Business is booming in downtown Greeley, with businesses seeing increased activity driven at least partly by the city's Downtown Development Authority programs.
It wasn’t that long ago that downtown Greeley was considered to be in a decline. That appears to be changing, with a flurry of new businesses setting up shop in the last few years.
Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall says 30 new businesses have opened in downtown since 2011, and a net gain of 58 new businesses since 2008. That increase has helped bring more money into the city's coffers.
"Retail sales tax revenue is up 3.9 percent year-to-date in February over the same period last year, with the city receiving $3.34 million in new taxes, up from $3.22 million in the same period last year," Nuttall says.
What has the Greeley DDA done to help create this extra activity?
"Local businesses attribute the progress to a new initiative that focuses on the area between Third and 18th streets and Fifth and 12th avenues. The initiative, developed with Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA), capitalizes on the entertainment and dining assets in downtown Greeley, and seeks to attract UNC students and entrepreneurs, among others.
Also, downtown business advocates are making efforts to entice entrepreneurs. Landlords Bob Tointon and Dan Wheeler have offered tenants graduated lease payments, so that early rents are low and rise after the business has had a chance to establish itself."
What kind of programs have resulted from this plan?
"Among the initiatives is a popular outdoor drinking program launched last summer known as 'Go-Cup.' It is Colorado's first common consumption zone. The zone allows patrons to take alcoholic beverages outside participating restaurants while shopping or watching plaza entertainment on specific nights. Go-Cup nights occur every Friday night from late May through September.
The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, a 17-year veteran of Greeley’s downtown, saw increases in revenue of more than 10 percent because of Go-Cup nights. On the program's kickoff night during the 2012 Greeley Blues Jam, the Rio set an all-time sales record, according to manager Shannon Hayhurst."
What about Greeley businesses that aren't located within the DDA boundary?
"A good example is the distillery Syntax Spirits, which sits just outside the boundary. Syntax owner Heather Bean is hopeful that she and newcomer Wiley Brewing, which is opening in the space next door at 625 Third St. [former home of Crabtree Brewing], will be able to replicate the success that Fort Collins' "across the tracks" businesses Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewing have had with luring patrons outside of what is traditionally considered downtown Fort Collins."