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As snow train approaches, preparations commence

The former Mountain and Boardertown space is getting fixed up for an artisan’s bazaar that should give cold-weather tourists a place to warm up and browse local goods. Mike Bowers, co-chair of the Business Alliance, is heading the effort.

The former Mountain and Boardertown space is getting fixed up for an artisan’s bazaar that should give cold-weather tourists a place to warm up and browse local goods. Mike Bowers, co-chair of the Business Alliance, is heading the effort. Photo by John Grybos.

— As fat snowflakes fell on Main Street Dec. 27, Mike Bowers, co-chair of North Creek's Business Alliance, pointed out the window of the former Mountain and Boardertown space and said, “That's money.”

The Saratoga-North Creek Railway is banking on the wintry weather for its snow train, which makes its first run the weekend of Dec. 30 and will continue weekends through March. The trip will mark the first winter passenger train to the Gore-side town in more than half a century.

Though the train will complement travel to the Gore ski resort this winter, Iowa-Pacific Holdings, parent company of the local railway, knows from other operations around the country that ski-season train riders aren't all seeking a day at the slopes. Some are tagging along with skiing and boarding enthusiasts, while others are simply tourists who want to enjoy North Creek in cold weather.

Part of the effort to bring more browsing options to visitors and keep them downtown is a re-opening of the Mountain and Boardertown space in the Grand Union Plaza, a storefront that's been shuttered for years.

During a tour of the store, Bowers grabbed an inspection tag from a fire extinguisher mounted near the entrance, checking its date.

“2007, that's how long it's been,” he said.

Bower's construction company is working on the store for an artisan's bazaar. Iowa-Pacific is leasing the large store and in turn will lease to a juried selection of local craftspeople at a percentage of their sales. Bowers said they're hoping to create an inviting space that people want to spend time in.

A sitting area, a coffee counter — though not one so well-equipped that it will compete with Main Street coffee stops — and maybe even a concessions stand are all ideas floating around, though not yet tied down, said Bowers.

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