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BUSINESS IN ASPEN IMPROVING: NATIONAL RETAIL FRANCHISES MOVE INTO ASPEN'S MAIN STREET

 BUSINESS IN ASPEN IMPROVING: NATIONAL RETAIL FRANCHISES
 MOVE INTO ASPEN'S MAIN STREET
 ASPEN, Colo., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Aspen, Colo., has been chosen as the site for the first free-standing Steuben store outside of New York, with the maker of some of the world's finest crystal and glass set for a November debut in the Rocky Mountain resort. Other retail companies moving into Aspen in time for the upcoming ski season include The Gap (early December), and Eddie Bauer Sportswear and a Sam Goody record and video store.
 But -- in keeping with the Aspen ambiance -- the chains will open the smallest U.S. franchises of their respective companies, "However the intention is not to operate a prestige, boutique-like operation but to make a profit. The amount of clientele, both permanent and transient, and the quality of clientele, will justify the store," noted a Sam Goody spokesperson.
 Aspen residents Sam and Heidi Houston negotiated for three years to bring the fine glassmaker to Aspen. The Houstons promise public exhibitions of new and classic old Steuben -- such as colored glass in the art nouveau style premiered by founder Frederick Carder at the turn of the century. "This work is rarely seen in public because it usually is seen in antique dealers or auction houses," says Sam Houston.
 The Gap and Bauer franchises join other chains, such as Banana Republic, Benetton and Esprit, in adding a new look to Aspen's shopping centers, appealing to both residents and year-round visitors.
 Aspen's business economy appears to be improving from 1991's performance. Retail sales grew each month of the ski season and, for the year's figures-to-date, retail sales have improved by 6.4 percent through July, compared to the same period last year. Recorded sales through July this year totaled $189.23 million.
 "I have a really good feeling Aspen is becoming very competitive in the entire resort world," says Tom Hines, director of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA). "The bottom line is we're a very strong and healthy resort. (But) I think there's tremendous room for improvement, both summer and winter."
 This thought was echoed by John Norton, senior vice president of the Aspen Skiing Co., speaking at an ACRA luncheon. He stated the need for an organization to come forward "with the same amount of enthusiasm for promoting Aspen during summer and off-seasons as the Aspen Skiing Co. has for winter."
 Norton observed that American Express will be part of a "Valleywide Partnership" between Aspen and Snowmass Village in promoting the area this winter.
 -0- 10/13/92
 /CONTACT: Angela Lang and Lisa Posey, of The Lee Solters Co., 213-651-9300, for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association/ CO: Aspen Chamber Resort Association ST: Colorado IN: REA SU:


ML-JL -- LA015 -- 9372 10/13/92 13:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1992
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