TRINIDAD — Trinidad's streets on a summer afternoon are filled with cars, and the sidewalks bustling with people enjoying the small businesses downtown.
A much different sight than in 2003 when Kim Schultz, a business owner downtown, first moved to town.
“There was nothing there, it was abandoned, there was one restaurant, lots of empty storefronts.”
Schultz originally came to Trinidad from Pueblo to spearhead the Chamber of Commerce, hoping to rebuild the city. Over 15 years later, her dream is on its way to becoming a reality. She says when recreational cannabis was legalized in Trinidad in 2014 that "everything changed".
“People purchased the vacant buildings. Businesses opened up. We were able to put people to work, so they stayed!”
Schultz's cannabis store has grown from having only eight employees, to 33.
“My proudest moment is being able to employ people with a good job, give them benefits, and something that’s reliable, doing something that they love."
Cy Michaels, another business owner in town, says the pandemic actually helped Trinidad to a certain extent.
“People came here to enjoy the small-town atmosphere where they didn’t feel like they were one on top of somebody else. People came here to enjoy our craft-ness of our town, craft beers, craft restaurants!"
Wally Wallace, the Economic Development Director for the City of Trinidad, says many of the people moving to town are coming from Denver and bringing new businesses with them. He moved to Trinidad over two years ago after spending 10 years in Denver himself.
“Most of my friends thought I was crazy and didn’t see the appeal in moving to this town that they had never been to!”
However, now he says many friends have followed in his footsteps.
“There are a lot of opportunities for people that are willing to put the work into starting something.”
Wallace expressed several ideas for upcoming events in Trinidad, including summer and fall festivals to keep your eye on for a weekend trip.