Walking gives way to selling this weekend

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

For the second year in a row, Aspen will begin offseason with a weekend of relaxed rules for outdoor vending and food sales in the downtown core.

Typically Aspen retailers are limited to displaying one mannequin or one clothing rack outside their stores. But from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, downtown stores are encouraged to get creative with displays, employing multiple items and racks as well as tables. Additionally, employees are allowed to stand outside their stores and drum up business.

“Our whole perspective is we want people to show up, have fun and spend some money,” Aspen Code Enforcement Officer Jim Pomeroy said Thursday. “Whatever’s going to help drum up sales we’re supportive of.”

Last year, he said he heard that the retailers who did the most with their displays saw the most sales.

“The more the business did, the better their sales were,” Pomeroy said. “The more you put out, the more willing people are to stop, look and maybe buy something.”

Participation last year ranged from several stores on the pedestrian malls to a handful of retailers away from the malls. As an example of one way to get involved, Pomeroy said he heard Paradise Bakery plans to offer free samples outside its storefront.

This year’s sidewalk sale will fall on the same weekend as the Stirling Cup Golf Tournament, the Golden Leaf half marathon and Film Fest, which the city hopes will add to the amount of downtown activity.

A flier Pomeroy is handing out locally says his department is not limiting what businesses can do, but he asks that retailers consider carefully what they choose to do.

“This weekend do you really want to start handing out coffee when your neighbor sells it next door?” the flier asks. “Remember, starting on the following Monday you will have to live with your neighbors!!!”

Additionally, any business planning on serving food that might be hazardous to some customers must have a current retail food license and comply with all Colorado regulations.