Local Business: The Clark Store
By Christina Freeman
Sixteen miles north of town, the clark store lures locals and visitors alike. Photo courtesy Clark Store.
A day trip to North Routt just wouldn't be the same without a stop at the Clark Store. Radiating roadside appeal, the well-loved store lures visitors and locals off Routt County Road 129 for a whole host of reasons.
Starting a day of adventure with the store’s homemade sausage burrito and freshly brewed cup of coffee is equally as rewarding as a post-hike hamburger, or a serving of sought-after ice cream. Be warned on the latter option, you'll need to get in line, but as anyone who has tried it will testify, it's worth the wait.
The Clark Store is engrained in North Routt history. It opened its doors as the original post office in Hahn’s Peak Village in 1889. The building moved three times before ending up in its current location, even partially surviving a fire. Exactly 430 post boxes still occupy one wall, serving the thriving rural community.
The creaking wood building with its metal roof is not simply a store. As manager Jim Davis says, “It's the hub of the community.” A constant buzz of activity, visitors mix with locals picking up mail, dropping off library books, attending plant swaps, garage sales and pumpkin carvings. A plethora of goods can be found, from toothbrushes and fishing lures to locally made pottery and kids toys. The longest serving employee, Carol Herman, never tires of working in the shop. “In the summer, thousands of people come through the door, and they love the atmosphere here,” she says.
In 1986 local landowner Steve Stranahan purchased the store. His cattle can be seen grazing from the panoramic window of the store's deli seating. A recent renovation included a menu makeover by well-known Colorado chef Clyde Nelson. Produce is locally sourced where possible. As Davis says, “Food here is as fresh as you can get.” The full-service liquor store offers a surprisingly wide selection of beverages from carefully chosen wines to Moonshine.
Making the 17-mile trip north from Steamboat Springs is worth the ride, but remember, if you're going for ice cream, the portions are large, the product is rich and creamy, and the lines can be long.