Starbucks in Breck to open August 9 |

Starbucks in Breck to open August 9

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – Carol Rockne thinks it’s serendipity that Starbucks will open in the historic home she owns at 225 S. Main St.

The Breckenridge real estate agent entertained numerous offers to lease the space from T-shirt shops and timeshare companies but said she felt something more was needed on Main Street.

She visited the Seattle-based coffee shops in Frisco and Dillon, asking about their operations. At the same time, a Starbucks representative walked in the door of Rockne’s real estate company, saying he’d been looking for a place to establish a coffee shop for the past two years.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Rockne said. “It was meant to be. I looked at the picture for the long run and felt they were the way to go. I am so happy – for them and for us. It’s a win-win.”

The store is set to open Aug. 9, with a “sneak preview” the night before. Beverages will be free, and donations will be accepted for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. The coffee shop is the fourth Starbucks to open in Summit County.

“At every new store we open, we try to do something that is special for that community,” said Bridget Barrett, regional marketing manager for the company. “It’s just a party to say, “Hey, we’re here.'”

Rockne said she believes other coffee stores in town will fare well because each has its own niche in the community.

“I know people who drive all the way to Frisco to get their Starbucks,” Rockne said. ” I think everyone’s going to love it; it’s going to be great for the Riverwalk, for the town of Breckenridge, to have some viable little coffee shop. And it’s better than having a real estate company or timeshare in there.”

The historic building was constructed in 1898 by local physician William McKelvy and later owned by John and Annie Van Thun, whose daughter, Theta, was born in the home. The home was sold to gold dredgemaster Trevor B. Thomas, who was killed in a freak mining accident. Theta and her husband Frank Brown purchased they house in 1937. According to town records, the Browns lived there 57 years, refusing to sell to the commercial interests that sprouted up around them. Theta, then Frank, died in the 1990s.

Rockne said she remembers Wednesday night bridge games at the house, in which the heat from the fireplace was kept high to battle off the cold outside.

“Some of the most interesting stores we’ve ever done are in unique historic areas,” Barrett said. “It’s very important that we fit in the community. And what a special place between home and work; a nice place for people to hang out. To me, that’s the epitome of the coffee house experience. We want to stay within the spirit of what Breckenridge is all about.”

Rockne said if the Browns could see the house now, they’d still recognize it.

“But I’m not sure they’d approve,” she said, acknowledging the now-commercial aspect of the house. “But they’d recognize it.”

The exterior remains basically the same, but all that remains inside is the ceiling and fireplace. Construction there has included replacing plumbing and electrical systems and installing air conditioning and heating. The floors in the house were merely sub-flooring, Rockne said, so new flooring has been laid atop that.

The coffee store joins fewer than a half-dozen other chains in Breckenridge, including Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and 7-Eleven. It’s taken almost a year of negotiations to seal the deal.

“I’m so glad Starbucks was so amiable to not changing any of the outside,” Rockne said. “They could have said, “No, we’ll deal with a shopping center instead.'”

Eventually, Rockne would like to build a few smaller buildings in the backyard, which abuts the riverwalk. A walkway between the Riverwalk and Main Street has been built for pedestrians.

What: Starbucks “sneak peak”

Date: August 8

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: 225 S. Main St. Breckenridge

Other: Free beverages, but donations will go to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. Official opening August 9.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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