Downtown businesses to extend hours

Culinary Corner co-owner Beth Zanski arranges locally produced products in the downtown store.

Shoppers may soon see more hopping evenings in downtown Grand Junction, as business owners challenge the traditional weekday hours.

“We hear the same thing over and over, ‘Why aren’t more businesses open?’ ” said Margie Wilson, owner of Grand Valley Books, 350 Main St., who stays open until 7 p.m. or later during the week through Saturday and is open on Sundays.

Such feedback is coming from tourists and locals alike who are looking for an evening experience with dinner downtown or after checking into a hotel and getting settled. Leading up to summer, and now with holidays around the corner, more business owners are discussing extending their hours, being open on Sundays and offering later hours that coincide with events.

Wilson extended the store’s hours throughout the summer and found that she doubled her business after 4 p.m. Locals came after work and tourists staying in one of the couple hundred hotel rooms downtown stopped in to browse or buy.

“They want to do something besides eat, go to the event and go home. … It gives downtown an added dimension,” Wilson said.

One group in particular, an organized British tour, stopped in Grand Junction for just one night along its route and without cars to travel, downtown was the destination. About 40 to 50 tourists arrived by train three nights a week between mid-April and October, according to Wilson, who said she enjoyed meeting them and giving them a warm perspective of an smaller American town along their tour of major cities.

Kathy Dirks, marketing and communication director for Downtown Grand Junction, said while the same model may not work for all businesses, the group encourages owners to look at the benefits and possibilities. This gives shoppers more flexibility during the holidays and is a “win-win” situation for everyone, she said.

“As people discover downtown is open on Sundays, that word will get around. … Downtown will really shine for the holidays,” she said.

Rock Cesario, owner of Triple Play Records, 550 Main St., said for some people the weekends may be the only time they have to come shop. He has found being open on Sundays to be well worth it.

“We’re (downtown) not open when working people can shop,” he said. If all of downtown was open until 7 p.m., the dynamic would change and people would know to come, he said.

Chris Brown, owner of Brown Cycles, 549 Main St., and Beth Zanski, co-owner of Culinary Corner, 455 Main St., agreed. Zanski has toyed with different hours and staying open later during summer and is “still on the fence” about it, she said. However, with more businesses doing the same and word getting out, that would make a difference, she added.

“People appreciate it,” Zanski said.


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