Whizzer shop closing in Old Town
For three months this summer, the Whizzer motorbike dealership in Old Colorado City - which had only opened in April - was the top-selling franchise in the country.
The family-owned Whizzers of Oz at 2423 1/2 W. Colorado Ave. was not only fulfilling 10-year Whizzer bike owner Dallas Maddox's dream, it was turning a profit.
Then, in August, the brakes came on. The local franchise learned that after 40 years of making bikes that could be pedaled or run with a motor, the Whizzers company had decided to go with motorcycles only.
“Who would ever have dreamed it?” said Alana Carnes, who co-owns Whizzers of Oz with her husband Ron, her daughter Cassi and son-in-law Maddox. “They're doing away with the classic design that everybody loved.”
Ironically, the owners only found out because of their strong sales (about 60 overall, Carnes estimated). They were running out of the blue-colored models, but when they asked the Whizzer company for more they were told there weren't any. “That seemed pretty strange,” Alana Carnes said. “That's when they [the company] told us.” Whizzer must have had its plans in place before the Old Colorado City store opened, and the local owners believe that information should have been shared before they invested time and money in becoming an authorized dealership.
Their disappointment is so profound that they're closing the store - lacking the will to stay with Whizzer and to change into a motorcycle dealer, Carnes said.
There is one upside to the Whizzers of Oz owners' communication with the company. They bought the last 10 new motorbikes Whizzer had. Most of them are still at the Old Colorado City store, although negotiations are going on with a California dealer that wants them. For now, “If anyone wants the classic Whizzer, we've got the last of them,” Carnes said.
Part of the Old Colorado City skyline will increase by one story, in a current project to add 2,400 square feet above the four commercial units at 2421-23 W. Colorado Ave.
Property owner Frank Wright said that, based on his building permit, the current construction is technically a “roof renovation project” that will create an “attic” with a temporarily unfinished interior.
At an undetermined future date, he said he plans to apply for another building permit to allow the space to be transformed into two residential lofts, with a rear balcony and views of Cheyenne Mountain.
A similar project had received Planning Commission approval four years ago, but contractors' bids were too pricey, so Wright had to go back and “reduce the scope so I could afford it,” he explained.
The attic's roof will be flat, the same as the one-story. Although his building is only about 50 years old, the end product is intended to “blend in” with the rest of the historic shopping district, he said. Such is also part of the site development requirement for the project, he added. “I hope it will be an improvement for the area.”
Wright waited until after Labor Day to start the work “so it won't hurt sales in Old Colorado City. That's my number one goal. I don't want to do anything that's hard on the businesses.”
He hopes to have the attic work completed before winter.
The public is invited to an open house Friday, Sept. 26 for Touching the World, a nonprofit corporation that works on the problem of human trafficking, including child prostitution and slavery.
The fifth annual event will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy, 1490 W. Fillmore St. “CIMT will sponsor food, music, games, prizes and of course, massages!” a press release reads.
Admission is free, but donations to Touching the World are requested.
For more information, call 634-7347.
The eigth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Ride will start from the Western Omelette restaurant, 16 S. Walnut St., between 8:30 and 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4.
The ending location is a pub on the city's east side.
Sponsored by Mountain Shadow Riders (the local chapter of Women On Wheels), all event proceeds will go to the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen cancer-cure effort.
For more information, call 573-9242.
Do you have any news about your business? Call the Westside Pioneer at 471-6776.