Owners of the Promenade Shops at Briargate market their shopping center as a home to trendy stores that aren’t found elsewhere in Colorado Springs. First & Main Town Center developers bill their massive complex as an all-in-one retail experience — big-box stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.

As owners of the Peak Lifestyle Center on the Springs’ northeast side, father-and-daughter team Brad and Grace Keirnes decided years ago to pursue their own niche: Making their small, 103,000-square-foot center a hub for sports, recreation and wellness-related retailers and service providers.

With 100 percent of their shopping center either filled or with signed leases, and at a time when citywide retail vacancies of 12 percent are double that of a few years ago, the Keirnes believe they’ve hit on a successful strategy.

Keirnes Cos. of Eaton, a town of about 4,400 north of Greeley, bought the Peak Lifestyle Center in 1998, northeast of Academy Boulevard and Montebello Drive West. Six years later, the Keirnes landed Colorado Ski & Golf and Bicycle Village as a 30,000-square-foot anchor; since then, they’ve focused on attracting other similarly themed users.

“Instead of a standard approach of just sitting back, waiting, putting up our leasing signs with our leasing agents, we decided to go and actually target the tenants that we thought would be a great fit and that would fit into the mix of things,” Grace Keirnes said.

Peak Lifestyle, built about 30 years ago, can’t rival newer centers farther north on Academy, Grace Keirnes said. But the Keirnes sought to play off Colorado Springs’ active lifestyle and its reputation as home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and other events and organizations that encourage and support sports and healthy living.

In addition to Colorado Ski & Golf, tenants include Synergy Dance Academy; Sportz Skillz, a golf and tennis instruction center; Peak Fitness and Active Therapy; Peak Healthstyles; and Kempo Karate.

House of Bounce, an indoor inflatable play center for kids 12 and under, opened June 30. Michelle Womack of Austin, Texas, a co-owner with her husband and a friend, said they looked at other retail centers, but chose Peak Lifestyle Center because of its tenant mix.

“When we saw the Sportz Skillz, the Ski & Golf Center, the karate center, we knew it would be bringing in the type of clientèle we’d want,” Womack said, referring to active parents who might bring their kids along.

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“We just all kind of mix well together,” she said of the tenants.

Not all tenants directly fit the health and fitness mold; there’s an auto parts store and a dry cleaners. Grace Keirnes said she and her father would consider tenants that aren’t sports and health related, yet have turned down some who don’t fit the mix, such as a gold shop and a jeweler.

“When you own a piece of property, you’re in the business to, one, care for your tenants, and, two, make money and be cash flowing,” Grace Keirnes said. “And yet, we had a sense and a feeling and a direction that we needed to stick with this sports, recreation, wellness-oriented center. It’s proved to be very fruitful and beneficial.”

As part of its branding effort, the Peak Lifestyle Center will hold a lifestyle fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The event, open to the public, will feature numerous free activities and merchant discounts.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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