Hayden resident Sally Tyler shows a necklace to her husband, Jim Tyler, on Monday at Favorite Things Antiques & Collectables at 584 Yampa Ave., in downtown Craig. A down economy has created challenges for several downtown businesses that have moved locations or closed operation altogether.

Photo by Brian Smith

Hayden resident Sally Tyler shows a necklace to her husband, Jim Tyler, on Monday at Favorite Things Antiques & Collectables at 584 Yampa Ave., in downtown Craig. A down economy has created challenges for several downtown businesses that have moved locations or closed operation altogether.

Downtown businesses wading through tough economy in Craig

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Craig resident Victoria Larkin shops for clothes Monday at the Community Budget Center at 555 Yampa Ave.

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Craig resident Josh King, 20, taps an aquarium tank Monday while Blaine Cody, 15, watches at The Jungle pet shop at 565 Yampa Ave.

Karen Brown, president of the Downtown Business Association in Craig, used one word to describe how the downtown businesses lining Yampa Avenue and West Victory Way are doing in the bad economy.

Struggling.

“I think sales are down and it’s partly the economy,” she said. “I think people are just hanging on to their money.”

Foot traffic downtown, Brown said, is about the same, but shoppers are being more frugal about how they spend money.

“I think that the (businesses) that are here are working hard to make it work,” she said.

Although business in the area has been down, there has been some new activity downtown.

The Jungle pet shop, owned by Clint Gabbert, opened in March at 565 Yampa Ave.

Sharyn’s Upscale Consignment moved into the location previously owned by Zumba Fitness at 29 W. Victory Way, from a previous location at 124 W. Victory Way.

Zumba Fitness has moved into the Trapper Fitness Center at 261 Commerce St.

However, Brown said, several downtown businesses have either moved or gone out of business.

The building previously occupied by Pro Image Photography at 518 Yampa Ave. is still for sale, Brown said.

Pinky’s Palace, located at 519 Yampa Ave., recently went out of business as well, Brown said.

However, Renata Beason, owner of The Embroidery Shoppe, said she will move her business into the building and plans to open the store Sept. 1.

“I hate to have empty businesses downtown,” Brown said. “It’s so bad for everybody when you have a business that is empty downtown, but nobody wants to start a business right now when the economy is so bad.”

But, Brown said, there are events that are helping downtown businesses during the summer months, like the farmer’s market in Alice Pleasant Park.

“The farmer’s market really seems to have been a help because … people just start coming in,” she said. “They’ll stop in and even if they don’t spend anything, it is just good exposure for us.”

Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of The Kitchen Shop at 577 Yampa Ave., said her business is holding its own.

“We are doing OK,” she said. “Business could always be better. I think everybody downtown is pretty much holding steady.”

Daszkiewicz said business has risen from the first quarter of the year, but that is not unusual seasonal activity.

“I’ve had years that were better and I have had years that are worse,” she said.

Daszkiewicz said Craig hasn’t been “hit as badly as a lot of other parts of the country.”

“I think that a lot of people are being very cautious on their spending, which I can understand, because I think there is a real concern as far as the future of the economy, especially locally,” she said.

Jackie Roberts, owner of the Hair Loft, a salon, and Under the Aspen Tree, a small gifts store, said retail sales have been slow since January.

“Really slow as a matter of fact,” she said. “As far as the (salon) service … that has stayed busy.”

Roberts contends the other businesses on her block are in the same position.

“It seems like here it just goes in little spurts,” she said.

During the bad economy, Roberts said she had to decrease the amount of inventory she carried in Under the Aspen Tree.

“I’m not carrying near the merchandise that I did have,” she said. “… It is not going to do me any good just to set it on the shelf. I really don’t have any foot traffic coming through. Not even people really looking like we used to.”

But, despite the bad economy and some downtown businesses struggling, Brown contends the downtown businesses will pull through.

“I think we’ll always be here,” she said. “I think there will always be something downtown. It is such a pretty little downtown.”

Comments

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

There is a surprising lack of data in this article and an abundance of antidotal statements. Interesting to read but not very valuable to make informed decisions from or a assess the reality of the current situation.

The Retail Trade sector is not for the faint of heart - it is hard work with very little room for errors. However, currently it is way too easy for retailers to blame "the economy" for everything. Starting earlier this year Yampa Valley Partners began forecasting gross retail sales. The most recently forecast called for a 4 to 4.5% increase in Gross Retail sales in Moffat County for July 2010 over 2009. This likely has happened.

The whole reason for forecasting was to help retailers have something to measure their individual performance against. For example, if downtown retailer sales for July 2010 were down 15% or more from 2009 levels - the economy is likely not the cause. Something in their business model is likely accounting for most of the decline. Blaming everything on the economy can blind them to other issues the retailer can address.

What we know about the Retail Trade in Moffat County: The combined Gross Retail Sales for Jan & Feb of 2010 were $24.8 and $23.6 respectively. For 2007 for the same period the sales were $24.8 and $23.4. For 2006 the figures are $23.5 and $24.1. This is just more evidence that the years of 2009 and 2008 were not normal. (As a nation and in Moffat County spending was a wee-bit crazy - we were spending more than we should have.) The take away message is that a retailer should look at their sales in 2006 and 2007 and budget accordingly. In the role as the regional economist this is the message I share both up and down valley.

As an industry sector Retail Trade accounts for about 12.5% of private sector personal income in Moffat County over the past 9 years. In Routt County it accounts for 11.4%. Statewide the percentage is 7.5%. The reason for the difference at the state level can likely be attributed to the influence of "Big Box" stores. Everyday low prices are accomplished by, economy of scale, aggressively negotiating wholesale prices from vendors and keeping labor cost as low as possible.

About 50% of the Gross Retail Sales in Moffat County are spent on items not subject to Colorado Sales tax. The vast majority of the amount not subject to sales tax is on food purchased at the grocery stores.

At the present time there are more retailers in Moffat County than there every has been. The number of establishments submitting sales tax collection forms to the state was 563 in February 2010. For the same period the numbers for 2009=561; 2008=509; 2007=526; 2006=502.

There is a lot we know about the Retail Trade sector in Moffat County. Antidotal statements need to be balanced with facts or we easily lose perspective.

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