Biz Buzz:
OCC ‘Stroll’ attracts evening shoppers

       The Christmas Stroll drew one of the biggest winter nighttime crowds in recent memory to Old Colorado City's Historic Shopping District Nov. 30.

During the Christmas Stroll Nov. 30 in Old Colorado City... The Dickens Singers entertain a gathering of evening shoppers at the northwest corner of Colorado Avenue and 25th Street.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Featuring historically dressed street singers, musicians and costumed characters (Elvis among them) and chances to ride in a horse-drawn, lit-up carriage, the first-time event also meant ringing cash registers for several businesses, according to Dave Van Ness, executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group; and Pam Gressett, who contracted with OCCA to coordinate the Stroll.
       “I've been told that around 4,000 people went through OCC that night,” Gressett said. “Many shops stayed open late and had record sales the whole day.”
       The on-street activities lasted until about 8 p.m.
       The “pre-Stroll” afternoon included Santa's second day in the Bancroft Park cabin, along with a “dog Santa” across the street outside the Republic of Paws in the 2400 block of West Colorado Avenue. The carriage, owned by Newell Stagecoach Hitch in Fountain and offering rides for a fee, was on the job in the afternoon as well.
       One or more street performers/groups are scheduled most weekend days in Old Colorado City until Christmas.
       Safeway sticking around
       Safeway has “absolutely no plans to close the store” at 3275 W. Colorado Ave., in the Red Rock shopping center.
       Kris Staaf of Safeway's Denver Division public relations office offered this reassurance in a phone conversation this week.

During the Christmas Stroll Nov. 30 in Old Colorado City... The Newell carriage turns from 24th Street onto westbound Colorado that afternoon.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The Westside Pioneer asked the question after a reader called to say she had heard rumors of a closure next year and that even store employees were talking about it.
       Staaf said such rumors are often “driven by the competition,” or in this case could have been sparked by downsizing-type business moves by the international Safeway chain, including selling its Canadian division and leaving the Chicago market.
       But in the Denver Division (which comprises Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska and South Dakota), “we're good,” Staaf said.
       Safeway has had a grocery store in the center for roughly half a century, building its current facility (and realigning Fountain Creek to make room for it) 20 years ago.
       Last ArtWalk of 2013
       The Hunter-Wolff Gallery will present a Holiday Gala with live music for the last Old Colorado City ArtWalk of the year Friday, Dec. 6.
       In all, 14 participating shops and galleries will take part in the free, self-guided offering from 5 to 8 p.m., with most of them typically offering entertainment, demonstrations and/or chances to meet artists.
       Hunter-Wolff, at 2510 W. Colorado Ave., is owned by Sharon Wolff, who founded and organizes the ArtWalk. The music will be provided by area singer Randy Rodriguez.
       ArtWalk is an annual event occurring on the first Friday of the month from April to December.

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Westside Pioneer/press release