Glenwood business promos abound during detour |

Glenwood business promos abound during detour

Jonathan Gorst came up with the "Detour to Relaxation" idea to help bring more business to the downtown shops and restaurant during the detour of the Grand Avenue bridge.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

All those people venting on Facebook and other forums that they intend to avoid Glenwood Springs businesses until the Grand Avenue bridge detour is over in November may reconsider if they knew about the deals to be had.

At least that’s the message being put out by area business owners who have decided to take the “all-for-one, one-for-all” approach in an effort to ride out the detour doldrums.

“This may be one of the better times to visit Glenwood Springs, because there are some great deals out there,” said Jonathan Gorst, owner of the Riviera Supper Club and Piano Bar. “Through all of this, people are even more motivated to make the customer experience better and to add value to it.”

The usual caveat, he and others are quick to stress, is to avoid those peak traffic times during the late afternoon and morning commute on weekdays, and on given Saturdays during the middle of the afternoon.

Otherwise, traffic is tolerable and there’s ample free downtown parking, Gorst said. “And that foot bridge is so beautiful and easy to walk across,” he said of access to and from the north side of the Colorado River along Sixth Street, where Interstate 70 Exit 116 completely avoids the detour.

For his part, Gorst orchestrated the “Detour to Relaxation” campaign, the largest of several promotional efforts, to help drum up business for downtown shops and restaurants through the admittedly challenging detour period while the new bridge nears completion.

The deal involves a punch card that shoppers can validate at participating businesses in the downtown core for a minimum purchase, which is typically in the $5 to $20 range, depending on the business. After five validations, the card is good for a day pass at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, or a $25 value during the current peak season.

What started with just 10 participating businesses just a couple of weeks ago has grown to 40, after Glenwood City Council agreed to kick in $4,500 worth of discretionary tax dollars to help in promoting the campaign.

“As of Friday, we have redeemed 53 cards and there are 2,500 out to individuals,” Gorst reported. “That represents approximately $17,800 in downtown revenue so far.”

The campaign was designed to encourage businesses to work together through the difficult time, rather than going it alone on the marketing front, he said.

“The idea was to offer something to draw people downtown and reward the loyalty of patronizing our downtown core and to make it fun,” Gorst said.

By gaining the city’s financial support, and with promotional help from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, close to 90 percent of the downtown businesses are taking part.

Special “Detour to Relaxation” posters are in the windows of participating businesses. Once a card has five validations, during the day it can be brought to Providence Apothecary on Cooper Avenue for redemption to receive an Iron Mountain Hot Springs pass. Later in the evening, Gorst is handling the redemptions at the Riviera.

It’s even conceivable for tourists to pick up a card on a Friday and obtain enough validations to earn a free soak over the weekend.


The campaign is just one of several promotions being offered during the three-month detour period, which is now nearing the halfway point.

A few weeks ago, the Hot Springs Pool started a “Local’s GAB Commuter Special,” offering a somewhat discounted $10 pool entry for adults and $6 for children after 3 p.m. on weekdays for anyone residing in the immediate area from Parachute to Aspen and east to Eagle.

Soon after the detour went into effect in mid-August, Alpine Bank got on board sending its team of bank executives out to lunch at different places around Glenwood where they are picking up the tab for random customers.

The chamber also has its “Treasure Hunt 2017 — A Bridge to Riches” campaign underway, where people follow weekly clues to locations around town for the chance to win a $1,000 prize package after the detour is over.

Individual businesses are also getting into the act with different discount deals, special promotions and, in some cases, more favorable hours.

This past week, the A la Carte boutique in the Vectra Bank building at Eighth and Grand was offering 10 percent off items in the store to anyone who brought in a receipt from a downtown restaurant. Similar weekly specials are in the works, as well, owner Vicki VanEngelenburg said.

“It’s a real win-win for everyone to do those sorts of things,” she said. “I know I’ve been doing whatever I can to go out to eat lunch at our restaurants, and I wanted to reward others who were doing the same.”


Various businesses outside the downtown core — at the Glenwood Meadows, in West Glenwood and along Grand Avenue stretching to the south end of town — are also trying to be inventive in their attempts to lure customers in the door and ease the detour pain.

Glenwood Veterinary Clinic on South Grand Avenue has begun offering Saturday hours for appointments so its clients can avoid the busy weekday traffic.

“That’s something we haven’t had before, and we think that by adding the Saturday hours it will allow people to adjust their schedule and be able to bring their animals in at a reasonable time,” said Sam Johnson, a new associate veterinarian at the clinic.

Being one of a handful of vet clinics in the Glenwood vicinity that treats large animals, Johnson also noted that it’s not good for horses and other large animals to be in trailers stuck in traffic for long periods. Even having smaller pets in carriers for lengthy periods of time can be stressful, he said.

“That is really a concern to us,” Johnson said. “And, for our vets who go out to visit animals on site, it’s better to be able to plan our day around when we know the traffic is going to be less. Having those Saturday hours frees us up to be more flexible.”

Gorst said he would love to see more businesses outside the downtown core band together to offer special deals, “and this is a great time to do it,” he said.

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