I’ve written many times in this space about the importance of supporting local businesses. And here I go again!

The pandemic has taken a toll on Pikes Peak region businesses, big and small. Many have had to close over the past 11 months while some new ones (quite bravely) have launched during this uncertain time.

Then there are the myriad others that have rolled with the pandemic punches, opening or temporarily closing, or opening at partial capacity or just for curbside pickup, or closing their brick-and-mortar offerings and switching to online sales only. The businesses’ flexibility and ingenuity just to remain open is astounding.

It certainly hasn’t been easy for anyone who relies on customers to stay in the black, or at least not to go dark, for the better part of a tricky year.

The Gazette reported last week on businesses in the downtown Colorado Springs area that have opened and closed since March. “Downtown Colorado Springs lost 20 street-level businesses in 2020, compared to 12 in 2019, according to the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. However, 21 new street-level businesses opened downtown during 2020; that’s up from 17 in 2019. Grand openings already are planned in the coming months for 10 new businesses downtown, the advocacy group says,” the article states.

New eateries/bars that opened in and around downtown in 2020 include: Bird Tree Café; Mood Tapas Bar; Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar; Pikes Peak Brewing Company Lager House; Flame Café (at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum); CO.A.T.I (which contains several food-and-beverage businesses — Rival Bar, Anju, Ephemera, Equilibrium, Luchals Catering, Slow Downz, Two Suns Smoothies, and XOXO-Sweets Bar); Brakeman’s Burgers; Track 10 Urban Kitchen; The Sandwich Depot; Samaritan Coffee; Happy Hour Donuts; Crusade Wine Bar and districtelleven.

These retailers opened in and around downtown: A Likely Story; Moonbeam Clothiers; Yobel; Novis Mortem Collective; Bread & Butter Neighborhood Market; Rock-e Mountain Bikes; Aaillan Art & Home; Eclectic OCC; and Urbane Collective.

Even some entertainment venues have managed to open during pandemic gathering restrictions. Two new lively spots are 3 E’s Comedy Club and ICONS Bar.

And the new Kinship Landing boutique hotel recently opened this month in downtown Colorado Springs.

Downtown-area businesses that closed in 2020 include: Pranava Yoga; Pink Cadillac Boutique; Kings Chef Diner (Nevada and Bijou); English Dockside; Tailored West; Honey, Tea & Me; Nourish Organic Juice; Starbucks (South Tejon); Iron Bird Brewing; Brewer’s Republic; CJ Kard; Dr. Phone Fix; Carlie’s Convenience; Thirsty Parrot; Lane Mitchell Jewelers; Rim Technologies; Colorado Refuge; Regina’s Unique Boutique; Coquette’s; Colorado Photography School; Nostalgia Tattoo; US Bank (Wahsatch location); Zodiac Venue; and Triple Nickle Tavern.

In the region at large, other businesses are reimagining themselves and using pandemic downtime to advance renovation or new location plans.

In Woodland Park some businesses (including Colorado GearLab and Woodland Veterinary Clinic) have recently relocated and expanded, and a new beergarden is planned for Woodland Square.

In Monument, 3 Hundred Days of Shine expanded with a new retail space and Jarrito Loco is about to reopen in bigger digs. Also, Lolley’s Ice Cream opened this month.

I’m sure there are many other shops and eateries that have either launched, shuttered or reimagined themselves over the past year, but there isn’t a one that hasn’t suffered.

With the holiday season just behind us, our local retailers, eateries and other businesses are even more in need of your patronage.

If you can’t make it out to support your favorites in person, try shopping online or purchasing a gift card for when you can get out. Many businesses (even those that aren’t food-related) will deliver or arrange for social-distanced pickup. If you’re able to get out, mask up and take a look at what local businesses are offering.

Shopping small, as the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs says, makes a big impact.

Editor of this publication and the other three Pikes Peak Newspapers weeklies, Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home for more than five years. Contact Michelle at michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

Michelle has been editor of Pikes Peak Newspapers (Pikes Peak Courier and Tri-Lakes Tribune) since June 2019. A Pennsylvania native and Penn State journalism graduate, she joined The Gazette's staff in 2015.

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