Durango Smoke Shop, a mainstay downtown business, will relocate this summer after the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad purchased a downtown building to consolidate offices.
The railroad has had offices spread out across town for several years, said Al Harper, owner of the D&SNG.
Marketing and sales offices, for instance, were in rented offices above the downtown Starbucks location. And accounting offices were headquartered in offices above T’s Smokehouse & Grill.
In November 2017, Harper purchased the Rio Grande Building near the corner of Main Avenue and West College Drive, which was home to four businesses: a hair salon, RE/MAX, BREW Pub & Kitchen and the Durango Smoke Shop.
After the purchase, Harper notified RE/MAX and the Durango Smoke Shop that he intended to move the railroad’s offices into those locations. The hair salon, Harper said, had been closed for some time.
RE/MAX moved in March 2018 to 1221 Main Ave.
Courtney Callahan, co-owner of the Durango Smoke Shop, said the business plans to reopen at 2876 Main Ave., the site of the former Earth Girl Goodies & Eatery.
Callahan said it’s bittersweet to be leaving the location where the smoke shop has been at for more than 30 years. However, she’s excited by the plans for the new spot, which include plenty of free parking and an outside patio for smoking and socializing.
Callahan and her father have owned Durango Smoke Shop for 10 years.
“It’s definitely one of the old-time Durango spots everyone’s known,” she said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but we’re excited.”
Callahan said Harper has been understanding and accommodating during the moving process. She had originally planned to be out by the end of April, but she asked for an extension after a tough winter delayed her plans. Now, she’s shooting for sometime in May.
“He’s been great,” she said. “We’ve both been helping each other out.”
The plan, Harper said, was to have BREW remain at its location.
However, Harper said BREW had not paid its rent for the past seven months. The two tried to work out a plan to keep BREW in business, but nothing materialized.
“It’s a shame because he (BREW owner Erik Maxson) is a really nice guy and I wanted them there,” Harper said.
Maxson said in an interview earlier this week the brewery took a hit during the 416 Fire and was never able to recover. He said business has been down 30 percent the past eight months.
Harper, however, said he was aware of financial problems at BREW that predate the 416 Fire, which sparked June 1.
“His business model hasn’t worked,” Harper said. “He (Maxson) said it was the fire, but he had problems that started way before the fire.”
BREW will close Sunday. Harper said the space is now available for rent, and it’s even possible another brewery could move in there.
About a year ago, the D&SNG’s marketing and sales department, as well as the Rail Events department, took over the space previously occupied by RE/MAX. Harper hopes to have the Durango Smoke Shop spot remodeled and all offices under one roof by the fall.
“We’re growing,” Harper said, “and it makes sense I put the offices in one spot instead of renting.”
Harper and a few other top manager positions will remain at the offices located at the train depot.
“I love being in the middle of everything,” he said. “There’s nothing better than looking out the window and seeing happy people getting on and off the train.”