Marc and Denny Swanson: Not the natural choice
April 26, 2016
As debate continues about the proposed move of Natural Choice’s marijuana retail operation to the Curve Plaza shopping center, we at Steamboat Ace Hardware would like to voice some of our concerns.
We are, fundamentally, a family-oriented business. Every week our store is visited by thousands of Routt County families. Whether wandering our toy department or helping Mom and Dad with a plumbing project, the sight of young ones pushing our kid-sized shopping carts is a regular one. We cherish that.
Every weekend we donate hot dogs and the space in front of the store to local youth organizations looking to fund raise. From 4-H to the high school drama club, many a worthwhile cause has been helped by an afternoon selling hot dogs at Ace.
The prospect of having a pot shop so close to all this activity concerns us. The City Council was wise to question the appropriateness of placing such a unique business so close to what are essentially community events. We also believe that having a dispensary at the Curve/Elk River Crossing complex is not congruent with the family-friendly feel of the shopping center.
The commercial success of recreational marijuana sales is evident in the throngs of visitors and tourist-laden shuttle buses that frequent the town’s dispensaries. The prospect of having this spectacle shoe-horned between a popular family restaurant and a hardware store seems out of place, especially if the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts are doing an event 200 feet away. We also have reservations about odors drifting toward our business and the matter of available parking.
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Steamboat and the City Council have been forward-thinking in considering where in our community marijuana sales should occur. The council’s decision earlier this month to turn down Natural Choice’s desired move reflects this. We hope this community-first mindset is carried into the appeal process.
Our own personal views are informed by feedback we’ve received from customers and employees alike. We hope that Natural Choice can find a location that better suits their needs, but we feel the town, our customers and community groups would not be served by having that location be in the Curve Plaza.
Marc and Denny Swanson
Steamboat Ace Hardware