Evolution continues in Olde Town Arvada

March 11, 2017

Andy Thomas, owner of Rolling Sands, places an “everything must go” sign outside his shop. The store will be closing when all inventory is sold.

Photo by Shanna Fortier, Arvada Press

Andy Thomas, owner of Rolling Sands, places an “everything must go” sign outside his shop. The store will be closing when all inventory is sold.

Andy Thomas walked to the front of his store in Olde Town Arvada. A sign with a yellow background and red letters was in his hands: “STORE CLOSING, EVERYTHING MUST GO,” in large capitol letters.

Thomas placed the sign on the sidewalk in front of Rolling Sands Yoga Boutique and Fitness store and quietly walked back inside.

The boutique announced it’s closing in mid-February, citing a significant rent increase as the cause. Andy Thomas and his wife Diane have run the retail store for six years in Olde Town — the past three years located at 5709 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., between the Arvada Tavern and Ophelia’s Restaurant.

“Ever since we’ve moved in, there has been a flow,” Diane Thomas said. “But the impact that has affected us is the exodus of other retail stores.”

In the last six months, two other retailers have closed their doors in Olde Town: Arvada Bead Connections and Rocky Mountain Gems and Fine Jewelry.

Andy Thomas said that with their new lease, over the next three years, the rent on their space would increased 38.5 percent plus real estate taxes — a modified gross lease.

In order to pay that increase, the boutique — which carries yoga equipment, clothing and items that promote peace and inspiration — would have to increase its prices.

Diane Thomas said she was not willing to do that.

“A lot of the stuff we sell, we can’t increase the prices because of the online competition,” she said. “We have an awareness of that. We don’t want to price ourselves out of business.”

The store does not have an official closing date, as they intend to sell all their inventory first.

“Nobody likes to see businesses leaving, but it’s the evolution of a community growing and developing,” said Kami Welch, president and CEO of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. “It’s that supply and demand that we are going to continue seeing. Olde Town is very different today than it was three years ago and it will continue to change.”

Maureen Phair, executive director of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority, said she sees Olde Town following the same trend as the whole Denver Metro Area. Phair said she has seen rising rents over the past five years, with the commercial real estate market following the trends of the residential housing market.

“As Olde Town evolves, restaurants are able to pay a higher rent because they do more sales,” Phair said. “Which is unfortunate for the soft goods because you really need to have a combination of soft good, restaurants and entertainment to make the place vibrant.”

One business owner who has seen the changes in Olde Town first hand is Maro Dimmer, of Rheinlander Bakery.

The bakery was first established in Arvada’s Olde Town by Maro’s husband’s parents Jakob and Katharina Dimmer in June of 1963. Ed Dimmer started in the business by serving customers when he was nine.

“Some of my customers today remember me being barely tall enough to see over the counter” he says.

Maro Dimmer joined the family business in 1986.

“It goes in cycles and I think it follows the economy,” Maro Dimmer said. “I think Olde Town is a microcosm of the entire economy and we reflect that. I know that breweries and food places in the Denver area has exploded and Olde Town getting more is part of that scene.”

The newest arrival in Olde Town is GB Fish and Chips, which opened at 7401 Ralston Road in February. This is the fourth location for the eatery that specializes in English fare.

Other arrivals in Olde Town in the past year include American-style restaurants, such as Steuben’s Arvada and Homegrown Tap and Dough, alongside specialty bars and brew pubs like Kline’s Beer Hall and New Image Brewing Company. Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters also joined the lineup in December.

In August, Denver Beer Co. announced it will take over the old Craig Chevrolet Dealership building on Olde Wadsworth for its newest tap room.

In October, Arvada’s oldest building was also restored and opened as Gallery 1874, a fine art gallery and event space, which is also home to Crystals Joys — a jewelry store, rock shop, and apothecary.

In a time when retail shops are closing, Scott Spears, owner of School House Kitchen and Libations and Scrumptious, is launching his third business venture in Olde Town, Sock. Sock. will be a store selling … no surprise, specialty socks.

“It’s an extension of Scrumptious,” Spears explained of his sock shop. “We were selling tons of them there, so we decided to roll the dice.”

The new business will be at 5612 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. next to Hunter Bay Coffee. The goal is to open before March 11, in time for the Olde Town St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

“I think that Olde Town needs some more retail,” Spears said. “There are people getting ice cream cones and looking in store windows that are closed. We need to have a good mix of restaurant and retail in the area and I’m willing to roll the dice to help out Olde Town and continue the popularity of Olde Town.”

Dimmer said she has seen dramatic changes over the years and with the opening of he parking hub and the anticipated arrival of the Gold Line commuter rail, the changes are continuing.

“I have seen Olde Town go from having a lot of vacancies, where everything was for rent to the revitalization in the late ‘90s,” Dimmer said.

Over the past 30 years, the city and the urban renewal authority redesigned streetscapes and building facades, added vertical on-street parking, designated homes and businesses as historic sites, and built Arvada Square for festivals and events.

“After the streetscape happened, we saw a huge pedestrian improvement,” Dimmer said. “People enjoying walking around and with that came a lot of new interest in Olde Town. And now, we’re going to get the train.”

Anchoring the street block down from the longstanding European bakery is Arvada Army Navy Surplus, which opened in 1982.

Owner Larry Cohen said his store’s longevity is due to a following gained over the years. That, and his rent hasn’t been raised.

“That’s a key thing,” he said.

However, he said that even with the new parking structure, it’s difficult for his customers to find parking to shop in his store.

“We’re a destination store,” he said, adding that the two hour parking limit on street parking is a problem because his customers want to park in front of the store and not a quarter mile away in the parking garage.

However, Cohen said his employees will be utilizing the garage to hopefully free up spaces for his customers.

While the arrival date of the RTD G Line is still undetermined, the city’s first hotel, a Hilton Gardens Inn, will open this month near the Water Tower villas bringing out-of-town visitor within walking distance of Olde Town establishments.

Arvada Urban Renewal is also working on building high density housing within a half-mile of the future Gold Line station. Solana Olde Town Station will offer 352 market-rate, garden-style apartments, 621 parking spaces, and a mix of one, two, and three bedroom units ranging in size from 660 to 1,345 square feet with ten floor plans.

“We’re in the evolution of Arvada right now,” said Welch, of he chamber. “All of us hope to have vibrant Olde Town that is a destination and I think that means different things for different people.”

By Shanna Fortier, Arvada Press

Andy Thomas, owner of Rolling Sands, places an “everything must go” sign outside his shop. The store will be closing when all inventory is sold.

Andy Thomas walked to the front of his store in Olde Town Arvada. A sign with a yellow background and red letters was in his hands: “STORE CLOSING, EVERYTHING MUST GO,” in large capitol letters.

Thomas placed the sign on the sidewalk in front of Rolling Sands Yoga Boutique and Fitness store and quietly walked back inside.

The boutique announced it’s closing in mid-February, citing a significant rent increase as the cause. Andy Thomas and his wife Diane have run the retail store for six years in Olde Town — the past three years located at 5709 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., between the Arvada Tavern and Ophelia’s Restaurant.

“Ever since we’ve moved in, there has been a flow,” Diane Thomas said. “But the impact that has affected us is the exodus of other retail stores.”

In the last six months, two other retailers have closed their doors in Olde Town: Arvada Bead Connections and Rocky Mountain Gems and Fine Jewelry.

Andy Thomas said that with their new lease, over the next three years, the rent on their space would increased 38.5 percent plus real estate taxes — a modified gross lease.

In order to pay that increase, the boutique — which carries yoga equipment, clothing and items that promote peace and inspiration — would have to increase its prices.

Diane Thomas said she was not willing to do that.

“A lot of the stuff we sell, we can’t increase the prices because of the online competition,” she said. “We have an awareness of that. We don’t want to price ourselves out of business.”

The store does not have an official closing date, as they intend to sell all their inventory first.

“Nobody likes to see businesses leaving, but it’s the evolution of a community growing and developing,” said Kami Welch, president and CEO of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. “It’s that supply and demand that we are going to continue seeing. Olde Town is very different today than it was three years ago and it will continue to change.”

Maureen Phair, executive director of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority, said she sees Olde Town following the same trend as the whole Denver Metro Area. Phair said she has seen rising rents over the past five years, with the commercial real estate market following the trends of the residential housing market.

“As Olde Town evolves, restaurants are able to pay a higher rent because they do more sales,” Phair said. “Which is unfortunate for the soft goods because you really need to have a combination of soft good, restaurants and entertainment to make the place vibrant.”

One business owner who has seen the changes in Olde Town first hand is Maro Dimmer, of Rheinlander Bakery.

The bakery was first established in Arvada’s Olde Town by Maro’s husband’s parents Jakob and Katharina Dimmer in June of 1963. Ed Dimmer started in the business by serving customers when he was nine.

“Some of my customers today remember me being barely tall enough to see over the counter” he says.

Maro Dimmer joined the family business in 1986.

“It goes in cycles and I think it follows the economy,” Maro Dimmer said. “I think Olde Town is a microcosm of the entire economy and we reflect that. I know that breweries and food places in the Denver area has exploded and Olde Town getting more is part of that scene.”

The newest arrival in Olde Town is GB Fish and Chips, which opened at 7401 Ralston Road in February. This is the fourth location for the eatery that specializes in English fare.

Other arrivals in Olde Town in the past year include American-style restaurants, such as Steuben’s Arvada and Homegrown Tap and Dough, alongside specialty bars and brew pubs like Kline’s Beer Hall and New Image Brewing Company. Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters also joined the lineup in December.

In August, Denver Beer Co. announced it will take over the old Craig Chevrolet Dealership building on Olde Wadsworth for its newest tap room.

In October, Arvada’s oldest building was also restored and opened as Gallery 1874, a fine art gallery and event space, which is also home to Crystals Joys — a jewelry store, rock shop, and apothecary.

In a time when retail shops are closing, Scott Spears, owner of School House Kitchen and Libations and Scrumptious, is launching his third business venture in Olde Town, Sock. Sock. will be a store selling … no surprise, specialty socks.

“It’s an extension of Scrumptious,” Spears explained of his sock shop. “We were selling tons of them there, so we decided to roll the dice.”

The new business will be at 5612 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. next to Hunter Bay Coffee. The goal is to open before March 11, in time for the Olde Town St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

“I think that Olde Town needs some more retail,” Spears said. “There are people getting ice cream cones and looking in store windows that are closed. We need to have a good mix of restaurant and retail in the area and I’m willing to roll the dice to help out Olde Town and continue the popularity of Olde Town.”

Dimmer said she has seen dramatic changes over the years and with the opening of he parking hub and the anticipated arrival of the Gold Line commuter rail, the changes are continuing.

“I have seen Olde Town go from having a lot of vacancies, where everything was for rent to the revitalization in the late ‘90s,” Dimmer said.

Over the past 30 years, the city and the urban renewal authority redesigned streetscapes and building facades, added vertical on-street parking, designated homes and businesses as historic sites, and built Arvada Square for festivals and events.

“After the streetscape happened, we saw a huge pedestrian improvement,” Dimmer said. “People enjoying walking around and with that came a lot of new interest in Olde Town. And now, we’re going to get the train.”

Anchoring the street block down from the longstanding European bakery is Arvada Army Navy Surplus, which opened in 1982.

Owner Larry Cohen said his store’s longevity is due to a following gained over the years. That, and his rent hasn’t been raised.

“That’s a key thing,” he said.

However, he said that even with the new parking structure, it’s difficult for his customers to find parking to shop in his store.

“We’re a destination store,” he said, adding that the two hour parking limit on street parking is a problem because his customers want to park in front of the store and not a quarter mile away in the parking garage.

However, Cohen said his employees will be utilizing the garage to hopefully free up spaces for his customers.

While the arrival date of the RTD G Line is still undetermined, the city’s first hotel, a Hilton Gardens Inn, will open this month near the Water Tower villas bringing out-of-town visitor within walking distance of Olde Town establishments.

Arvada Urban Renewal is also working on building high density housing within a half-mile of the future Gold Line station. Solana Olde Town Station will offer 352 market-rate, garden-style apartments, 621 parking spaces, and a mix of one, two, and three bedroom units ranging in size from 660 to 1,345 square feet with ten floor plans.

“We’re in the evolution of Arvada right now,” said Welch, of he chamber. “All of us hope to have vibrant Olde Town that is a destination and I think that means different things for different people.”

By Shanna Fortier, Arvada Press