditto Gregory's remark. Jean's a straight arrow and a sharp operator.

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greenwash 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh Really , This isnt rocket science.....CASH business with an OFF site owner NEVER works...Ummm remember Amy Garris ? Where is she now?? Once again not rocket science......Pioneer Spirits where is it now???Once again not rocket science.Duh.

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isaac barber 3 years, 1 month ago

"A business and the numbers didn't work?" That bar was always packed. How can you lose money charging what they did for drinks? izyc

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 1 month ago

For MsRed and the rest of you. Listen to greenwash he obviously connected the dots...

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 1 month ago

But if the business was good, but theft was killing it then you keep the business model and replace the staff.

When looking for a new business model then it does make sense to close.

And presumably, anyone so smart that knows how it should be making lots of money should contact the owner and offer to manage the business.

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greenwash 3 years, 1 month ago

Add the cost of the real estate , cost for remodel , overall operation costs ,competition from "other " like business's , lack of population and throw in an off site owner , this thing was doomed from day one .

Here is my advice to those wanting to open or are opening a restaurant or bar or subshop , DONT DO IT !!!! You will LOSE LOSE LOSE .

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Kuri 3 years, 1 month ago

Greenwash, I thought Amy Garris was an owner/co-owner of the Ghost Ranch. She has been consistently referred to as such in the Pilot. Is this no longer the case?

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 1 month ago

"He said Monday he would inform the bands that already were scheduled to play at the saloon and would work with them to either reschedule or refund their deposits."

Can someone in the class explain this to me? Whose deposit? Is the band paying a deposit to play the gig (as is common in NYC) or is the GR paying the band a deposit?

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Jodav 3 years, 1 month ago

You all should get your facts straight. yes there are rumors of embezzlement but rumors are rumors and just that. We probably won't know the full story and do we really need too. the bottom line is a grt place to hang out is shut down for the time being. Ski free how do you know there was corruption there. All bars have some sort of issues and those that don't are lying. Greg has said it best. I guess i'll end it for now with believe what you want and all the rumors if you want. For me I'll wait and see what happens. Theres more impotant things in life rt now to worry about besides why and what made a business shut down for the time being and was there foul play/ embezzlement. Love to all who work at and for the Ghost Ranch. I'll miss seein yas there. For now that is.

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Jonathan Huge 3 years, 1 month ago

I for one am sad that the Ghost Ranch is going through this difficult time, and sincerely hope that they find a way to reopen. While there were obvious, and perhaps not as obvious, problems there, I always felt welcomed and warmly received. The Ghost Ranch truly puts Steamboat on the map in terms of the Colorado and national music scene. One needs only to spend a few minutes with the piano in the "Green Room" - covered in signatures from famous and not-so-famous groups to know this. Some of my favorites among the many: Sam Bush. The Infamous Stringdusters. Greensky Bluegrass. Trampled By Turtles. With the closing of Ghost Ranch (hopefully temporarily - though I noticed their website has been gutted today), Steamboat has a void. We probably won't be seeing the Infamous Stringdusters in the other bars in town, though they WERE scheduled to come back to the GR in January (I did get to see them this past summer, but I had to drive to REDROCKS to do it). In response to some of those who have posted negative comments about the GR, I'd only say, no venue can be all things for all people. And though there is a perception that the Ghost Ranch had somehow 'lost' the community, I'd like to remind that in the community-surveyed "Best of the Boat" awards, the people of Steamboat voted the Ghost Ranch: Best Bar, Best Music Venue, Best Place to Dance; and it scored second in Best Late-Night Fare, and Best Bartender. Let's hope that the Ghost Ranch can resurrect itself in such as way as to continue to fill its role as the premier music venue in town.

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 1 month ago

Jonathan, I don't put much credence in the "Best of the Boat" awards. I voted for my favorite musicians multiple times. I'll see if I can overload the ballot in your favor next year.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 3 years, 1 month ago

GRS was a let down. Had high hope for a cool music venue. The space was probably too small to begin with. Bartenders seemed to feel it was MY privilege to have THEM serve me. Change should be a good thing for this place. I'm sure their neighbors are celebrating. Best of the Boat awards don't mean much. GRS was the best music venue only because of lack of any competition. Build something at the base area, I miss Dos Amigos and Levels.

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

I didn't wonder, back before they opened, how they planned on paying for that massive remodel and super sound system, not to mention the high rent. The answer was obvious: High prices. Some of their cover charges WERE prohibitive, for the B-grade bands they usually hosted. I had visions of national acts, maybe Lyle Lovett or Leftover or Charlie or Bonnie, not the cult bands they ended up hosting.

Despite the money they spent on ambiance, I always found GR to be cold, almost intimidating. I agree with the above observations, that everybody from the door to the bar made you feel as if they were doing you a favor. Ghost Town, I called it.

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bandmama 3 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps new management will allow a cocktail on a local "wage"? AND perhaps give the local bands a chance to play for much less... just to be heard? OR.....do both and have a year round customer base? Or would that cloud the big buck "NOT working" attempt at Vail-ism in Steamboat? I miss the variety of downtown business. And I miss the many venues that kept me, a "Steamboat-ian" from hangin out downtown after work or on weekends. I find that we spend a lot more time at home and on decks, which is nice also. But we are not spending bucks in town. FYI...keep the locals in mind when you re-open. Have some local jams going on. You will bring in local bucks on cocktails...AND fair cover charges. and oh my!!!! So many local good cooks. make some affordable after hour foods...for those cooks., who need a job, How much goes into good gnocchi and a wild shroom cream sauce???? Let me know if ya want a recipe and portion sizes..... with SOOOOO GUST-OOOOOOHHHHH!!!

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rhys jones 3 years, 1 month ago

I do hope it was employee theft, an ever-present danger in a cash business, which led to GR's hopefully-momentary demise, to return with an honest staff, starting at the top.

Hint to ownership: The nose-candy crowd should be avoided in a staff, while mmj patients are okay, even preferred.

Like Howelsen, GR has quickly grown to be a landmark, and many of us would hate to see that great facility gutted.

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Brian Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

The affordable cover charges comments kill me...let's take Sam Bush for instance...If Sam Bush would play at Red Rocks, all kinds of people would rush to see him play with 4 thousand other people and be glad to pay $45 + for a ticket, never mind driving to Morrison, finding a place to stay etc. But if the Ghost charges $25 and you can see him in a small room with say 300 people and never have to leave town, we locals say the cover charge is outrageous. Really? Even the FREE concerts are NOT FREE people, they cost money and someone is coughing it up to keep them going. The beer we buy alone doesn't cover the tab for these kinds of acts. I saw Big Head Todd play the Sheraton ball room years ago and paid $25/tix and many other locals did the same. We didn't have a problem doing it then, but I think anymore we expect music for FREE, and you know what, it's not.

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Brian Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

Hell, I remember paying $8 to go see a band I had never heard of play at Murphy's and I didn't hesitate. Anywhere else in the country I go to see music I expect a cover charge.

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Jodav 3 years, 1 month ago

Highwaystar you better get your facts straight. Whats that comment about nose candy crowd. If you ah even the least bit implying that's what kind of employees worked there. That is slander and you can be sued for that. I have family that works/worked there. I am so livid that peolple are talking trash about my family and others that work there.How dare you say things about them like that.That is not true there. I could list plenty of bars that have the nose candy crowd working there. But I won't go there.That's their business not mine. But when you slander my family, I will go there. About the employee theft. Why do u hope it is true? Who says they don't have an honest staff now.For the people complaing about High covers When you spend 10,000 for a band you have get the $ from somewhere. Look at what mTnsmith said 45 for a ticket @redrocks plus all the extras that come with seeing a show out of town.Compared to 25 in town. Back in 88 I heard Marshall Tucker play @Sheraton for 14.00. Can't imagine what it would cost 2day. Oh yea greenwash I've worked at cash business places where the owner was out of state. It worked. Again it appears you all seem to know whats going on based upon rumors. Also high drink prices Hunh? I could name lots of bars that have high drink prices. Many are a locals hang out even though bud draft is 4.00 which is more then ghost charges. But again I don't need to name names. Again people watch what you're saying. I don't take kindly to people slandering/bashing a family member. If it was your family I''m sure you'd feel the same way.

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1999 3 years, 1 month ago

I wondered how Swollen Members was there?

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kathy foos 3 years, 1 month ago

Jodav,dont worry about these comments that you dont agree with no one really listens to us anyway, I think its only slander if it isnt true,but I could be wrong.Just words. Anyone reading these comments that has owned a business knows that you need the volume or you are out of the game.People that are living this unstable job market dont have the money to go out anymore,they would if they could,dont take it personal.Just a fact.Maybe a solution would be to only open weekends.Bandmama is so right.When we first moved to the Valley ,my husband and I loved to go to Steamboat for the evening,It was only maybe fifty dollars tops for a great meal and drinks.Then over to that bar on the mountain for a band and dancing.Now I dont think people have the money locally to just lightly go out like this.I dont for sure.I do miss the opportunity,even though I dont drink,to get out.Live band venues are great,but maybe they can cut a break also?Its hard when you are a small business to pay a band,it ends up being a freebe promotion in the end with the owner not making anything except the customers happy(unless they dont like the band,then they are rude)Thank goodness for our local bands.Live music is the best..Good Luck with that business and I hope it all works out for you.Its hard to loose one.

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