Felix & Fido closing today | SteamboatToday.com

Felix & Fido closing today

Owner of downtown boutique pet store says economy led to slow sales

Mike Lawrence

Felix & Fido owner Kelda Combs Wall is closing her business today in the Alpen Glow building in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— Less than a month after fine dining restaurant Antares served its last meal, another downtown Steamboat Springs business is shutting its doors.

Kelda Combs Wall, owner of Felix & Fido, at 635 Lincoln Ave., said today is the last day of business for the boutique pet store. Combs Wall is hoping to clear out all of her inventory today, with a closing sale on all items. The store originally opened in 1996, and Combs Wall bought it in August 2008. She decided to move the store from its downstairs Old Town Square location and opened at the new spot with Lincoln Avenue frontage in November.

But in April and May of this year, Combs Wall realized sales were not increasing and that she could not sustain the cost of the new, more visible location.

“We had way more traffic, but we didn’t have more sales,” she said.

When business did not pick up during the summer, she said she knew the end was coming. She gave a simple reason for the pet store’s closing.

“The economy,” she said. “It’s just killing us. : We’re the boutique-y stuff, and unfortunately people aren’t buying that.”

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The store’s location is part of the Alpen Glow mixed-use development at Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue. Combs Wall said Green Courte Partners, a Chicago-based private-equity real estate firm that also owns Howelsen Place at Seventh and Lincoln, facilitated her store’s closing.

“Green Courte has worked with me to be able to do this, and they have stepped over and above,” Combs Wall said.

Jon Sanders is a commercial broker for Ski Town Lifestyle Properties, which Green Courte owns. Sanders said the firm is “in strong conversations” with an apparel shop about moving into the Felix & Fido location. He declined to name the shop but said it has stores in Breckenridge and Keystone.

Sanders said Howelsen Place has four retail vacancies, but two of those are restaurant locations on Yampa Street that are in lease negotiations and could open in late spring or summer 2010. Howelsen Place also has an office space available on the alley.

Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, said several downtown businesses were looking for ways to make ends meet.

“There are some others that are struggling – they’re working with their landlords to try and work through it,” Barnett said. “Several of them have written different kind of leases.”

Sanders said Green Courte was working with tenants “on a case-by-case basis.”

“We are all partners in this together; it is in everyone’s best interest to stay open and succeed,” he said. “It is tremendously unfortunate to have a business like Felix & Fido closing their doors, but we are all optimistic about this coming winter season.”