By Steve Jundt
When Clark’s Market left Basalt it suddenly became a five-mile trek to either Whole Foods or City Market for groceries. Basalt’s historic downtown has been trying to lessen that journey and Zach Fischer believes his new “general store” on Midland Avenue is the ticket.
Fischer, who has been general manager of the Basalt Mountain Inn since its days as the Green Drake, is a marvelous asset to the town. “I was fortunate enough to get asked to work with several different groups in the town,” says Zach, “such as the chamber of commerce and the business association, and met some great people who helped me to understand better this amazing part of our valley.”
Through working at the hotel and conversing with business groups, some ideas started rolling through Zach’s head as to what he can do to help make the town, especially downtown, a better place for both residents and visitors. A reoccurring idea was a convenient location to grab some foodstuffs in between major grocery runs. Thus, the Basalt General Store was born.
“I just sat back and listened to what people wanted and made a lot of notes,” says Zach. “People who don’t live here really do not understand about making the longest five-mile trek in the Roaring Fork Valley to get to Whole Foods or City Market. Which means you pretty much have to pledge an hour out of your day to fill a smallest grocery list.”
James and Shae, owners of the Midland Avenue Mall, had a perfect space for both the feel and location that Zach was searching for, so he hopped on the location.
“We have a vast variety of items that really set us apart from other groceries,” says Zach, “and our emphasis on locally grown produce and meats demonstrates the value we place on community. Most everything that we offer is from this valley. Our produce comes from Early Morning Orchards located in Palisade. There’s beef, pork and lamb from Mountain Primal Meats of Emma and the Aspen Cattle Company, and our fish is from Kaleb’s Katch. It is basically a farmers market all year ‘round.”
The Basalt General Store definitely leans more towards the organic way of eating and Zach says they are upping their variety of locally prepared items to include homemade salads and hot food items as the weather makes its turn towards fall and winter. “If you have never had Rock Canyon Coffee, Two Leaves & a Bud tea or Big Hat Larder hot sauce, then I recommend that you come and see what the people of Basalt are making because it is really fantastic quality and taste.”
Zach continues, “There really is a support local feeling around here.”
Along with his wife Meghan, Zach says he hopes to continue to be a part of the growing and changing of Basalt.
Everyone has heard the “vitality in Basalt” term used over and over lately. “Could we use more vitality?” Zach concludes. “Yes, but this little town has a great group of people offering really neat shops and restaurants that has vitality already, and I am happy and proud that I can say Meghan and I have done our part in contributing to the growing vitality of downtown Basalt.”
Published in The Sopris Sun on October 1, 2015.