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What can you get for a buck (or less)?

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Who says you can’t get anything for a buck anymore? It took a little legwork, but there are (maybe surprisingly so) many items for one dollar or less in Carbondale. And many are even free!

The hunt for those discounted items started with eliminating the obvious. Sorry, dollar and thrift stores, but we have just come to expect that kind of deal from you.

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One of the rules was it had to be a standalone deal. For example, deals where you bought x number of items, then got the x number free, were not considered.

Disclaimer: Do not take offense if your place did not make the list. I am sure The Sun will do another circle through town in the future. What follows are tidbits of conversations from my meanderings.

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At Roadside Gallery I had a lengthy conversation with owner Martin Garfinkel about the origins of the “Welcome to Carbondale – Downtown” sign which was originally painted on wood and stood at the entrance to the town. He offers a free postcard of the famous sign.

The Carbondale fire and police departments offer tours of their facilities. The fire department offers tours of the station’s trucks, equipment, and bunker rooms. Free firefighter hats and stickers, as available, are given to tour participants. You can schedule a tour by calling Paul Herr at 963-2491.

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The police department offers tours by calling the main switchboard at 963-2662. The tour includes visiting the storage room, squad room, and fingerprint table. There is also a look into the police vehicles, with a demonstration on how to work the lights and siren.

Other items available from the police department for free to the general public are bike lights, gun locks, and during Halloween, they hand out glowsticks.

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The Carbondale Post Office is known for the candy that Marty Silverstein hands out. He said it is “for children of all ages.” There are free stickers if you prefer to pass on the sugar.

The high-traffic corner for picking up free newspapers (including yours truly), has to be the corner of Main and Sixth Streets, just outside of Carbondale Beer Works. At any one time, there are eight local newspapers in the newspaper racks.

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The Black Nugget bar has free salted-in-the-shell peanuts, and you don’t have to buy a beverage to indulge. Cindy, who bartends there, said, “people come in to watch TV or maybe to watch friends play pool. The peanuts are for everyone.”

Olivia from Carbondale Beer Works said they offer free CBW stickers. She said, “People like to put them on their bikes. Other people like to put them on beer fridges they have in their home or garage.”

The Carbondale Branch Library has its ongoing book sale room which offers some free books, kids’ books for 50¢, and paperbacks for $1. Amaranda Fregoso, the circulation coordinator, said there is also a box of free books by the circulation desk, which she said, “is always very popular.” She added, “And library cards are free.” They also stock free books in the library stand located near the bus shelters at the Carbondale Park and Ride.

In making the trek to various Carbondale establishments, I stopped by Fatbelly Burgers, where Daniel Armenta (also known as Mr. Mango) said they have nothing for free, but they do have “free smiles.” He added, “We can always use those, right?” I whole-heartedly agree with his assessment.

Items for $1 or less

450 Teppanyaki: hot and sour or miso soup, peanut or ginger dressing salad

Artique gift shop at The Launchpad: mini rose birthday candles, Carbondale Creative District cowgirl stickers

Bonfire Coffee: bagel (untoasted)

Carbondale Creamery and Cafe: banana, yogurt, potato chips, soda, pickle, one egg

Mi Casita: pickled jalapeño peppers

Mi Lindo Nayarit: various candies

Peppino’s Pizza : kiddie-size ice cream cone, garlic knot or stick

Roosters: toast

Sopris Ranger Station: pins, medallions, and magnets for 25¢

Village Smithy Restaurant:  avocado, one slice of bacon or a turkey sausage link, banana, toast, one egg


Basalt Bike & Ski: bike stickers and air for bike tires

Black Nugget Bar: peanuts

Carbondale Beer Works: stickers

Carbondale Branch Library: register for a library card online or in-person (fines for overdue library materials, however, are not free). Some books in the book sale room or in the box near the circulation desk. Free books at the library stand at the Carbondale Park and Ride.

Carbondale Fire: tours

Carbondale Police: tours; bike lights, gun locks, and during Halloween, free glowsticks

Carbondale Pool: free pool use for Silver Sneakers members

Carbondale Post Office: candy and stickers

Dos Gringos Burritos: DOS stickers

Newspapers: your weekly newspaper (shameless plug inserted here) The Sopris Sun; other free newspapers include the Aspen Daily News, Aspen Times, The Crystal Valley Echo, El Montanés, Glenwood Springs Post Independent,  The Roaring Fork Weekly Journal, and the Vail Daily. Publications may vary by location.

Roadside Gallery: famous “Welcome to Carbondale – Downtown” sign postcards

Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA): free rides on the Carbondale Circulator; free rides on RFTA: buses for those ages 65 or older, with either an RFTA Senior ID Pass or State- or Government-issued photo ID

Roaring Fork Valley Co-op: 12 oz. coffee, popcorn

Sopris Ranger Station: motor vehicle use maps; a kids’ corner with stickers, coloring and activity books, pencils, rulers, and hats

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