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Foss liquor store to close at end of year

First-time business owner plans to spend time raising children


Brittany DeCarlo’s time as a small business owner was a good run, she said, but she is now looking forward to being a stay-at-home mom for a while.

DeCarlo owned Foss Building Wine & Spirits, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, for 10 years. The liquor store’s doors are closing on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s bittersweet,” DeCarlo said. “But I’m grateful that I’ll have the memories.”

The reason for the closure is DeCarlo’s lease is up, and the landlord has different plans for the space going forward, DeCarlo said.

A formal announcement on what it will become is not being made yet, but it will be an establishment that serves the residents of downtown Golden, said Sarah Labosky, a fifth-generation Foss family member. The building has been in the Foss family since 1913.

“The Foss family is going to continue its commitment to doing great things in Golden,” she said. “We’re looking forward to the exciting things to come.”

Although sad the liquor store is closing, DeCarlo is embracing the opportunity to spend more time with her family, she said. Her husband has a career separate from the liquor store, and the two have three children, aged 5 and younger.

“I’m happy I’ll have extra time to spend with my family,” DeCarlo said.

The business has legally sold liquor for 114 years straight, said local historian Rick Gardner. Two men with the last names of Gallinger and Root opened the business in 1903, but at that time, it was located on the other side of Washington Avenue from where the building currently sits, Gardner said. A man with the last name of Langenhan relocated it to its 1224 address in 1913. That year, Henry and Dorothy Foss opened it as the Foss General Store.

Because the Foss family operated it as a drug store, liquor was legally able to be sold there for medicinal purposes during prohibition, Gardner said. The Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant, 1000 Osage St. in Denver, was issued the state’s first liquor license for saloon purposes in 1933 — after prohibition was over.

The Foss building was eventually expanded and divided into individual rental units. By 2003, the building was expanded to more than 50,000 square feet.

Foss Drug Store closed in 2007, but DeCarlo opened it as Foss Building Wine & Spirits in November that year. 

Born and raised in Golden, DeCarlo worked for a private jet company prior to opening the liquor store. Foss Building Wine & Spirits was her first venture as a business owner.

It was a learning opportunity for her, she said, and she enjoyed gaining all the knowledge required to run a successful business.

And “I’ve enjoyed meeting all the town folks,” she added. “We know most of our customers by name.”

DeCarlo had three employees and Bella, an 11-year-old golden retriever that served as the store’s mascot.

“Sometimes people would come in just to say ‘hi’ to Bella,” DeCarlo said.

Andy Jonsson, 31, of Golden couldn’t recall exactly how long he has been a customer of the liquor store, but it dates back to when he would go there with his parents, he said.

He likes the selection the liquor store has and that it offered good prices. But most of all, Jonsson liked the good customer service, he said.

“I know everyone who works here,” Jonsson said. “It’s really sad to see it go.”


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