COLORADO SPRINGS — In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses suffered – some eked by with budget and staff cuts, others closed for good.

COVID-19 has made the lives of many more difficult in a variety of ways. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“2020 was a bad year. It was rough year. We’re fortunate that we’re still here, but it was definitely a rough year,” said Denise Sheridan, owner of Colorado Co-Op.

By December of that year, businesses were once again able to welcome customers back into stores and restaurants.

Now, some shop owners, local to Colorado Springs, say they owe their continued recovery to the town’s community.

In fact, Sheridan said te 2021 holiday season has been the busiest they’ve seen in years.

More people are hitting the local shops this year than they have in a while. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“This was the strongest December we have had in the last six years,” Sheridan said.

Kate Byrne, store manager at Eclectic Co., said the incredible response of shoppers choosing local for their holidays gifts is making a difference.

Coloradans shopping local for the holidays. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“It’s been incredibly heartening to see this holiday season. And we’re blown away by how many people are shopping local,” she said.

“We have a lot of customers who are passionate about shopping local, supporting small business, supporting downtown Colorado Springs – so that drives a lot of our business,” Sheridan added. “And we’re so thankful.”

Shop owners said they hope the increase means more people are now interested in shopping local. Credit: Rachel Saurer

Byrne said the increase in shoppers this December could be a result of people wanting to get out of their houses and feel like part of the community – after spending so much time away from others.

“This year I think everybody is so excited to be able to be out and shopping in all the local stores and, you know, be together,” Byrne said.