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Store breaks camp

CHRISTINE McMANUSsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Reid Williams Camp Coleman is the most recent store to close its doors at the Silverthorne Factory Outlet Stores, and going out with a bang - 20 percent off everything in the store.
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SILVERTHORNE – Ralph Lauren will need to bring his own tent.While major upscale retailers plan to fill nearly all the empty store fronts at the Silverthorne Factory Stores this year, the Camp Coleman store is going out of business by July 19.In order to revamp the town’s primary economic engine, which saw revenues drop by $14 million over the past three years, TGS Real Estate Investment Trust out of Alberta, Canada, is recruiting luxury brand names. While this change doesn’t necessarily mesh with Coleman products, it’s not the only reason the store is shutting its doors.

Sales have slowed in the mountain market since wildfires burned in Colorado during the summer of 2002. And the slowed tourist economy the past several years hasn’t helped either, said David Conger, director of retail operations for the Coleman Co.Furthermore, by the time campers get to the mountains, they already have most of their gear. The camping equipment retailer discovered that most of its major sales in Colorado are occuring primarily in Loveland and Castle Rock. The Silverthorne Coleman store will be replaced by one of the new upscale retailers. A total of 50,000 square feet of new retailers plan to move in throughout the three, associated outdoor shopping villages.

TGS president John Massing said he will announce the names of the new upscale stores after leases are signed in a couple weeks. Contracts between TGS and the new retailers are awaiting the Silverthorne town council’s final vote on Wednesday night.Owners of the Silverthorne Factory Stores properties already sailed through the first three out of four public hearings in the town’s planning process. TGS asked for approval of rejuvenation efforts, which require a major amendment to their original building regulations.”It’s such an important component of the economy in Silverthorne,” said Keith Schaefer, chair of the town planning commission that endorsed plans on Tuesday night. “Even our more picky planning commissioners were fairly gentle with the factory store owners (Tuesday night). They’re doing an awful lot to improve the looks.”Pending town council approval, the Blue Village behind the 7-Eleven will be remodeled with a new entrance and parking lot north of the stores near the Sav-O-Mat gasoline station.

Owners also want to build 40-foot tall roof-accenting structures above the 28-foot tall rooflines throughout the three shopping villages.Miniature graphic billboards are proposed to draw more attention to the stores using photos, logos and enlarged store signs. Planning commissioners unsuccessfully asked TGS to reduce the size of some of the giant signs.Factory store revenues have dropped from $54 million in 2001, to $48 million in 2002 down to $40 million last year, said Massing. About 60,000 square feet of the 254,000-square-foot shopping center have been vacant, not including the Coleman store.Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at cmcmanus@summitdaily.com.


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