May 26, 2013 11:07 PM by Tony Spehar - firstname.lastname@example.org
Territory Days 2013 has brought thousands of visitors to Old Colorado City and business owners say they're happy with the large crowds, but sales aren't as great as you might imagine.
For eight-years Stanley Wolf, owner of Colorado Kite and Ski, has been delighted by the people streaming past, and sometimes into, his store going to and from Territory Days. Lots of people stop in, but the crowds don't necessarily mean profits.
"Territory Days is good for me, it's not a big cash flow day, but a lot of people come" Wolf explained. "That's the whole thing, exposure, there's no better form of advertising than word of mouth, coming in here and touching the toys, playing with them."
Laura Prather's store, Rocky Mountain Cowgirl Company, sits right in the middle of the festivities and she said business from the crowds can be limited. In fact, she almost didn't open the store for Memorial Day weekend.
"We had a large vendor in front of us last year you couldn't even see our store and it was our first year...so we didn't really have any sales," Prather described. "I was pleasantly surprised Saturday morning there was no vendor in front of us...we quadrupled from the Saturday from last year."
Before opening her store Prather sold her crafts at festivals as a street vendor, so she has no problems with the vendors. She said she wishes that Territory Days could be better organized so that businesses that stay in Old Colorado City year-round see more benefits from the big weekend.
"Merchants here really do need the exposure and the business, so I think we can find a way to make it happen for everybody," she explained. "We're close, but we're not there yet."
Like Stanley Wolf, Prather said she appreciated the exposure her store gets from the passing crowds.
In the bigger picture, shop owners across Old Colorado City said they hoped the large crowds that streamed through Territory Days on Saturday and Sunday were a sign for the Summer after the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated last year's tourism season.
"Last year was such a disaster," Stanley Wolf explained. "During the Summer it was terrible for us, I should've closed all Summer long, it wasn't worth it but this year they're starting to come back."
Territory Days wraps up on Monday evening.