New sparks in Old Town
Merchants take wares to Bancroft June 28

       Up until three years ago, Old Colorado City merchants were worried about competition on summer Saturdays - their key business days - from vendors who were renting nearby Bancroft Park.
       A 2005 city ordinance limited such commercial use in the park to the fourth Saturday of the month.
       Now, with no one else having stepped forward, who's about to start making use of that monthly sales opportunity? Old Colorado City merchants.
       Organized by Charlie Irwin, owner of the Attic, 2421 W Colorado Ave., the “Westside Experience” is chiefly intended to attract shoppers to the area, he said. He expects to have about 30 merchants - more than half of them from Old Town and three-fourths from the Westside in general - in booths for the first “experience” Saturday, June 28.
       The others will be July 26 and Aug. 23.
       The times will be 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. - a deliberate overlap (except for the last two hours) with the popular Farmers' Market on 24th Street next to the park.
       The idea is that people will see all the activity and come by to check it out. Once there, shoppers will have the chance to buy representative items at the booths while being informed that the stores themselves are just nearby.
       The event is not being sponsored by the Old Colorado City Associates merchants group. However the group, in which Irwin is a board member, provides a link to the Attic's website.
       “It's kind of a different concept,” explained Irwin, who paid for the liability insurance and the park rental (an expense totaling close to $2,000 for the three dates). “The goal is to do as much business as possible and get the Westside experience out.”
       Not knowing how the idea would go over, he initially promoted the event just to Westside businesses, eventually opening it to anyone who wanted to rent space. Irwin said he's been “very pleased with the response” and is continuing to take booth-rental reservations for any of the three Saturdays.
       A Florida transplant, Irwin opened his shop in August 2006 and studied up on Westside lore. Last summer, he began offering historical tours of Old Colorado City, a continuing feature for which he dresses up as a fictional 1800s character.
       He can be reached at 302-2962.

Westside Pioneer article