At the end of January, Janie and Ryan Pratt purchased the business formerly known as Mary’s Main Street Spirits. They have changed the name to Downtown Liquors on Main and are, Janie, said, “a mom and pop store, locally-owned and operated.”
Ryan, born and raised in Carbondale and a 1997 graduate of Roaring Fork High School, remembers working at the store when he was 15 years old.
As recently as 10 years ago, the store required someone to shovel coal into the furnace in the winter with warmth. Ryan’s father worked with the father of the store’s landlord, and Ryan would occasionally stoke the coal furnace.
From a young age, Ryan was interested in finding business opportunities. His “first little business venture” occured in the sixth grade at Carbondale Middle School. He would go to a PACE discount warehouse store — as he called it, “the Sam’s Club of its day” — and buy large bags of candy bars, licorice ropes or gum. He would then bring those sweet treats to school and sell them individually. It’s something “you could never get away with today,” he admits with a big laugh.
Janie was born and raised in Idaho. For two weeks each September, “I worked the potato harvest, like most kids in my area,” she said. “We never really got a spring break because we had a harvest break.”
They both have daughters who graduated from Roaring Fork High School in 2022 — Janie’s daughter, Aliyah, and Ryan’s daughter, Gracie.
In 2013, the Pratts met through mutual friends in Boulder. While Ryan was in Carbondale and Janie in Estes Park, she said, “We talked for months and months.” Janie admitted “the long-distance thing wasn’t going to work,” so, at the end of 2014, she and her daughters moved to the Roaring Fork Valley.
When the Pratts were looking to buy a business, Ryan said, they first looked at liquor stores on online business listings, but, “the [financials] didn’t end up matching on the paperwork.”
Ryan remembered his coal shoveling days and “knowing the landlord here, I called him and asked, ‘So tell me about the liquor store business,’ to which he answered, ‘All I know is I ate a lot of dinners in that place,’” Ryan laughed.
What followed were back-and-forth conversations with the landlord and the previous tenant. After evaluating the financials, they came to an agreement which ended with signing a lease and a new business venture for the Pratts.
Mary Jane, a tabby cat who is the store’s mascot, lives there full-time. The cat belongs to Janie’s 24-year-old daughter, Issa, an Idaho State University student helping out at the store this summer. Mary Jane greets customers and is already a bit of a local celebrity, having had her picture published in The Aspen Times a few weeks ago.
The liquor industry has changed considerably in the last 20-some years. New beverages like craft beers, hard seltzers and wine spritzers are increasingly popular, especially among younger patrons, and the Pratts have responded by expanding the number of selections at the store. Downtown Liquors also carries pre-mixed, canned cocktails, with offerings like gin and tonic, mai tais and piña coladas.
The Pratts also purchased recently Sopris Blueprinting, formerly located on Village Road. They’ve incorporated the store’s inventory of a copy machine and a large format printer into the liquor store space.
The large format printer can make print copies of up to 42 inches wide. Ryan said they’ve only had the printer installed for a couple of weeks, but they get calls about printing daily. Ryan shared, “With all these building permits for new houses or anything, you’ll always need a hard copy of your permit plans.”
And in April, the Pratts purchased Treadz/Goodz, the outdoor apparel and shoe store on Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs, from long-time owners Erin and Jon Zalinski.
Back at Downtown Liquors, they’ve opened their doors on First Friday with live music in the store. Ryan said, “One guy stopped in and said, ‘Woah, live music in a liquor store? I’ve never seen that before!’”
Future plans include bringing in cigarettes and other tobacco products like cigars, as well as some “unique whiskies and Scotches” with the intent of offering cigar and whiskey (or Scotch) pairing events, Janie shared.
They offer non-alcoholic beverages, including Coca-Cola products and mixers and a new black coffee drink with goji berry juice and cacao nibs from the woman-owned Colorado company, Wild Barn Coffee.
Located at 389 Main Street, they have extended their hours. Now open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 10 p.m.; Thursday from noon to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, call 970-963-2767.