Tobacco store gets nod from Breckenridge
BRECKENRIDGE – Jeff Cox will open the only tobacco store in Breckenridge this fall after the town council decided this week his operation won’t conflict with the smoking ban.Cox, who sells cigars from a humidor inside Cecilia’s in La Cima Mall, was among those hardest hit when the smoke-free workplace ordinance went into effect June 1. The ordinance prohibits smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars, and was crafted to protect the health of employees.The ordinance does exempt retail tobacco stores unless they appear to be operated in conjunction with a business that holds a liquor or restaurant license. This became the council’s argument against allowing Cox to open the tobacco store with an indoor connection to Cecilia’s.In Cox’s original proposal, customers could access the new store from a hallway between the tobacco shop and Cecilia’s dance floor. The town council, however, said that hallway would make it too easy for Cecilia’s customers to use the tobacco store as a smoking lounge.Cox has since eliminated the hallway and the door connecting the tobacco store to the bar.”In hindsight, I’m grateful you took issue with this,” Cox said. “I didn’t realize what a struggle people would have accessing it from the back parking lot and didn’t realize they’d need access from the front of the mall.”His new proposal calls for a 530-square-foot store with eight club-style chairs and a bench style seating area, a room for cigars and a ventilated kiosk in which an employee would conduct business.Six of the seven town council members applauded the changes Cox made to the proposal.”I’m barely OK,” said Councilmember Jim Lamb, who fought on behalf of the smoke-free workplace ordinance. “I’m still concerned it could be used as a smoking room.”He suggested the ban might be more effective if it had been worded to require tobacco shop owners to conduct business in physically separate buildings.Councilmember Eric Mamula said his only concern was the precedent this might set for other bar owners who might want to open tobacco shops near their establishments.John Daisy, owner of Fatty’s Pizzeria, said it could set precedent, but noted that most restaurant owners probably wouldn’t want to take on the additional burden of offering another service.”That was the one bar the smoking ban truly affected,” said John Daisy, owner of Fatty’s Pizzeria. “I think we (the restaurant association) should have handled it differently and made an exemption and grandfathered him in. He was a unique situation, and I sort of support that.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.
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