February 26, 2010

Bailey Plaza could be a boon for local retailers

by Mike Potter, Staff Writer

New Venture Bailey Plaza owners Mike Rutledge and Della Powell plan to be open by mid-March. (Photo by Mike Potter/The Flume)

The Bailey Plaza, a collection of smaller retail shops, is set for a mid-March opening in downtown Bailey, according to co-owner and business manager Della Powell.

Powell, a former manager of the Wellington Lake recreation area, has leased the lower level of the building that housed the Platte Canyon Grill at 60615 U.S. 285, and she plans to sublease space for local vendors to display their items.

Powell shares ownership of the Bailey Plaza with her business partner, Mike Rutledge.

What can be done with the space is up to the managers and the sublessees to decide, she said, but Powell envisions a space where local artists can sell their items in a downtown-Bailey store with good visibility from U.S. 285.

"Whatever it is that the mountain community does, it can be put there," she said. "It doesn't matter if they have two or 102 products or things they've made."

Phase one of the project would take about 1,400 square feet of the building and divide it into seven units. The largest units are 350, 253 and 225 square feet.

Two of the units have access from the outside, and could be set up by individual shop owners. The 253-square-foot unit is in the back of the building, Powell said.

The larger units would be subleased on a yearly basis.

There are also four smaller units of between 125 square feet and 150 square feet.

Those smaller units will be leased on six-month terms, Powell said.

There is also a third option for displaying and selling items. Fifteen even-smaller spaces, which will consist of little more than shelves in a common area, will be available for rent for people who have only a few small items to sell.

While the details are still being worked on, the lessees would be required to pay a rental fee and a percentage of sales to Powell.

Powell said that percentage would go to pay for the rent of the building and the utilities. Whatever is left over would be income for Powell and Rutelege.

Powell and Rutledge would man the 15 shelf-space units and the smaller units of 125-150 square feet, and they would run a cash register so the owners of the items wouldn't need to be at the plaza.

Powell said she would begin showing the building in early March, but she has already received much interest about space from local business owners.

She said business owners hurt by the downturn in the economy could relocate their retail space to the downtown Bailey location, and possibly survive until the economy recovers.

She said it could also attract more people to downtown Bailey, which in turn could help the businesses already located there.

"Basically, what we're trying to do is help the mountain community," she said.

The Bailey Plaza came together quickly after speaking with the building owner, Craig Marks, a Realtor at the Conifer office of Keller-Williams.

Marks said after the Platte Canyon Grill went out of business, he was considering what to do with the building.

"I had a number of people that had come to me about doing some kind of mini-mart, like a mini-mall," he said. "I thought it would be a great idea."

He said small businesses that couldn't otherwise afford a downtown Bailey location could afford a smaller space when the cost was spread out among a number of business owners.

"It just made sense to me," he said. "It just so happened that's what I was looking for when [Powell] called."

Powell said, depending on what happens in the future, there could be a deli opening at the site, but that would be long after the building opens.

When Marks cleaned out the building after the Platte Canyon Grill closed, he left a walk-in freezer and refrigerator.

Marks said it seems that Powell and Rutledge are trying to be responsible about what they bring into the building.

"To their credit, if there's someone in Bailey already doing something, they're not going to compete with them," he said.

The idea of a downtown Bailey Plaza is appealing to a number of people, including local business owner and member of the Platte Canyon Business Guild Bea Everest.

She said the guild, made up of a number of Platte Canyon-area business people, was trying to promote commercial development in downtown Bailey after a number of businesses closed.

Powell's idea dovetailed into the Platte Canyon's Business Guild's plans. They were working on a way to bring a number of unique businesses to downtown Bailey.

"It's like our mission has been fulfilled because somebody is going to be doing it," she said.