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Paonia trustees approve new liquor license

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Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia Town Clerk Corinne Ferguson swears in 10 individuals planning to give testimony during the Aug. 9 new liquor license application hearing for Cirque Cyclery, LLC. Trustees voted to approve the application. The Colorado Liquor En

The Paonia Town Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new hotel and restaurant liquor license application for Cirque Cyclery, LLC, located at 232 Grand Avenue and doing business as Remedy.

The Cirque opened about six months ago and includes a bicycle repair shop, retail and bike sales, and bicycle rentals. Located in the back of the newly-renovated space is Remedy, a cafe and juice bar selling organic and locally-sourced food products.

Remedy would like to sell locally-sourced beer, wines and spirits.

"This was part of our vision for the space," said Amy DeLuca, who represented Cirque Cyclery at the Aug. 9 hearing. "We're one of the few places that you can get a bite to eat after 3 o'clock."

She and cafe operator Elisabeth Lundeen also recently attended the "Colorado TIPS Training" for liquor licensees, hosted by the town.

Sarah Peterson stated during the proceedings that she just moved to Paonia and is employed by Remedy. The employment situation is tight, said Peterson. The license will help open up more opportunities for jobs, "And I think that that's really valuable in this town."

In Paonia, the board also acts as the town liquor board. Mayor Pro-Tem David Bradford asked if the cafe will be able to meet the state requirement that a minimum 25 percent of their gross income comes from sales of full meals.

"Without question," said DeLuca. "We're a restaurant first and foremost." Liquor is an added draw and not the main focus.

Most of the trustees acknowledged that they were unfamiliar with The Cirque, which opened about six months ago. "It's challenging if you haven't come into our new business to have a real sense of what it has to offer," said DeLuca.

Paonia area resident Mary George, who formerly held a liquor license in the town, said the license will allow The Cirque to fill a need "that simply isn't being met in Paonia. There really isn't any place to go to get a cocktail, except for Thomas Waldo's bar," said George, "And it's not everybody's cup of tea."

The license application packet included a petition bearing about 150 signatures in support of the application. Bradford noted that among the signatories were several individuals living outside of town limits. The state Liquor Enforcement Division will use the petition in its decision-making process, said Bradford. "To be honest, it seems to me that it should be residents from inside the Town of Paonia."

Whether signatories must reside within the town by state statute is unclear, said Bradford. He stated that in the future he will push to require that petitions for new liquor licenses are signed only by in-town residents.

George told the board she believes it's important for them to "really open their ears" to those living out of town. They pay taxes, own businesses, and are part of the town, said George, who is part-owner of the Cirque building. "My request is that everyone really gets a voice."

Elaine Brett said she wishes the state offered a license "for a multi-use retail, really cool place where people can gather and talk to each other."

Brett said she has worked with DeLuca through the Paradise Theatre, which holds a tavern liquor license and of which DeLuca is the former artistic director. Brett spoke of the good character of DeLuca and husband/co-owner Frederick Zimmer and their "sensibilities" in operating a business. She said she sees in the near future The Cirque and Remedy becoming a popular gathering place akin to the popular TV series, "Cheers . . . where people can gather, and everybody knows your name. I think it will be that kind of place . . . and be a great addition to the community."

When asked if loud music will be allowed, DeLuca said they plan special events with acoustic music, but that they don't anticipate any loud music. "It's not a five-piece band venue," she said.

The town will now forward the approved application and "findings of fact" containing evidence taken during the hearing to the Colorado Department of Revenue Liquor Enforcement Division for full review. If approved, the state will issue a license. At that time, a town license will be issued and the business can begin selling cocktails.

DeLuca said it's her hope that the establishment can begin serving spirits in time for Mountain Harvest Festival scheduled for the final weekend of September.

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