Main streets across Colorado are looking a bit different lately as small retail businesses face new challenges in a shifting economic landscape. While mom-and-pop shops were once the heartbeat of local downtowns, recent years have brought new hurdles that make it harder for these small businesses to survive. However, many are finding creative ways to adapt and continue serving their community.
One of the biggest factors affecting traditional retail is the rapid growth of e-commerce. As more consumers opt for the convenience of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are seeing fewer people coming through their doors. Even with a presence on platforms like Amazon or Etsy, it's difficult for small businesses to compete against the pricing power and reach of internet giants.
Rising real estate prices in Colorado's urban areas also make it difficult for small retailers to afford staying in downtown storefronts. As cities like Denver and Fort Collins grow, demand for space downtown drives up rents. While larger corporate retailers may weather these costs, local mom-and-pop shops often find themselves priced out.
Urban development is changing the look and feel of historic main streets as well. As more high-rise apartments and office buildings pop up in downtown areas, some critics say it comes at the cost of squeezing out small businesses and diminishing the local charm. Efforts like historic preservation help protect traditional main street aesthetics in some cases.