What’s Generally In-Store at Twin Lakes
For many small towns, the general store is a great place to catch up on local happenings. However, this summer, when it comes to Twin Lakes, it’s the general stores that are making the news in Leadville Today.
By now, readers may have heard that the Twin Lakes General Store has a new owner. And yes, this time it’s true! While early Spring reports buzzed with #sold rumors, it wasn’t until mid-July that the transfer of ownership for the village’s primary retailer was a done deal, as former owners Katie and Carl Bryan handed over the keys to Twin Lakes resident Bob Mathes. Congratulations to all!
For the Bryans, it means moving closer to extended family in Idaho. For the store’s new owner, it’s a dream realized, with the seeds planted some 23 years ago when Mathes bought his now, full-time residence in Pan Ark Estates.
And with one step through the doorway, it’s easy to understand why owning this business would be on someone’s dream list. Stepping into the Twin Lakes General Store, visitors get the sense of a quintessential, main-street shop, where you can find just about anything you need, or may have forgotten. From items for your camping trip, to restocking supplies along your Continental Divide Trail journey, to a neighbor’s basic need for milk, this store is jam-packed with just about everything you could think of, and then some! And that includes cold beer, fine wine and hard liquor!
Of course, village regulars and returning visitors will still find that small-town charm that comes with the soft slam of a screen door. However, there will also be some new faces behind the counter this summer. Mathes has a hands-on approach to the business, so expect to see Bob stocking the shelves and counting the inventory. He has also brought his son Carson onto the payroll, making it a family-affair. Rounding out the work crew, local Ryan Varco will be staying on with the new proprietor as well. A recent trip to the store on a late Monday afternoon saw all three hands-on-deck as the cash register rang steady. The busy season is on and these guys are ready for August!
Although Mathes does not have any huge changes in the works, like any new owner, he does have a vision to expand certain parts of the business, all while maintaining the quality customer service that travelers and locals have come to expect. Stay tuned for more good things to come.
The Twin Lakes General Store is located at 6451 E State Highway 82 in Twin Lakes, Colorado. You may connect with them on their website, the Twin Lakes General Store Facebook PageTwin Lakes General Store Facebook Page or by phone at (719) 486-2196.
There’s a New Store at the Junction
No doubt, if you’ve driven south of town, you noticed the new signs off Highway 24, at the turn off for Twin Lakes at Highway 82: Lake Creek General Store. So when Leadville Today saw the OPEN sign flashing red in the little cabin window of the new retail establishment, it was the beacon, calling to take a look inside. The new store is situated in the heart of the Winmar Cabins, with access off Highway 82.
The sign outside reads, “Ice, Snacks, Cold Drinks and More.” Inside, the more ranges from insect repellent, to sun glasses, to chargers for electronic devices. Duly noted are two important advantages this general store offers: hot showers and laundry services. It’s one of the benefits of being part of a lodging business.
In fact, the entire Winmar Cabins operation saw a change in ownership in May 2017, explained Andrew Mehrer, a son in the family business. And these days, it takes a family’s commitment for business success, as the region struggles with a labor shortage brought on, in part, by second home owners buying up a lot of the affordable workforce housing traditionally rented by employees.
“Most of last summer we spent gutting everything,” Mehrer described the hard work his family has put into the renovation process. The Lake County lodging establishment has been a mainstay on the corner of Highways 24 and 82 for decades, having experienced considerable deterioration during Leadville’s most recent, sullen economic times. But that has all changed with the new owners: “We’ve been busting our butts!”
And it shows, as a quick scan of the small cabin/general store is stocked with seemingly all the right items for guest comfort and traveler’s care. But don’t expect too much – yet! Officially opened for two weeks, the family continues to fine-tune the Lake Creek General Store’s inventory.
This summer, the Winmar Cabins will see their first full season since the renovations, offering ten cabins for short term rentals. The family continues to renovate the other units on the property, using some of them for their own residences. Sounds like they have the two biggest economic deterrents for new businesses in Lake County, covered: labor and housing.
It’s a job well-done, so be sure to stop in and support their efforts by shopping at the Lake Creek General Store! The Winmar Cabins are located at 1525 Highway 24 in Twin Lakes, CO 81251. Readers may check their website for more details, find them on Facebook, or call directly at 719-486-0785.