Several businesses in downtown Colorado Springs have moved, will move, or plan to close. Two are moving to the Chapel Hills Mall.
Susan Godec will close her Phancy Pheasant at 220 N. Tejon St. because of a drop in business that she attributed to downtown vagrancy and parking.
“I feel like it’s just the wrong element downtown with the Marian House and the homeless,” Godec said. “I think we’re going to have to get a more intense police force downtown.
“Everyone says no one wants to walk through that element,” to arrive at the downtown shops, she said.
The interior design business Fabulous Home at 130 N. Tejon is also closing, said Regina Romrell, who owns Regina’s Unique Boutique nearby.
Fabulous Home had signs in the window saying “Going, Going, Gone,” along with a sign announcing an upcoming vacancy and retail space available.
Brown’s Shoe Fit at 123 N. Tejon and Regina’s Unique Boutique at 119 N. Tejon plan to swap retail locations.
Brown’s needs more room, said owner Ashley Freml, and Regina’s can fit in a smaller space now occupied by Brown’s, said owner Romrell.
Brown’s plans to stay open during the transition, but Regina’s will close while she remodels the space now occupied by Brown’s.
“We need more space … bad,” Freml said.
She’ll be moving from a store with around 2,000 square feet into a space with more than 5,000, she said.
“We’ll be able to carry a lot more brands,” Freml said, including brands now sold by Saboz. The owner of Saboz, Linda Bridger is retiring and closing her shop at 1291/2 N. Tejon St.
Bridger’s granddaughter just turned 3, and she wants to spend more time with her, Bridger said. Also, “I’m not real crazy about what’s happening downtown with the vagrants,” she said. “I’ve had to call the authorities for people smoking their medical marijuana in front of the store.
“It discourages customers.” Bridger reported her business has been steadily growing in the 12 years she’s been in business and at that location.
Two doors down, Romrell plans to remove the box windows for her new space at 123 N. Tejon. The move is planned for January, and Romrell targeted mid-February as her reopening date.
Regina’s will have the same women’s clothing lines, including David Kahn, Elliott Lauren and others.
After 28 years downtown, the women’s fashion boutique Kirk & Hill is relocating to the Chapel Hills Mall. Owner Jackie Gunn said last year business was off 20 percent.
“And we couldn’t really figure out what was going on,” Gunn said.
So the business, located at 129 N. Tejon St., surveyed 1,200 people, including customers and people they hadn’t seen in a while.
With the exception of two people, all the respondents said they don’t come downtown to shop anymore. The second reason they listed was paid parking and the possibility of getting a parking ticket. They also mentioned the vagrancy issue.
“They’re afraid,” Gunn said. “It doesn’t give people a warm and fuzzy feeling.”
Gunn said the vagrancy issue caused her to reach her limit.
“I just finally said — do I want to come to work cleaning vomit off the sidewalk and spit off my windows?” she said.
“They use my alley behind the store as a public bathroom. It’s disgusting.”
Chapel Hills offers 24-hour security, free parking and extended hours. She’ll be in the Dillard’s wing next to a nail salon, stores that will “pull in women.”
The new store will tentatively be open Sept. 1, she said.
“I really look forward to just doing what I love instead of worrying about my surroundings.”
Peanut Butter and Jellies also moved its retail store to Chapel Hills Mall in March, closing its 101 N. Tejon St. location.
“I love downtown, and I’ve been downtown four years,” said owner Art Romero.
“But at the end of the day, for us to grow, we needed more foot traffic and families. We are getting a lot of that at the mall.”
At Chapel Hills, the store is located in the food court.