Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sarah and Mark Hammer on the outside patio of their new cafe, Station 24, in Johnson Village. Photo by Jan Wondra.

Owners of a new grab-‘n’-go restaurant called Station 24, opening on or around Memorial Day on U.S. Highway 24/285 in Johnson Village, say that naming their new venture was easy.

“Well, when you buy an old Texaco Station, the theme is sort of baked in,” said Sarah Hammer, who with her husband, Mark, is breathing new life into the formerly shuttered service station. “It just made sense to call it Station 24. We’re keeping the old school retro look of the service station, and red and white are our colors. Doug Jordan, who has owned the place, actually saved the Texaco sign, so that’s going up inside. We’re going to feature art by Salida artist Lindsay Sutton-Stevens, and we just decided to embrace the retro feel.”

The station, situated between the Hammers’ other ventures, The Adventure Company, located at 12847 U.S. Highway 24, and PSH Sign Company, had sat neglected during the economic downturn for more than 12 years. “Blink, and you’d miss it,” said Hammer. “It’s been all boarded up. We looked at it, and it just made sense to bring it back.”

The Hammers, whose application for an on-premise beer and wine license was approved Tuesday by Chaffee County Commissioners, say their mission is good food served in a coffee shop/cafe atmosphere. They say the setting will allow guests to move through quickly, if that’s their choice; or stay and linger inside at the sleek, retro, red vinyl booths, or on the shaded outside patio with to-die-for views of Mt. Princeton.

“It will be grab-‘n’-go food, nothing made to order, so they don’t have to sit and wait for it to be prepared,” said Hammer, who noted the hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., matching the hours of their neighboring company. “We’re planning food ready to pack along on raft trips, hikes, things like that.”

The Hammers say they are working with a local Buena Vista bakery, Bird & Mouse Bakery, to offer fresh, homemade baked goods. They have contracted with Mountain Phoenix Roastery of Salida for their coffee.

“All the bakery goods will be fresh daily – it will be homemade muffins, cookies, things like that. All the fresh sandwiches will be made the night before, but we will toast and spread the bagels to order. The beer and wine license is for consumption here.”

The Hammers, who have operated The Adventure Company for 16 years, 11 of those years in the building next door to the old station, say that opening Station 24 fills a need.

“If you’re in rafting or adventure recreation, then you understand that the formula, if you will, is activities, food, coffee, beer, wine and lodging – and we already own the adventure component,” said Mark Hammer. “We think of this as sort of a welcome respite stop – from the east, it’s a couple hours from Denver; from the west it’s a great stop from Montrose. We figure our guests will include tourists, locals and mountain people taking a half-way stop.”

The entrepreneurial couple say they have had the luxury of taking their time and doing the project right, including connecting to city sewer and water, and carefully restoring the high-ceiling interior.

“We power-washed the walls and discovered this wonderful 1950s-style baked porcelain finish – who would imagine gleaming, white walls like this in a garage?” said Mark Hammer. “They couldn’t be better for the retro theme.”

Hammer said they plan to open around Memorial Day weekend. “We were shooting for the holiday, but it will probably be sometime later that week.”