EDITORíS DESK: Bigger vs. better
Last year at this time this column was bemoaning the oversized crowds that had once again besieged Old Colorado City in the name of Halloween candy. They'd clogged intersections, created long lines, emptied the bowls of hundreds of dollars worth of merchant candy; there were even reports of rude behavior.
Not this year. A happy combination of factors resulted in about half as many costumed creatures roaming the streets for the annual Safe Treats event. It was easier to relax and enjoy the activities. Also, (bottom line) merchants didn't run out of candy so fast. Now, wasn't that nice?
The conventional marketing wisdom is that the more "boots on the ground" in Old Town, the better. Visitors to events may not mean jingling cash registers now, but next time, oh yes, they'll come back armed with credit cards. I suppose there's some truth in that (otherwise, how could all those marketers keep their jobs?), but my own "conventional wisdom" is that everything has a breaking point, and the last two Halloween Safe Treats were classic examples of that.
I don't want to rub salt in old wounds, but suffice it to say that SOME local business entity bought into the bigger-is-better marketing plan a few years ago, advertising Safe Treats unabashedly citywide... did the same thing, in fact, with what used to be another little Westside affair - the Easter egg hunt, turning it into a zoo. Such marketing makes sense with promotions like Territory Days or "It's Christmas," because those have a regional flair, with people coming in ready to shop. But candy? Easter eggs? What Old Colorado City would do well to remember now and then is its historical place - the former downtown of what's become the Westside. Those people aren't going to "automatically" shop OCC (another marketing myth), but they're ready to. It just takes neighborliness. And a little bit goes a long ways.