It’s the question on every Windsor business owner’s mind: How do you plan for the excitement from perhaps the busiest weekend in Windsor’s 123-year history?
In short, there’s no easy answer. But businesses and groups across the area are poised to find out Saturday when the USA Pro Challenge races down Main Street and throughout town, drawing potentially unprecedented crowds from across the state to Windsor’s quaint shopping district.
Some businesses, like Spokes Inc., will hold a viewing party beginning around 10 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot in front of the shop at 1530 Main St. Along with several sale items, store owner David Roberts said he plans to have music, coffee and pizza along with a front row seat to the action as more than 100 cyclists and support crews fly down Colo. 392 and into downtown.
Likewise, nearby High Hops Brewery and The Windsor Gardener will open at 9 a.m. and is encouraging people to bring a chair and set up in the parking lot — again with a front row seat to the action. And of course, there will be beer and food.
“We’ll have beermosas and breakfast from Chaulkboard Gourmet Express,” said Kaitlin Stegman with High Hops.
The garden shop next door will also have several sales over the weekend, including 20 percent off hops plants, 30 percent off pottery and 75 percent off roses.
“I think the businesses are exited to see what that kind of draw is going to do and what that will mean to each of their individual businesses,” said Kristie Melendez, Windsor’s mayor pro-tem and Downtown Development Authority representative. “I just think there’s overall excitement around the community for us being involved in this event.”
The DDA has used the bike race as a launching point to raise awareness about the economic opportunities around Windsor. The group kicked off Wheels ‘N’ Deals, which encourages residents to explore area shops. Participating businesses have a special card with spaces for four stickers. Each stop in a business earns folks one sticker, and once the card is filled, it can be entered into a drawing for a $1,400 road bike.
Numerous businesses in town have already run out of cards in the two weeks since the campaign kicked off. The deadline to drop off cards is immediately before the drawing, slated to happen around 12:15 p.m. Saturday at the farmers market at the intersection of 5th and Main streets.
“We’ve already had to place a reorder,” Melendez said of the cards. “Hopefully that’s a good sign.”
Once Saturday’s fanfare fades and business goes back to normal, numbers will roll in from sales tax revenue to individual business successes — or shortcomings — all of which will be beneficial in what many have called a long line of learning processes.
“For the DDA to have an opportunity to be involved in something like this will be a good learning experience as we continue to look at what we can do to be involved and best showcase downtown,” Melendez said. “The underlying philosophy is that if you have a successful downtown, you probably have a healthy business environment.”
I just think there’s overall excitement around the community for us being involved in this event.
Mayor pro-tem and Downtown Development Authority representative