More than four years after Sports Authority closed its stores in Fort Collins, the second half of its former Front Range Village storefront will soon be occupied.
Burlington, formerly Burlington Coat Factory, is under construction in the space on the southwest corner of the shopping center and expects to be open by the end of the year, said Huston Hoffman, Front Range Village general manager.
Burlington is the largest of the new stores coming to the shopping center at the corner of Harmony and Ziegler roads and is part of a nationwide expansion of stores that include at least 35 new Burlington locations through June.
The closest Burlington store is in Johnstown at the 2534 development.
Also at Front Range Village, a Nike Outlet store opened Feb. 18, a new bakery specializing in French macarons expects to open in mid-March, 9Round Fitness kickboxing gym opened in August and a Bank of America branch is in the works.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the center lost Mindstream Yoga and Lane Bryant, a women’s clothing store that filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago and closed several stores, including in Fort Collins.
Hoffman said the center is actively leasing six storefronts.
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Overall, Front Range Village benefited from a mix of retailers, including a handful that were considered essential and never had to close at the start of the pandemic.
SuperTarget, Lowe’s, Sprouts, RJ’s Wine and Spirits and three banks continued operations when COVID-19 restrictions shut down most retailers. “Having essential businesses bringing business to the center was critical,” Hoffman said.
Nike ‘just does it’
The Nike Outlet store, previously an anchor at the Outlets at Loveland, moved into Front Range Village earlier this month and opened for business Feb. 18.
The store is about the same size as its Loveland store, which closed about two weeks ago, but “is more of a community store,” said Forestt McMahill, one of Nike’s managers.
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Opening during a pandemic “has been kind of crazy, but for the most part it’s been what we expected,” he said. “It’s just like opening any other Nike store, but more fun (in a good way).”
Representatives from Nike’s corporate office were not available for comment for this story.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
A touch of France
Classical violinist Sandra Zupanski started baking macarons — a French meringue cookie with creamy filling — as a way to deal with the high stress of studying, practicing and performing for her degree in violin performance the University of Michigan.
She shared them with fellow students and friends and “everyone loved them,” said Zupanski, who will open Poeme Macarons in mid-March.
“When I finished my degree I decided I loved making macarons and loved the idea of opening my own business,” she said.
Two years later, she started a wholesale macaron business working out of a commercial kitchen space in Longmont and selling her delicate cookies online and for delivery. The business grew so much, Zupanski decided to expand to a brick-and-mortar store in Fort Collins, where she lives.
Macarons, made from simple ingredients, can be quite tricky to make, said Zupanski, who calls them “divas” because they’re so finicky. “Like with most French pastry, it comes down to technique.”
Macarons from Poeme are naturally gluten free and completely handmade including each filler. Zupanski said her macarons are different and she recommends trying one “even if you think you don’t like macarons. They’re super creamy, not very sweet and melt in your mouth.”
Flavors include Earl Grey and peach; Brazilian chocolate-caramel, lime basil and Aztec chocolate raspberry, among others.
The store is named after “Poeme,” a love song written by French composer Ernest Chausson and a staple in the violin repertoire. The store “is my love song” to the macaron, Zupanski said.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and closed Tuesday.
Macarons are $3 each or $34 per dozen with bulk discounts available for more than three dozen.
For more information, visit poememacarons.com.
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.