The Colorado Rockies are sending in a reliever for their longtime Dugout store in Colorado Springs.
The retail store - which sells Rockies apparel, souvenirs and tickets - is moving next month to the University Village Colorado retail complex northwest of Nevada Avenue and Garden of the Gods Road. For nearly 20 years, it's been at the Crossroads at Citadel shopping center, northeast of Academy Boulevard and Galley Road.
The current location will close Nov. 23 and the University Village store will open at 9 a.m. Nov. 29 - in time for "Black Friday," the busy, post-Thanksgiving shopping day, said Aaron Heinrich, the Rockies' director of retail operations.
The store opened in May 1994 at The Citadel mall and moved to Crossroads in August of that year, said Heinrich, who ran the store from 1996 until 2000.
Central and South Academy have been identified as troubled areas by Springs government officials, in part, because of retail losses over several years. The Crossroads location has worked out well over the years, Heinrich said, but University Village Colorado is close to Interstate 25 and accessible from all parts of El Paso County.
"We felt like we had an opportunity to be a little more central," he said.
The Rockies' six Dugout stores in Colorado are more than just places to buy a T-shirt or jersey, Heinrich said. They offer services to season ticket-holders such as ticket exchanges, and provide exclusive ticket specials and opportunities to buy collectibles, such as game-used bats, balls and jerseys, he said.
The Rockies also view the stores as an important way to connect with fans in different parts of the state, Heinrich said.
The University Village location will be about 1,500 square feet, slightly smaller than the Crossroads store. It will be in a building that also houses Panera Bread and Smashburger.
University Village - anchored by Costco Wholesale Club, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse and Kohl's department store - is the centerpiece of a redevelopment project along North Nevada Avenue. The corridor, from roughly Garden of the Gods Road to I-25, was declared an urban renewal site nearly a decade ago by the Colorado Springs City Council; several old motels and other buildings were razed to make way for the shopping center.
University Village developer Kevin Kratt said having the Rockies on board will help enhance the shopping center's image.
"The Rockies represent a brand that we love to associate with," Kratt said. "To have their brand and their logo on one of our buildings, we're proud to have that."
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