NewsCovering Colorado


Expert: Zeezo's closure could bring new business downtown

Posted at 9:23 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 00:24:40-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — For decades, Zeezo's Costume & Vintage has been a one-stop shop in the heart of Colorado Springs for anything Halloween-related.

Between small accessories, masks and branded costumes, the store's walls and racks have donned the most popular elements for the perfect costume, regardless of the occasion.

But the industry responsible for Zeezo's success is now part of its demise. The store will close on Nov. 2, according to co-owner Jessica Modeer.

"Our year-round has always been solid, but really Halloween is what pushed us up and over and through the rest of the year. And so, with diminishing Halloween sales, it just hasn't made sense for us to stay in this industry," Modeer said.

Modeer said her business partners recently launched an estate liquidation company that is more profitable and allows her to spend more time with family.

At the same time, seven of the country's 10 largest independent costume stores, now including Zeezo's, have all closed in the last two years. It's part of the rise of online retailers, like Amazon, impact small and seasonal businesses.

"In our industry, there is wider saturation. More stores carry more and more of similar-type products as what we carry. We're also battling the internet," Modeer said.

While the space will soon be empty, experts with the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs said downtown is actually healthy for retail and has been for several years. The turnover could spur new opportunity.

"Despite some empty storefronts downtown, we've maintained a vacancy rate of 4.5 percent," said Alex Armani-Munn, an economic development specialist with the partnership. "And that vacancy rate has hovered right around 5 percent, or even below, for several years."

The low rate means opportunities are rare for new business to enter downtown, and prime locations shouldn't be vacant for long.

Armani-Munn said pricing also works in the city's favor. He said the average cost for downtown business space is around $14.50 per square foot, which is on par with cities of similar sizes, while starting prices in Denver's metro area are closer to $20 per square foot.