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Jerry Mercado-Vargas at former pop-up shop Mountain Standard Goods

Many holiday shoppers prefer the Downtown aesthetic. Its penchant for bright, festive lighting and décor far away from big-box parking lots, its distance from the congestion and noise of major thoroughfares and its tendency to stock unique and hard-to-find items go a long way toward drawing in those who want a more traditional holiday shopping experience.

As Downtown retailers gear up for what they hope is their busiest month of the year, some of the area’s biggest proponents have stoked the buying season with a promotion that aims to bring even more shoppers to the historic district.

In a campaign led by the Downtown Partnership and Bank of Colorado, shoppers who spend $50 or more on a single retail visit now have a chance to score some serious benefits.

“Shop local, win local” rewards consumers who spend their hard-earned dough Downtown between Nov. 11 and Dec. 11 by offering weekly prize drawings and a final grand prize.

This is the second year Downtown leaders have offered the holiday-time promotion, and all shoppers need to do to participate is upload or email a photo of their receipts to links on the campaign’s website (DowntownCS.com/holidays). They’ll be entered into weekly drawings — Nov. 26, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 — for gift baskets that include products from Downtown retailers and a $150 Downtown gift card, as well as the Dec. 15 grand prize drawing for a $1,000 Visa gift card.

Dan Nordberg, Bank of Colorado market president for Colorado Springs and the campaign’s co-founder, says the concept was born out of conversations he had with Susan Edmondson, the

Partnership’s president and CEO. “This time of year is a crucial shopping season for small retailers and we wanted to do something to help shine a light on what they do for our community,” says Nordberg. “This puts attention on them while also rewarding people who patronize the area.”

Leah Guest, manager at Tattered Cover Book Store, said her staff is more than excited about the campaign, especially since Tattered Cover is participating for the first time. “It’s beneficial for us because it’s providing incentives for customers to focus on local businesses as they do their holiday shopping,” she says. “Anything that is good for all of Downtown is also good for us as individual businesses.”

Nordberg notes that last year’s campaign proved to be a substantial success for the heart of the city and that this year project leaders plan to hold their weekly drawings at various retail locations.

“We heard some tremendous feedback from both shoppers and retailers following last year’s effort, so it made sense to bring it back,” he says.

The campaign does come with stipulations — restaurant and salon vendors aren’t included, for instance. So, shoppers should visit the website for more details.

“When you shop local, everyone wins,” says Edmondson. “Downtown stores offer one-of-a-kind items that people can’t find anywhere else. And, when shoppers support our independent businesses, our city’s economy is stronger.” 


Downtown pop-ups

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It’s strong evidence of the Springs’ thriving Downtown retail economy that there was a shortage of vacant storefronts to accommodate this year’s Holiday Pop-up Program. It’s the Downtown Development Authority project that puts up-and-coming small retailers into empty shop spaces for the holiday season. 

But all is not lost! A couple of spaces just became available, so look for painter Jack Denton’s shop at 31 E. Bijou St., and purveyor of stringed instruments Moondog Music at 523 S. Cascade Ave., #140.

There’s also something to celebrate in the number of former program participants that have become permanent Downtown fixtures — Rocky Mountain Soap Market (212 N. Tejon St., rockymountainsoapmarket.com), The Local Honey Collective (9 E. Bijou St., thelocalhoneyco.com), Eclectic CO (214½ N. Tejon St. shopeclecticco.com), Crafted Colorado (327 N. Tejon St., facebook.com/CraftedColorado), Good Eye (115 N. Tejon St., #100, facebook.com/TheGoodEyeShop), and Mountain Standard Goods (109 E. Bijou St., mstgoods.com).


Downloadable savings

You can save some bucks and support Downtown businesses (note: Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday!) by downloading a Discover Downtown Pass to your phone. You’ll find discounts and freebies at restaurants, bars, shops and purveyors of services and fun, including free tickets to 3E’s Comedy Club, a free side of biscuits & gravy at Urban Egg, and more. Download your savings at downtowncs.com/pass.