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Old 01-20-2013, 07:30 AM
 
6 posts, read 6,614 times
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I am a 37 year-old single mom. I currently live in Italy but would like to return home. My home state is Florida, have always lived by the water. Living in Italy, we got to appreciate the mountains and love the life style attached to them, not to mention the fact that we learned skiing In order to live Italy, I will also have to leave my job. Therefore, I am looking to move into an affordable city with decent schools for my five year old, that gives way for business opportunities mainly because I am interested in opening/running a small family run Mediterranean restaurant. I am hoping that it would also be friendly, welcoming, and its people love to eat your advice is very important to us in finding a city that we could call home for many years to come.
Thank you so much.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:13 AM
 
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Colorado Mountains are not the mountains of Italy and certainly do not have the same type of towns of Italy. There are small towns, cities, or enclaves in the Mountains but they run from the extreme of fake and phony that cater to the wealthy, to some cities of some charm that still cater to the wealthy, to poor and decrepit places that are populated by lost souls and those who live on the edge.

You desire to open a restaurant would be where the wealthy live. So, you better bring big piles of money because rents and costs are high. There is much competition in these areas with everyone and everybody who thinks that they can cook and know foods wants to open a little restaurant--again money is what will determine your ability to stay in business, not some idyllic idea of a restaurant and fanciful concepts of food.

If you never been here, then it is best for you to take a tour of "cities" in these mountains and determine if what you believe it to be, is what reality is showing you.

Livecontent
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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First, do not limit your search to Colorado. The Von Trapp family ("The Sound of Music") located in upstate Vermont after fleeing Austria because it reminded them so much of the Alps. Every state west of Kansas has mountains and mountain lifestyles of one kind or another.

Your restaurant concept is going to require a solid population base. In Colorado that means the front range - Pueblo up I-25 through Colorado Springs, Denver, Loveland, and Ft. Collins. Theoretically you could succeed in a ski town such as Breckenridge, but the odds are going to be even longer due to the seasonal nature of the communities. Having said all that, you should take a hard look at Boulder. Boulder is not usually on anyone's list of "affordable communities", but compared to Italy it may seem cheap to you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:34 AM
 
6 posts, read 6,614 times
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Default Thank you so much

To LC: I really said I would like to open a business where people like to eat (and not exclusively for the wealthy); and I do believe that's what the mountain climate does to you i might be wrong I am aware of what a start up business would require as far as capital and idyllic idea and I would not return and leave a job if I weren't prepared. But you have not answered my question: affordable, good schools, friendly, accessible and if not in the resort towns (as you advised against), what would be a "normal" city to consider? Thank you for your thorough feedback.

To Arrby: I am sure there are great differences between the Alpes, Dolomities ( still Alpes) , and the mountains in Vermount ( one of which named after my child) but I am not escaping from Italy ( maybe) and my choice of Colorado is related to economical growth that is a testimony of several "reports" or no?
I truly thank you for your feedback. I researched Edwards, Frisco, Keystone, Denver, Boulder .... I have not looked into Colorado Spring! Thank you so much
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:34 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,012,636 times
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Wink Mountain business

Frisco would be a good choice, and certainly in the mountains. Keystone, as well; Boulder and even more so Denver are not. One is comparing different animals here.

If having fallen in love with the mountains and wishing a life within them in Colorado, then certain realities will intrude. The Front Range (i.e. Boulder, Denver, etc.) was suggested as where most of the population of this state resides, as well as business. Within the mountains all are relatively small towns, even the resort areas (i.e. Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, etc.), although they naturally widely expand in population at times due tourism. If in the mountains, and running a business such as a restaurant, that is your bread and butter. Some of the remoter towns might be idyllic enough, possibly even not much more than a ghost town, but only in the resort areas will there be enough of a market to support such an enterprise.

In Summit County, where Frisco is, the schools are good and most everything else you may desire is already in place. But as many have found, the cost of admittance is high. Many that might live in such an area do not simply because of the paucity of well paying jobs; those in private business stand the best chance of affording the high real estate costs, etc. So it can be done, but obviously to establish a new restaurant from scratch will require some serious capitol. Even more so than it would in Denver. The markets are different, the mountains of a seasonal nature. As said, surely with a higher buy in. But the money is there for the successful; the many tourists visiting expect to and do pay handsomely during their vacations. There are, naturally, already many established fine dining options existing. One more will have to bring something special to the table.

If looking for something off the beaten path, the town of Silverton might do. An old former mining town, now focused on summer tourism, it has gone slightly upscale of late with the advent of a nearby extreme skiing mountain. Some new businesses have opened, such a nouvelle coffee shop that could not have existed before. No idea if it is still there, and the market there slimmer, risks higher. Somewhat in the same vein, with somewhat larger market, would be Crested Butte.

In all cases, your clientele will be wealthy, at least by mountain standards. Most locals will not often be able to afford the bill of fare, unless you are specifically catering to them on the low end. In towns such as Aspen most of your clientele will more readily fall into the millionaire if not billionaire category. In more prosaic Vail and so forth, just quite comfortable, and even members of the middle class willing to spend what is a good amount of money for them for a week or two in the mountains.

Maybe begin with this and do some specific research online into these various parameters. Surely dissimilar in some respects to Italy.

Last edited by Idunn; 01-20-2013 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,860 posts, read 9,597,870 times
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OP, there are no “normal cities” in the mountains. There are some “normal towns”, which mean smaller population and therefore smaller clientelle for your business. Unfortunately most of the mountain towns do not have a good economic base unless they are either a resort town or a town where the people live who work at the resorts but can't afford to live there. That's why people who work in Aspen live in Carbondale or Glenwood Springs; people who work in Steamboat live in Craig, etc. There are a few exceptions (see below).

I totally disagree with livecontent's description of who lives in the mountain towns in Colorado. People aren't either “wealthy or lost souls who live on the edge”. Places like Buena Vista and Salida are in the mountains and attract “normal” retired people and artists. I'm not sure that Buena Vista could support another restaurant; as it is most of the influx of population happens in the summer months so the winter business may not be enough to sustain you. Salida has a larger population year around.

Maybe Durango?
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:57 PM
 
179 posts, read 569,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Maybe Durango?
Durango may not be the best choice.... There are nearly 200 restaurants in Durango serving a populace of 16,000. I remember reading in the past year that Durango overtook San Francisco in restaurants per capita and requested that San Francisco take the "most restaurants per capita" motto off all of its tourist/advertising materials (I literally laughed out loud that tiny Durango was owning San Francisco on that one).

There are already a few Mediterranean restaurants in town, but if you believe that you have a cooking style that could survive and overtake the competition, then please come. Obviously, Durango is a foodie town, and if you can offer a product that the public likes, you're sure to have a successful eatery. But, as you know, the industry is fickle - so don't count on it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:18 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,498,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
OP, there are no “normal cities” in the mountains. There are some “normal towns”, which mean smaller population and therefore smaller clientelle for your business. Unfortunately most of the mountain towns do not have a good economic base unless they are either a resort town or a town where the people live who work at the resorts but can't afford to live there. That's why people who work in Aspen live in Carbondale or Glenwood Springs; people who work in Steamboat live in Craig, etc. There are a few exceptions (see below).

I totally disagree with livecontent's description of who lives in the mountain towns in Colorado. People aren't either “wealthy or lost souls who live on the edge”. Places like Buena Vista and Salida are in the mountains and attract “normal” retired people and artists. I'm not sure that Buena Vista could support another restaurant; as it is most of the influx of population happens in the summer months so the winter business may not be enough to sustain you. Salida has a larger population year around.

Maybe Durango?
Your points are well written. However, people who live in Salida or Buena Vista are for the most part well of or wealthy by comparative standards and even more so in Durango--the retired have good pensions and the artist are not poor living in lofts. I would not consider these towns normal in the distribution of disposable income. The restaurants prices reflect their costs and a clientele that can afford these places. Those fewer people of limited disposable income do not have the money to waste going out to eat for the entertainment and thrill of dining at some restaurant, no matter how good the fare--they will buy groceries and make their own meals or eat at more basic fast food restaurants.

Livecontent
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:45 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,498,484 times
Reputation: 6923
Quote:
Originally Posted by REJco2013 View Post
To LC: I really said I would like to open a business where people like to eat (and not exclusively for the wealthy); and I do believe that's what the mountain climate does to you i might be wrong I am aware of what a start up business would require as far as capital and idyllic idea and I would not return and leave a job if I weren't prepared. But you have not answered my question: affordable, good schools, friendly, accessible and if not in the resort towns (as you advised against), what would be a "normal" city to consider? Thank you for your thorough feedback.

To Arrby: I am sure there are great differences between the Alpes, Dolomities ( still Alpes) , and the mountains in Vermount ( one of which named after my child) but I am not escaping from Italy ( maybe) and my choice of Colorado is related to economical growth that is a testimony of several "reports" or no?
I truly thank you for your feedback. I researched Edwards, Frisco, Keystone, Denver, Boulder .... I have not looked into Colorado Spring! Thank you so much
I do not think that people in mountain areas like to eat; everyone likes to eat. I suspect you mean that people who live there have a tendency to eat out at restaurants. I would not say that either. I would say it is very clear that the more money one has to spend, the more one has the ability and would eat out and more so at expensive restaurants. It would matter not where the location. Of course, some poor probably eat out much but it would be at lower priced fast food restaurants and some poor have not learned to be financially savvy and they do not want to cheaply cook for themselves and that contributes to them being poor.

A normal city that would have all the amenities you are seeking; a good quality of live and are on the upswing for economic growth would actually be Denver and the many neighborhoods that are being redeveloped. Denver is growing at a fantastic pace. It is attracting the new rich, young professionals and older people who are seeking a vibrant urban lifestyle. New restaurants under all genres are opening up at all over and the food scene is becoming more attractive every day. There are good opportunities in newer areas that on the cusp of strong redevelopment. There is story in today Denver Post about a long establish coffee shop moving to one of these emerging neighborhoods.
Highland mainstay Common Grounds pulls up anchor to explore Sunnyside - The Denver Post

I would suggest you explore, Highlands, West Highland, Tennyson Street in the Berkeley neighborhood of North Denver. North Denver is the Northwest Quandrant of the City that is centered on West 38th and is becoming the "in" place to live as it is very close to Downtown. Sunnyside is part of this area.

I would also look at Lodo, Capital Hill University near Denver University, Gaylord Street, Pearl Street. I would look at the new urban developments as the Streets of Southglenn in Centennial or Belmar in Lakewood. In my suburban city, Olde Town Arvada is attracting new restaurants.

I do know just a little of food and restaurants if I can remember what I forgot. I am a Graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, so many decades ago before it became so famous. Now that I am retired, the memories are fading. My comments about people opening mountain restaurants is when I was called to give advice to newcomers many years ago. I would roll my eyes and look at these people with their fantastic ideas with no experience but much money to throw away.

Just as the early settler learned when they went exploring for gold in the mountains, the real wealth is made in Denver where they settled and made their fortune in satisfy the needs of the gold seekers. Your wealth and satisfaction can come from all the newcomers in Denver, not the mountains. Give Denver a chance for your dream.

Livecontent
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
3,111 posts, read 4,872,473 times
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How about Evergreen or Conifer?

They are technically part of the metro area, but are solidly in the mountains and have a mix between the upper and middle classes.

Morrison is not really a mountain town, but it has a good reputation for excellent restaurants.
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