Summit businesses ask visitors and residents to think local this year
FRISCO — In 2019, Ashlie Weisel said The Sunny Side Up Studio put on a Christkindl market worthy of the season. She said the market — based on German Christmas street markets that her family enjoyed while her husband was stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Germany — attracted over 2,000 people in one day and was a huge success for the studio.
“We created our own sense of magic,” Weisel said. “It really felt like a German Christmas market.”
This year, there was some debate about putting on a second Christkindl market, but Weisel ultimately decided to press on with the event — with a few changes.
“We still need magic this year, and we can do it safely,” she said.
To help promote social distancing, Sunny Side Up will be spreading the market across three days from Friday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 6., compared to last year’s one-day event. It also won’t be providing complementary food and drinks — though anyone who buys a commemorative mug can get a complementary fill-up of mulled cider or hot cocoa.
Like many Summit County businesses, Sunny Side Up is trying to spread the word: It is still open for business amid the pandemic.
That’s one of the key messages the Breckenridge Retail Association is trying to boost during the holiday shopping season.
“We’re not shutting down; we just have to do things differently,” association President Kathy Cristina said. “We’re human beings, and we’re versatile.”
Becca Spiro, the owner and founder of The Frosted Flamingo mobile art studio, is pretty well acquainted with doing things differently. Up until this year, most of her business centered around hosting crafting workshops at local events, but as events continue to be canceled, much of her business has pivoted online.
In the coming weeks, Spiro had planned on an Ullr helmet decorating party at Broken Compass Brewing and to provide projects for a whiskey and woodworking event at Warren Station Center for the Arts, but both were canceled as the county tightened its health restrictions.
“At this point, I kind of expect that to happen,” Spiro said about the cancellations.
She put the project kits for all canceled events on her website and said the colder weather has brought a renewed interest in crafting as people look for things to do at home.
While a great deal of uncertainty remains as the pandemic wears on, many businesses are better prepared to pivot to accommodate local regulations than they were in the spring, according to Blair McGary, director of the Summit Chamber of Commerce.
McGary said the chamber isn’t putting on any specific holiday shopping campaigns but that it is working with the grassroots Save Our Season campaign to encourage residents and visitors to follow health regulations in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep the ski season open and sustain local businesses.
Cristina said the Breckenridge Retail Association also has partnered with Save Our Season in hopes of keeping the season alive. Looking ahead, both she and McGary are cautiously optimistic about businesses’ prospects if the ski areas can keep running for a full season.
While restaurants are closed for dine-in service, retail establishments are still allowed to be open for walk-in customers at 50% capacity. Many local businesses also have expanded their online shopping and curbside pickup to help accommodate more shoppers.
“If you think you can’t find a local product online, we invite you to take another look,” McGary said.
Ultimately, Cristina hopes shoppers will take the idea of shopping locally to heart as businesses try to weather a difficult year.
“These businesses are what give our town its character,” she said. “… They’re the vibe behind the town.”
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