Changes are in store

With Amallama leaving, Old Town Square taking on a different look

— Steamboat's bead addicts need not fret. Amallama, a fixture on Lincoln Avenue for more than a decade is going away, but the store's beads will still be available at the base of the ski area.

Owners Tara and Larry Stroman, and Lucinda Patten have announced they will close Amallama in Old Town Square Sept. 30. But their collection of exotic beads, sought by locals and tourists for homemade jewelry items, will resurface in the Stromans' other store, "The Silver Lining," in Torian Plum Plaza.

Tara Stroman said her store had a strong lease in Old Town Square, but they purchased their commercial condominium in Torian, and it makes good business sense to concentrate their retail operation there.

Patten is starting a new career as a representative for G-III, one of the largest leather outerwear manufacturers in the world.

The Stromans want to simplify their business lives and focus on creating the best boutique jewelry store they can. The Silver Lining will not carry the leather goods that were a staple of Amallama. However, Larry Stroman says he will continue to offer the collection of outdoor hats he has built up over the years.

The disappearance of Amallama from Lincoln Avenue will create new opportunities for two other sets of local business operators.

Denise Cantafio will open a bedding shop called "SleepOvers" in one of the two storefronts now occupied by Amallama on the second story of Old Town Square. The other storefront will serve as an expansion for a thriving sandwich shop next door, Backcountry Provisions.

Backcountry Provisions will use the additional room to increase its kitchen space and offer indoor dining.

Dave Pepin, one of the owners of Backcountry Provisions, said he and partner Peter Boniface have built a loyal following since opening their shop two years ago.

"We estimate that 75 percent of our business is local," Pepin said.

"In order to allow the business to grow any further, we have to grow," in physical terms.

Pepin said he continues to be surprised at how the local trade continues to grow on a weekly basis.

"Now that we've proven our concept and our client base is there, we want to increase our indoor seating capacity," he said. "A lot of our customers tell us they'd visit more often in winter if there was more room to sit down and enjoy their sandwiches."

Pepin and Boniface have marketed their sandwiches to outdoor enthusiasts.

But the half dozen tiny two-top tables and four stools at a bar, don't afford adequate seating during inclement weather.

The expansion into a portion of Amallama will also allow enough elbow room in the kitchen to take on more catering jobs Pepin said. He has had to turn down jobs, just because the crew doesn't have the physical space needed to put out their sandwiches in the volume needed to satisfy catering orders.

Cantafio said she is looking forward to establishing her new shop on the second floor of Old Town Square, where she expects it will be more visible than her current shop, Cantafio's of Steamboat. Cantafio's has a following for its product lines of swim wear, lingerie, body and bath products and cosmetics.

But Cantafio said while the Old Town Square location has worked well for her store, the current shop lacks visibility. It is squeezed into a corner next to Mocha Molly's.

The landlord at Old Town Square is Reggie Gray of Breckenridge. The shopping complex is architecturally similar to an existing building in Breckenridge.

"It's a little bit of a tough location," Cantafio said. "I'm excited about going upstairs."

The new shop, targeted for a Thanksgiving opening, will carry products built around the theme of "slumber." Cantafio is even toying with the idea of spelling "SleepOvers" with the letter "z" as in "SleepOverzzz" in her final logo.

Where Cantafio's will continue to stock silky lingerie, SleepOvers will be much more likely to stock pajamas with footies, Cantafio said. Shoppers will also be able to find robes, slippers, towels, bed linens, and even alarm clocks.

Amallama, which opened in 1990, was among the original tenants in Old Town Square. The Stromans' new store in Torian Plum Plaza, The Silver Lining, was formerly the Elephants Trunk bootery across from the old Bartons.

Tara Stroman said she's eager to be next to the Slopeside Grill and Cafe Diva.

Part of the decision to abandon the leather goods that were a staple of Amallama is because another store in Torian Plum, Stephens, sells furs and leather goods.

Silver Lining will strengthen its fine jewelry selections and even upgrade its bead collection, Tara said.

"We want to get back to our roots as a small, friendly owner operated business," Tara said. "Over the years we've successfully expanded to locations in Grand Lake and Craig, but have recently come to the conclusion that bigger is not necessarily better.

"It's our wish to create a gem-box of a boutique at the Silver Lining."

Amallama was founded on the Stromans' ability to travel the world and return with interesting merchandise.

"Eleven years ago, we began Amallama by importing beads and folk art from our trips to Peru," Tara said.

"Since then we have traveled to Italy, Nepal and Thailand in search of new and interesting merchandise."

By concentrating on one shop, the Stromans hope to regain some of the simpler lifestyle they say was their primary reason for moving to Steamboat in the first place.

The Stromans will close Amallama by Sept. 30, and reopen The Silver Lining by Thanksgiving.

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