COLORADO SPRINGS — Every year, Small Business Saturday follows Black Friday. But this year, as public health restrictions continue to tighten, local businesses hope their customer's support carries on throughout the holiday season.
Eclectic OCC just opened their doors on November 1 in Old Colorado City. The store is an expansion of Eclectic CO, which is located downtown. The stores operate as a cooperative retail space, where local artists can come together and sell their goods.
The new storefront owner, Ani Trejo Barrington, said it has been exhilarating to open the location this year, but it's also been difficult. "Extremely terrifying, just to start something when there's so much uncertainty. It just feel like you're looking into a big dark pit of who knows what, but we were also just very adamant about needing to continue to spread some good artistry around our city, and hopefully beyond," said Trejo Barrington.
Trejo Barrington said their business model, which combines dozens of artists, has helped make this expansion possible. "No small business on it's own could quite make this work. And so, when you put us all together, we can all make it work in a really beautiful, cohesive way," said Trejo Barrington.
El Paso County has moved to Level Red on the COVID-19 Dial as of Friday, but Trejo Barrington said Eclectic OCC was ready for the transition. Before the change on the COVID-19 Dial, the store had already been limiting the amount of customers allowed inside to ten at a time. "We let our community know ahead of time that was going to be happening. And so, we set up space outside for them to shop safely and for them to browse while they had to wait, we let them know that we would text them if they were walking around the block," said Trejo Barrington.
She hopes shoppers will consider buying from small and local stores this holiday season. "When we think about buying for other people, it's not just the things that you're buying. It's what you're supporting, what's behind the gift," said Trejo Barrington.
Eclectic OCC is one of a handful of businesses that will be featured on Saturday in Zoom live tours on Facebook, organized by a partnership between the Small Business Development Center, Better Business Bureau, and Colorado Springs Business Journal. "For every dollar that you spend in your local economy, 70 cents stays here. So, we really want to support our small businesses, especially with everything happening with the pandemic," said Mackenzie Maltby Tamayo, the COVID program manager with the Small Business Development Center.
The Zoom live tours will continue every Saturday for the foreseeable future. Maltby Tamayo hopes they last through the holidays at the least. They will feature different areas of Southern Colorado every week, and next week will be spotlighting Monument businesses. "When you're investing in these kind of places here, you're investing in families, you're investing back into your community. So, it's so important that we take that extra step, take the extra drive, take that extra moment to say that we are really here for our small businesses," said Maltby Tamayo.
The Small Business Saturday livestream can be found on the Colorado Springs Business Journal's Facebook page. The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center will also share the video on their Facebook page.