McDonald’s Closes Aspen Store

The Golden Arches are gone from Aspen, Colorado reports the Aspen Daily News.

Instead of spending Friday morning warming up with a cheap cup of coffee or spending the afternoon devouring a Big Mac and fries, would-be McDonald's patrons were surprised to find a locked door with a brown paper bag covering the windows.

There was also a sign attached to the window that read, "This business has permanently closed. Thank you for the years of patronage!"

"McDonald's has made the decision to close some underperforming restaurants. As it relates to the Rocky Mountain region, the McDonald's restaurant located in Aspen is a part of this plan. We've been proud to serve the customers in the Aspen community for the past 31 years," said franchise owner, Paul Nelson, in a statement.

The store's last day was on Thursday, Jan. 14. By Friday morning the logos on the outside of the building had been removed, reports the Aspen Daily News.

"McDonald's is closed!" local customer Heather Erin exclaimed, repeating the question outside the fast-food chain. "We're shocked. When you want a quick lunch, there's just not many places to go."

Others took to Twitter to voice their disappointment.

The business reportedly opened in 1983, making it one of the town's longest-running businesses in the community. The decision to close the store leaves Aspen with just one national chain restaurant – Domino's.

Mayor Steve Skadron said the closing surprised and saddened him. Skadron said the store was his "go-to" spot when he first arrived in town.

"I think it serves an important niche in our market," Skadron told the Aspen Daily News."It's the lowest price going [and] I'm sad we're losing that price point in town. It leaves a hold in our market."

Nelson's bookkeeper, Sally Cable, also chimed in on the closing. It was "kind of a joint decision with the corporation" and Nelson, who owns the Glenwood Springs McDonald's and several others on the West Slope. Cable said she had received several phone calls about the closing, including one from the property manager, M&W Properties.

According to Cable, all of the workers have been offered jobs at the Glenwood McDonald's.

Standing outside of the restaurant on Friday, Aspen resident Johanna Mueller told Aspen Daily News that it was the only place in town to get affordable ice cream, among other things.

"This is not nice," she said. "I was going to have an Egg McMuffin this morning. I looked in and I went, 'What?' It's terrible. And what are they going to put in there, another high-end retail store?"

"I was coming to get a cheap cup of coffee," another Aspen resident said. "I'm just shocked."

According to a 2005 article in The Aspen Times, McDonald's caused some division when its local plans were announced in the early 80s. The paper was reportedly swamped with letters to the editor that were either for or against its opening. Those opposed wrote that they had moved to Aspen to get away from such businesses, while others welcomed the idea of opening the store in favor of the low prices.

Residents weren't the only ones upset by the closing. A young foursome from Australia had also hoped to eat at the establishment on Friday.

When asked what one of the siblings were planning on having, a young Will Denny muttered, "A nuggets meal."

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]