I am a shopper. I love all kinds of shopping (except for a car; that’s a process I don’t have the patience for). I like window shopping, online shopping, clothes shopping, home shopping, electronics and gadgets. I just love NEW. This might not be my best character trait.

But shopping for me has changed. The older, more responsible me is less about quantity, and more about quality and a little bit of responsibility. When I think about how trends in shopping have changed, part of me wonders if it is a maturing of society, not just myself, that has shifted away from big box stores to smaller, more intimate shopping experiences. I just don’t need to shop at a huge department store to see what is new, but I love to look at a thoughtfully put together window display in my local hardware store or wave at the store owner as I look at his or her wares.

When the pandemic hit and I was forced online, I began to learn about young, small retailers that offer better goods with a better story, and although they also cost a little more, purchasing from them feels good. So, when I think about the malls with their large franchises pushing out large quantities of uninspiring goods, I am not surprised these retail complexes are struggling.

Downtowns, however, seem to be doing just fine. More than one of our downtown Loveland boutiques posted that this April was a record-setting month for them. Mom and pop stores comprise most of our brick-and-mortar retailers in Northern Colorado downtowns. And as a business owner, I can appreciate the hard work that goes into making a small business successful, so if I can support a small retailer or a local business, that also feels good.

But the draw of a downtown is more about the entire experience, and I can’t think of anything more pleasant than walking a downtown with my husband, stopping for a drink, looking through a store or two, people watching and finding a great place for dinner. This time of year in Colorado is my favorite; the weather has settled into sunny days, but it’s not yet too hot. Everyone, from the cities with their planters to the storefronts and patios with their cheerful furniture, is putting their best foot forward.

So, I am thinking it is a goodtime for all of us to take a stroll. We are featuring Loveland’s downtown this month; in July we will feature Johnstown and August will be dedicated to Greeley. I have enjoyed my downtown field trips—I always meet someone new or get to hear the story of a business I may have walked by a hundred times. These businesses add so much life to our communities.

So, if you see me out shopping this summer, say hi. Tell me where you snagged that great find or let me in on the story of your favorite shop or business. I’d love to hear about what makes your downtown great. And I am always ready to share my tips and treasures throughout Northern Colorado.

Until next month,

Angie Grenz