We had the good fortune of connecting with Gonzo Mirich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gonzo, what role has risk played in your life or career?
For many of us living in the mountains, risk-taking and adrenaline are a way of life. Either skiing, biking, climbing or in our work life, we always try to make it a little bit more risky in order to calm down our adrenaline cravings.
In my case in particular, taking risks has defined my career. Starting when I left my office job in Argentina in 2003 to teach skiing in Aspen, followed by putting all my life savings down to open a bar in downtown Aspen in 2009, I have always put more emphasis on the potential benefits, than on the down side of deals. Is that the “smart way” of doing business? Not sure, but it sure worked out for me.
In 2015 when the opportunity to buy Jimbo’s Liquors came up, I was certain that I had to do it, even if it meant leveraging my self way more than I probably should have.
I got a bank loan, as well as several personal loans from friends and family and the previous owner. Taking this leap proved to be the right decision, as I have already paid off all my debt and we are the strongest Jimbo’s has ever been from a financial stand point.
There is a proverb in the Ukraine: “He who doesn’t risk, doesn’t drink champagne” with the analogy in English “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Jimbo’s Liquors has been a staple in downtown Basalt for the past 50 years. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is what sets us apart, always willing to walk the extra mile to make sure our customers have the best shopping experience every time.
We are very proud of our carefully curated product selection, but we are always happy to carry new products if our customers would like us to do so.
How did I, a young Argentinean guy, end up owning a successful liquor store in Basalt, in the middle of the Colorado Rockies? Destiny brought me to Aspen during one of my school summer breaks (southern hemisphere’s summer) to teach skiing. It was love at first sight, I loved this valley right away and the valley loved me back.
My clear passion for beverages and entertainment and hard work ethics opened the door to several opportunities and I was always ready to take them. In between seasons I would grab my backpack and travel the world. In 2006 I drove a 1981 RV from Aspen to Argentina.
I worked at bars, high end restaurants, 5 star hotels, opened and managed a bar in downtown Aspen, worked as a sales person for a national liquor distributor and finally landed the opportunity to buy Jimbo’s 5 years ago. A little detail: I had almost no savings, so I had to get creative and knock on lots of doors to make it happen.
The lesson learned here is to always be nice to others, work hard and don’t ever burn any bridges. No matter what new challenges or opportunities life will put in front of you, asking friends for help, will always make it easier to overcome them.
A big part of Jimbo’s culture is to make every interaction count, make sure that people leave us better than they came, no matter if it’s a long time customer, a by passer or a driver dropping off a delivery.
Doing our very best to make people’s day better is our way of contributing to a better tomorrow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a matter of fact, living in one of the best places in the world, we are constantly receiving visits from friends. A great perk if you like entertaining as much as we do. My favorite time of the year is early April.
Spring skiing is great and longer days mean longer Apres ski. Aspen Highlands closing party is a must. It is the mother of all Apres, a celebration of ski living at its peak.
Another must is to stop by Jimbo’s, grab a six pack and a famous burrito from BLT, the taqueria next door and head to either one of our gold medal rivers to cast your rod for some rainbow trout.
Once the lifts stop spinning, it’s time to load dirt bikes, mountain bikes, campers and head to Moab, UT for some desert adventures.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, especially my Father, and without the support and love from my wife and three daughters I wouldnt be where I am today. I would also like to give a Special thanks to Steve Broitzman, who believed in me and assisted me with the purchase of Jimbo’s.
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