Main Street Station in Breckenridge welcomes new businesses
Visitors to Main Street Station in Breckenridge may notice increased activity as the shopping area continues to rebuild after new ownership came on board earlier this year.
This Friday, Main Street Station will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a number of new businesses including: Breck Cycling Lab, the Cheese Shop of Breckenridge, Howard Head Sports Medicine, The Hub and Lolo Juice.
Brent Martin took over operations of the shopping center last spring and has worked closely with local commercial real estate agent Jack Wolfe to reinvigorate Main Street Station.
“We closed at the end of April,” he said. “It’s coming together pretty quickly.”
Wolfe, president of Wolfe and Company, said prior to Martin purchasing the property about half of the stores were vacant, but, since that time,he occupancy rate has reached 75 percent.
“Since late April, Brent and I have spent a lot of time fixing what’s needed,” he said.
Main Street Station opened in early 2002, Wolfe said. Prior to Martin’s takeover, First Allied Corporation controlled the center. The upstate New York-based company is owned by the Glazer family, who also own two professional sports franchises, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League, and English soccer team, Manchester United.
Unlike the former long-distance owners, Martin said he has a different vision for the property and intends to take a more hands-on approach. He appreciates the fact that national retailers are not an ideal fit to fill the empty spaces.
“I’m trying to help tenants and be an advocate,” he said.
Wolfe agreed, noting that local retailers are the key to the future success of Main Street Station.
“You don’t see a lot of national tenants,” he said. “Over the last ten years, a lot of tenants left.”
With roughly 3,000 hotel rooms and condos within walking distance of Main Street Station, Wolfe said the location is prime and has garnered interest from a number of businesses outside of Breckenridge.
“It’s been a great team effort and he (Martin) sees the future,” he said.
Rather than just ink a deal with whoever opened their checkbooks first, Wolfe said he has partnered with Martin to take a considered approach before welcoming new establishments.
“You’ve got to have a marketing strategy, and you’ve got to stick to it,” he said. “We’ve said ‘no’ more than we’ve said ‘yes.’”
The goal is to provide consumers with diverse offerings and avoid competing concepts.
“You can share the same customer but have different products,” he said. “It’s the synergy of having businesses share the same customer.”
Although Wolfe describes the target audience as the typical mom on vacation, he notes the range of companies operating at Main Street Station will likely appeal to all family members.
BUSINESS BUY IN
Judging by comments from the numerous new and expanding businesses at Main Street Station, Martin’s vision is yielding results.
Nico Brown, vice president of operations for Howard Head Sports Medicine, said he has enjoyed interacting with both Martin and Wolfe and believes in their mission to revamp Main Street Station.
“Partnering with groups that have aligned missions and values typically leads to great outcomes,” he said.
Max Krasuski and his wife Lorrie Krebs, who are celebrating the grand opening of Lolo Juice on Friday, described their new business venture as a leap of faith. The couple was regular visitors to the area for years before deciding to plant roots. When Wolfe first broached the topic of available retail space at Main Street Station, Krasuski said the pair had their doubts.
“As tourists, we noticed that Main Street Station was pretty dead,” he said. “When Jack approached us and said he had a space, we backed up and said prove it.”
The couple was impressed after learning details of Martin and Wolfe’s vision to inject life and commerce into Main Street Station.
“They put a strong case together,” Krasuski said. “It’s not just 15 clothing or t-shirt shops.”
As they have prepared to open Lolo Juice, Krasuski said the synergy among stores has been palatable.
“All the businesses around here, true to Breck form, share a camaraderie,” he said. “We’re all happy for each other’s success.”
The Cheese Shop of Breckenridge will also celebrate its grand opening on Friday. Courtney and Brooks Leedahl are launching the new gourmet venture. They said the tides of change are evident at the shopping area.
“There is a real sense of camaraderie among the tenants and the owners to revitalize Main Street Station,” Brooks Leedahl said. “We are all looking forward to sharing what our businesses have to offer with the town and its visitors.”
Nick Truitt, who operates the Breck Cycling Lab and Breck Bike Guides with his partner Sydney Fox, said a need to expand lead to a conversation with Wolfe, who offered a solution.
“The reason we added Breck Cycling Lab at Main Street Station is because we couldn’t fit enough people in the corner of the shop in Four Season Plaza,” he said. “Jack is a customer of ours in the cycling studio and actually came in to ask about classes. I told Jack that we could fit him in the classes if we had a bigger space, and, the next thing we knew, we were setting up our new space.”
James Lee, co-founder of the Hub Breckenridge, a full-service technology boutique, said he feels encouraged that tenants and management are working together to bring new life to the shopping area.
“Finally, some energy in the Main Street Station plaza,” he said. “It’s just the beginning, and this new energy is exactly why the Hub is in Main Street Station.”
In addition to improved perimeter lighting and enlarged directory signs, Martin hopes to introduce event tie-ins to attract more people to the shopping area.
The Breckenridge Tourism Office is working to introduce promotional events at Main Street Station, Wolfe said.
“We are working on a master plan and taking a comprehensive look at it,” he said.
Johnna Patton, partner with Rocky Mountain Events, said her company was approached by the Breckenridge Tourism Office to add an event at the shopping plaza.
On Jan. 15, 2016, Main Street Station will host the Ullr Ice Plunge. Participants will take an icy bath in Maggie Pond and spectators there to view the spectacle will be treated to music.
Prior to the New Year, Martin said Santa Claus will make a few weekend appearances at Main Street Station and there are also plans to celebrate Mardi Gras at the shopping area.
After meeting with current and potential tenants, Martin said most got on board with his mission.
“We sat down and talked to them, and they bought into our vision,” he said. “Tenants that have been here for a long time are happy.”
He noted that activity breeds activity, and, with more stores and general improvements, the changes keep feeding off each other.
Noting the “bones” were good on the property, Wolfe said the future looks promising for continued retail growth.
“I’m really excited by the momentum,” he said. “This year, I expect it to be even better.”
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