Downtown businesses wading through tough economy in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Downtown businesses wading through tough economy in Craig

Brian Smith

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.

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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."

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