Her father, Paul, has owned the Main Street bar and restaurant Elm Street Tavern — formerly the Dry Dock Restaurant — for the past 22 years and has 38 years of restaurant experience in Montezuma County as the previous owner of Nero’s Italian Grill and the former Tortilla’s Mexican restaurant.
She took courses including personal training and biology at Northern Arizona University and Fort Lewis College, and after moving back to Cortez a few years ago, started to feel the pull into the family business. This week, Breezy officially takes the helm at Elm Street Tavern and on Thursday will unveil her addition to the business: a “new mercantile” gift shop specializing in hard-to-find “fun, funky” items.
To make way for the store, the Obletz family cut the restaurant in half, renovating it and tweaking the menu. The restaurant is now open for lunch.
“I’m really passionate about design, so we decided to update the inside. ... We brought in a bunch of rustic wood, fresh, bright paint, and stained glass to give it a French-country feel.”
Breaking the restaurant down to a more manageable size allowed for Breezy to put her own mark on the family business by way of the retail component.
“When we first decided that I would take over, I realized that the restaurant just wasn’t me. I also realized that Cortez needed a store that was different, that has a little bit of everything,” she said. “So many people go to Walmart, or have to drive to Durango or Farmington to do gift shopping, so I’m hoping we fill a need here locally.”
The Corner Store features everything from kitchenware, baby clothes, toys, wall decor, books, throw pillows, women’s accessories and kitschy knickknacks. Breezy and her mother, Susie, have scoured the Four Corners region looking for unique items from local producers. Additionally, many of the products are socially conscious and eco-friendly, like the 50/50 candles that donate half of proceeds to charity, and the organic cotton baby clothes and toys.
Her father, Paul – who jokes that his new name is “Retired” — says he hopes the store is something the community supports. Breezy, on the other hand, is nervous about taking the helm but is grateful for the strong business foundation her parents have built.
“I’m really nervous, and really excited. My dad has owned this place for 22 years, and if I can keep this going for half of that I think I could say ‘I did alright’,” she said with a smile.
The Corner Store is located at 200 W. Main and opens on Nov. 12.