Almost a year ago we were in Cortez, Colorado. We had a few more images to shoot for one of our clients, and we also enjoy the area. A visit to Mesa Verde, a few trips out to Hovenweep. Yeah, I really like Southwest Colorado!
During the time we were away from Cortez there were a few changes. One of the changes has to be all of the small businesses in town with little green “+” symbols. I didn’t know what they were at first, so Jodi had to explain it to me.
Who knew? Well, clearly Jodi knew, but I didn’t. Not long ago Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana. And somewhere between September of 2014 and now the town of Cortez gave the green light to recreational dispensaries within the town.
This reminds me of my first trip to New Orleans for AT&T Wireless. I had to attend a conference in New Orleans for work, and after the first day I took a walk with a few other engineers and techs. I had just become the regional operations manager for New England, so the guys I was with followed my lead. I wanted some dinner, and I had never seen Bourbon St. The guys were pretty jazzed that I wanted to go to Bourbon Street…but what they didn’t know is that I had no idea what Bourbon Street was. I thought it was bars and restaurants (okay, I’m sheltered sometimes). I had no clue that it was in fact a red light district. Saw my first crack whore ever there….. Needless to say, I left back to the hotel, and the guys I was with ran into the first strip club they saw the moment I rounded the corner. My ex had a good laugh at me when I told that story too!
So yeah, I had no idea what all the green plus symbols were about last week when we arrived. Fortunately Jodi is more worldly than me as well, so she filled me in.
Stop laughing at me for not knowing about Bourbon Street…..
When I think of Colorado…..
What springs to mind for me when I think of Colorado is all the amazing scenery here. Cliff dwellings, ancient ruins, stunning mountains, thin air, and knowing that when I go for a hike I’m getting an extra workout, especially at elevation. But now I think when people think of Colorado other things may pop to mind.
I suppose the idea of “Rocky Mountain High,” now has totally new meaning. Of course, the last time I was in Estes Park I was feeling a little looped just with the elevation change. But today folks can add to that looped sensation if they want. 😉
Being the geek that I am I’ve been researching about the impact that legalized marijuana has had on the state. It’s interesting to see that folks are playing around with the numbers. Some higher, some lower. What is clear is that so far the new businesses are adding to the tax roll to the tune of tens of millions. How those new tax revenues are being used I’m unsure of. But something else is occurring as well…….
There’s a new tourist industry for Colorado! Seriously, folks are coming out here to visit these new businesses. I’ve read about several tour groups already popping up. And I even read an interesting story about a woman picking between Vegas and Colorado for her 40th birthday. In the end she picked Colorado, and apparently had a very good time.
My inner economist has been whispering to me……
Currently there are more than a half dozen dispensaries in Cortez. And there are two more in neighboring Mancos. I don’t even know what’s going on in Durango or surrounding locations. What I do know is that’s an awful lot of shops for places with small populations. You have a finite number of potential consumers, and not everyone who lives in town is a consumer…so, where are you finding your customer base?
Today we drove around looking at all the shops. Jodi has poked her head into every one of them now. Some have more things for sale, some have fewer items. Pricing seems pretty consistent, and variety seems to differ from shop to shop. Interestingly enough, only one of the shops in the area has a mobile friendly well thought out website. Several others utilize Facebook only, and another has a quickly assembled GoDaddy website. If they’re attempting to reach mobile tourists, there’s only one winner right now in the area. Leaving some opportunity for an enterprising web developer to help out.
While investigating these places I have come to the inescapable conclusion that in a year’s time several will close their doors. Those that are easiest to find for visitors to the area will most likely become big winners. And those who fail to recognize their small market base locally may limp along, or simply be brought into the fold of the forward thinking shops.