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Park City’s Main Street is Becoming Just an Outdoor Shopping Mall

The Park Record has a way of clarifying what’s really happening around us. This week, they did that again.

Our local paper reported that LL Bean will open a store in the former Kimball Art Center Building. One could ask the question of whether Parkites would prefer the art center in that location, even if it was a 40 foot tall log cabin, or whether we’d prefer LL Bean. Either way, that ship has sailed and the answer is LL Bean. This comes on the footsteps of Vail Resorts opening a North Face store and a Patagonia Store on Main St.

I guess we’ll know that we’ve really arrived when the Rain Forest Cafe opens a location in the current Zoom restaurant location.

In some ways, it’s crazy. We’ve always thought of Park City as a different town. Few chains here!

Yet, did you know that the fur shop you’ve always made fun of for having fur underwear … is a chain? At one point they had five shops in Alaska and two down south. Now it appears they have two in Alaska and one in Jackson Hole and one in Park City.

Or did you know that the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has locations in Draper and Sandy? The word “factory” was a likely tip-off… although we didn’t pick up on that. Yes, you too could open a franchise in KJ.

We’re sure there are more retailers that we don’t know are chains along Main.

Then add to that the national retailers who are descending to Park City’s Main Street. For now, that seems to be outdoor retailers. If we are successful, don’t be surprised to see a Forever 21 soon. We’re envisioning The Gateway (In SLC), before their demise (to City Creek).

There is idyllic and then there is Park City. It seems we shouldn’t confuse the two.

Yet we don’t begrudge those who have sold or rented to the chains. Good on you.

It’s a brave new world. Yet we shouldn’t mistake who we really are.

Understanding who you really are leads to much better decisions than who you wish you were.

So the best advice might be to learn to live with what we are.

With (some) exceptions… we are a Vail resort town, that is expensive to live in, with above average schools, occasional bad traffic, and a history.

Unfortunately more of that history is being lost every day.

This is Park City 2017. It’s not necessarily better or worse…It’s just who we are.




Yeah, it sucks, imo.

And for those who didn’t know Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is a chain–come on. There are like 400 of them, in such exotic places as Asheville, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; and Fukuoka City, Japan. It may have its roots in the Rocky Mountains (Durango, to be exact), but there’s very little about the publicly-traded company that is “Rocky Mountain” or anything other than another chain on Main Street.


What history? There are relic mining towns all over the west. There must be thousands of them. So what?

I am always confused by the “Park City is losing it’s character” stuff. I have lived and spent time in lots of ski towns. Park CIty is by far the lamest and most generic (it also has way better schools than most, which is why some of us are here). Can someone point out what exactly it is that makes Park City interesting or unique?


I have to add: Park City’s main street isn’t just *becoming* an outdoor shopping mall – it is (and has been for a long time) *literally* an outdoor shopping mall!

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