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Merchants hope to give downtown Glenwood Springs a shot in the arm

Ryan Graff

A group of Glenwood Springs residents is hoping to attract locals to downtown this summer with a farmers’ market. The residents, calling themselves the Downtown Merchants Group, are busy planning the Downtown Market Place for Tuesday afternoons this summer.The merchants group formed as a subcommittee of the Downtown Development Authority but is really just “people who live in Glenwood and believe in downtown,” said Cindy Svatos, who is helping organize the market. Some group members have been kicking around the idea of a downtown farmers’ market in Glenwood Springs for years, but last summer they decided to get serious about forming the market, Svatos said. “The interest has been there,” she said. “It’s time to do one, a really good one.”Glenwood Springs already has a farmers’ market each Saturday in the parking lot of True Value, just south of the downtown core. That market will continue this summer, True Value employees said. However, the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District plans to buy the True Value property later for a new Glenwood Springs High School. The inspiration for the new farmers’ market comes in part from downtown farmers’ markets in Grand Junction and Minturn. Grand Junction’s downtown “overflows” during its Thursday night markets, and Minturn draws as many as 45,000 people each summer, said Svatos and Nancy Paige, who is also on the organization committee. The group hopes Colorado-grown produce, handmade crafts and some sort of entertainment each week will bring locals into downtown. “We want people to start coming downtown and rediscover the merchants downtown,” Svatos said. The focus on retailers is a bit of a curiosity since few members of the Downtown Merchants Group have anything to do with downtown. Except for Paige, manager of Main Street Gallery, none of the members runs or owns a downtown business, Svatos said. Regardless of who is organizing the market, downtown retailers seem to be behind the idea. “It’s great,” said Monica Miller, owner of Anderson’s Clothing on Grand Avenue. “It’s the first thing that’s been done downtown for the locals.”Though Miller focused on the local entertainment, organizers are focused on retailers. Local retailers will be encouraged to participate in the market either through a booth at the market, or by setting up sidewalk displays in front of their stores, Svatos said. It may be a win-win for all, though. The market will give people something to do and might draw people to downtown businesses. Anderson’s will stay open later on Tuesdays while the market is open, Miller said. The market is scheduled to begin Tuesday, June 21, and run 4 to 8 p.m. through Oct. 11 on Ninth Street between Grand and Cooper avenues. Despite big plans for the Downtown Market Place, the organization has a “very minimal” start-up budget – less than $1,000, Svatos said.The Market Place would like to be totally self-sufficient in three years through vendor fees, but right now it is looking for corporate sponsors to offset the costs of advertising, trash service, entertainment and printing. For more information or to donate, call: Jan Harr, 945-0321, or Cindy Svatos, 945-2877.


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