Downtown Businesses Turn To Creativity To Make Ends Meet

March 30, 2020
Revenue for many downtown businesses is down 90 percent as they face dwindling sales during the outbreak of the new coronavirus.Revenue for many downtown businesses is down 90 percent as they face dwindling sales during the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Courtesy of the Downtown Partnership
Revenue for many downtown businesses is down 90 percent as they face dwindling sales during the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Making ends meet has been a challenge for businesses in downtown Colorado Springs as the state faces unprecedented restrictions due to the new coronavirus.

Even with options for takeout and delivery still available, many restaurants in downtown Colorado Springs are reporting business is down as much as 90 percent, according to Laurel Prud’homme with the Downtown Partnership.

“This is really a Band-Aid on the situation and it’s a way to continue to keep the lights on and hopefully sustain them just enough so that they can make it through,” she says.

"Is this going to save their business? ...possibly. Really the goal right now is just to make it through and keep the lights on." - Laurel Prud'homme, Downtown Partnership

Some, Prud'homme says, are getting creative to keep their doors open.That includes several restaurants now operating as mini-markets to help people get the food they need. Prud’homme says that holds true to the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners.

“You can go to MacKenzie's and pick up ground beef and pick up New York strip steak. You can go to Good Neighbors Meeting House and pick up bread and fruits and vegetables. The Green Line Grill is also doing that,” she says as examples.

She says many retailers are also posting on Facebook as a way for people to virtually shop, then completing orders by phone and mailing products out.

Salons and service businesses have been ordered to close. Prud’homme says for them, it will be a matter of getting customers back in the door just as soon as they're allowed to do so.

The Downtown Partnership worked with the city of Colorado Springs to suspend parking meters downtown in an effort to increase customers and local businesses during the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Courtesy of the Downtown Partnership
The Downtown Partnership worked with the city of Colorado Springs to suspend parking meters downtown in an effort to increase customers and local businesses during the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Even with the current uncertainties, Prud'homme says the downtown area is positioned better than in the past to overcome these kinds of challenges due to increased investment in the city center, for example.

“When we look at the recession that we had in 2008 and the years it took to rebound from that, we know it’s going to be a struggle, but we do have some of those mechanisms in place so our footing is a little more solid, if you will,” she said.

Prud'homme suggests purchasing gift cards and certificates for later use, shopping online, and placing bulk orders at local restaurants as ways to help businesses make it through the crisis.