Local retailers rang up a very merry holiday season, outperforming national trends, thanks in large part to gift cards and last-minute shoppers. At The Citadel Mall, sales were up 2.5 percent compared to last year during the final week of Christmas shopping, said Diane Loschen, marketing manager for the mall.
The Pikes Peak Independent Business Alliance needs volunteers to contact members and plan events to promote local businesses. “We had a few setbacks in the last part of 2005,” said Andy Gipe, president of the PPIBA. “But we do have the Web site up, and the online director is working. We just need manpower at this point. We’re trying to get back in touch with members and get things started again.”
The newest Lowe’s store is preparing to open on Jan. 13, with more than 116,000 square feet of retail space. The store, located at the intersection of Union and Powers boulevards, is the second Lowe’s to open in Colorado Springs. Lowe’s is one of the anchors at the First and Main Center on Powers. “We’re opening an average of one new store every three days,” said Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb. “We’re currently in the fastest expansion in Lowe’s 60-year history.”
Last minute shoppers do not have to despair. Several Internet sites are still offering shipping – sometimes at no additional charge – for gifts purchased as late as 4 p.m. Dec. 23. Luxury stores, such as Brookstone, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, diamond.com and RedEnvelope.com, all offer shipping as late as Dec. 23, said Brad Wilson, a professional shopper and founder of bradsdeals.com.
Rock Bottom Restaurants Inc., the company that owns Old Chicago, opened its first Rock Bottom restaurant and brewery in Colorado Springs this week. Located at Powers and South Carefree in the Main Street shopping plaza, the restaurant joins three Old Chicago restaurants in Colorado Springs, but is the first of the company’s brewery concepts to enter the market.
Jean-Marie Designs now has three times more space – the floral company moved to a new location at 25 E. Cheyenne Road. “We were downtown for 18 years,” owner Jean-Marie Handal said. “We were in a small space, an opportunity came open to buy the new building. It was a great real estate investment.”
Tejon Street stores are getting credit for being on the cutting edge of a new wave of retailing – small shops with easy parking near restaurants and entertainment venues, according to a new book on shopping in Colorado. “They really have come full circle,” said Judie Schwartz, author of “A Fashion Lover’s Guide to the Best Shopping in Denver and Beyond.”
The Downtown Partnership plans to celebrate the holiday season in style, with a parade, carolers and holiday gift coupons. The Downtown Partnership and several stores, restaurants and bars have put together free giveaway “checks” for downtown workers in Colorado Springs. Marketing to employees makes sense, said Beth Kosley, executive director of the Downtown Partnership.
Visitors to Poor Richard’s – either the bookstore or the restaurant – have seen the hammering, sawing and painting in the space that used to house the business’s children’s bookstore. Once the work is finished, the 1,500 square foot space will become a coffee and wine bar that hopes to attract patrons with live music, poetry readings and book signings. The retail location will also sell chocolates, juice and smoothies.
Mike Callicrate is becoming an international spokesman for independent ranchers and beef processors. The owner of Colorado Springs' Ranch Foods Direct recently filmed a feature segment for TV Tokyo, a Japanese network that produces the only business television show in the country.
Two business partners are collaborating to open an all-natural meat market in northern Colorado Springs early next year. Colorado Steak Co. will launch operations at the Shops of Briargate in January. The store will offer naturally grown beef, poultry, lamp, pork, fresh fish and seafood, said co-owner Clifford Telle.