Ralph Lauren puts S’thorne in style
SILVERTHORNE – When it comes to outlet stores, Polo Ralph Lauren is the trophy tenant that attracts other retailers.So when the now-named Outlets at Silverthorne signed the seller of designer clothes to occupy 11,000 square feet of space in its Blue Village, it had the enticement it badly needed to sign nine other high-profile retailers and begin a new era at what most people still know as the Silverthorne Factory Stores.The burst of energy is good news for sales-tax dependent Silverthorne, which has watched the three-node Outlets complex age, lose tenants and shed sale taxes.TGS North America Real Estate Investment Co. owns the Outlets with partner Sam Brown. In 2003, TGS took over active management of the Outlets from Brown and set about to reverse the decline.”I would really have to say getting Polo was the key to getting this thing going,” said John Massing, TGS’ senior vice president.Also signed to new leases are Banana Republic, Pendleton, Anne Klein, Coldwater Creek, Coach, Timberland, London Fog, the Intrawest-owned store Pure and an expanded Nike store.Massing offered his comments about the Outlets’ turnaround during the Silverthorne Business Community Breakfast on Wednesday. About 150 attended the breakfast to learn more about the Outlets’ plans, Alberta Development’s vision for a Town Center and the town’s new market research that bolsters both projects.
The town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) initiated the breakfast and market research to launch efforts to create new business opportunities, improve amenities and make Silverthorne’s quality of life a prime attraction.Overarching the EDAC work is a mission to create a sense of place in a town that developed without a traditional downtown. Massing’s business reasoning behind TGS’s $13.5 million investment in architectural and other upgrades at the Outlets helps tell the larger story about the town’s push to create a better place to visit, live and shop.It all starts with Interstate 70 and the stream of potential visitors and shoppers it spawns by virtue of about 10.6 million vehicles passing by every year.EDAC member Eddie O’Brien calls the interstate the river running through Colorado, a useful analogy for a town that is focusing its Town Center concept on its wet river, the Gold Medal status Blue River.Sixty-one percent of the vehicle total on the asphalt river makes a pit stop in Silverthorne two or three times a year. The average daily traffic at Silverthorne, exit 205, is 5,948.The market research company ccintellect surveyed people coming off the interstate.Ccintellect’s Ben Wright said 55 percent are stopping for gas, 54 percent for fast food and 41 percent for shopping at the Outlets. The problem is that except for shopping, few are “lingering” in the town for any length of time.
The word “linger” has become a key word in EDAC’s thinking. Only 6 percent stay overnight. “The obvious is that Interstate 70 is a massive opportunity for the town,” Wright said.Massing agrees, and likes the numbers behind the numbers, because as he said, “Retailing is very much demographics driven.”Among the numbers he cited:– The region attracts about 8.7 million skier days a year and about 19 million total tourists yearly;– The average Outlets shopper spends about $104 a visit, surpassing the national industry average by 66 percent; — The average age of the Outlets shopper is 42, and the average income is $87,500, significantly higher than the state average;
— Two-thirds are the coveted female shopper;– The average income of vacation homeowners is $210,000, which Massing called “a huge number.”These are the numbers driving TGS, and they are the numbers that caught the attention of the new retailers.”TGS realized the potential of Silverthorne and knew that sales could be increased with improvements,” Massing said.He forecast that the Polo-led influx of retailers would generate about $26 million more a year in Outlets sales. Plus, Massing estimated the new blood would fuel an estimated $5.75 million in increased sales at existing stores.If that becomes true, Silverthorne could see about $1.27 million a year in new sales tax collections.Town manager Kevin Batchelder calls the TGS plans and the town’s own collaborative work to create a Town Center next to the Silverthorne Pavilion “a confluence of ideas and activities.”The confluence includes a $1.67 million Great Outdoors Colorado grant to help build a path along the Blue River, parks and open spaces.
All together, the projects in motion are called out in EDAC’s marketing study as ways to get visitors to linger and spend more in the town.Batchelder said the beauty of the marketing research is that it affirms work that has been under consideration.Wright added one more idea to the list, one that still needs some energy – improving the entryway that is the interstate exit.”This has been an issue for the vitality of the town and it will be for quite some time. It is going to be a tough one,” Wright said.Harkening back to the survey that shows most people stop in Silverthorne for gas and fast food, Wright framed the town’s challenge.”You never like to come in and say Wendy’s is a great draw, but the truth is, it is like getting people into your foyer. “You have a great chance to leverage that and get them to linger in your town.” Jim Pokrandt can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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