Mall not helping other businesses
As Aspen is known for its malls, I think that during peak seasons people are obliged to walk around and enjoy the scenery. This summer for sure we would see foot traffic, as the weather is nice and people want to walk around. The art museum draws some traffic this way and the Saturday farmers market is great, but it does cut off prior to our block so, unless prompted, people meander along the market path and do not walk toward/past our store. During the winter, however, there are other direct routes to the gondola so this end is quite out of the way.
Seems to be there are very transient stores in and out of these “off-the-beaten-path” locations; locals and part-time locals were very excited to see us here longer than three months. Most are sad to see us go. “Affordable/great, quality product that they can shop and want to shop.”
If you are on the walking mall among the restaurants and other big-box retailers, people are apt to simply pass by your door and walk in out of curiosity. Half the battle is done — they have the view of your location, they just need to walk in.
Promoting your brand and business when you are out of the way is a little more challenging than most think due to the fact that so many retailers come and go, as do visitors/tourists. We did have a presence at the Saturday farmers market but are not allowed every week. Also, staffing for things like that becomes challenging on top of running a brick and mortar. We did utilize many, many events and opportunities to get involved (again proving to be incredibly successful with locals but difficult to make those staying more short-term aware) and have a face to bring shoppers in.
The sought-after shops need to extend beyond the two blocks to enable more places to sustainably last and to keep retail in Aspen a more viable possibility in the long term. Without these retailers, those who work to serve the visitor could not survive and help with the cycle. With the tougher winters and summers, the layout would be of great assistance to businesses.