Shop owners say closings of Magoo’s, Gracy’s dont tell Market Street story |

Shop owners say closings of Magoo’s, Gracy’s dont tell Market Street story

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A sunny Thursday morning on Market Street in the Glenwood Meadows shopping center was a perfect way for Jane Schissel to spend some time.Schissel, an Aspen resident, said she comes to Glenwood Springs to get her “big city fix.” And Market Street is one place she frequents when she’s in town.”This is a nice place with outdoor seating,” Schissel said as she sipped on a cup of coffee in front of Starbucks on Market Street.She likes the outdoor seating, too.”It’s a great place with a central location,” she said. “I can come to Lowe’s, then go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and then get my hair cut all in the same place, and I don’t have to drive all over town.”Schissel’s optimism is exactly what store owners on Market Street hoped for when they set up next to big boxes like Target and Lowe’s. However, that’s not exactly what they got in return.Amy Sheeber-Knight, proprietor of Sugar Sweet Clothing, said that her store’s had a very good first year on Market Street despite a lack in customer traffic.

“It’s been very good,” Sheeber-Knight said. “But just like other businesses, like Magoo’s and Gracy’s experienced, we were expecting droves of people coming over from Target and that hasn’t happened, that’s disappointing.”But businesses continue to thrive despite recent closings of Gracy’s clothing store and Magoo’s Italian Bar and Grill, according to other local store owners. The No. 1 concern of most seemed to be a lack of promotional signage around town and within the shopping center, which is part of the reason for the low walk-in traffic, Sheeber-Knight said.”People get in their car and go home, they don’t go to Market Street,” she said. “If there was a sign outside of Target that promoted pizza or nails (salon) on Market Street, that would help bring them over.”So, without strong promotion, owners have had to get creative in how they market their shops.Sheeber-Knight said that when she didn’t see the number of customers she had envisioned, she changed her business model and has become a sort of niche store for dresses and shoes. That’s proved to be a strong theme among businesses on Market street.”We’ve had to specify what we sell according to what our walk-in customers want,” Sheeber-Knight said. “We figured out what the market needed because it wasn’t what we thought it was going to be.”Then it’s just a matter of withstanding time and making enough to keep the doors open.The combination of low foot traffic and high rent was part of the reason for Magoo’s closing, according to owner Myriah Blair.

But vice president of leasing for Miller-Weingarten Bill McKernon said that the rents aren’t high in relation to the area and that the shop owners are always “charged a market rent.” McKernon said that with the closing of the two shops in June, Meadows has only three vacant spaces, and in his opinion, that is pretty good.”We’re still at 90 percent leased,” McKernon said. “None of our centers are at 100 percent leased.”But McKernon optimistically said that the other businesses at the center, such as Chili’s and Zheng’s Asian Bistro, have had a great year.Alisa Tillung, owner of Smoothy King, agreed with McKernon in that businesses succeed and fail for different reasons.”Anywhere you go there are ups and downs,” Tillung said. “Any of the businesses would be able to say the same thing.”Smoothy King has been open for almost a year and a half, Tillung said, and she indicated that one of the reasons her business has been successful is the fact that she looked to others for guidance.

“I walked in with realistic expectations,” Tillung said. “I looked to others through the first year, and now I’m applying what I’ve learned.”Tillung said that customers were hard to come by in the first month of business, but since then she’s focused on educating the customers on what her business offers and getting involved with the community.”My challenges are of a new business owner,” she said. “They’re not because of the Meadows or the location.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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