Local brick and mortar businesses contribute heavily to sales tax revenue, as well as to community causes, yet last year, an uncomfortable number shuttered or scaled back because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m not sure how long it’s going to take to get people back out of their homes, but I think overall, people are tired of having to stay home and sort of be quarantined. Hopefully, we can get that going again. Small businesses are really the backbone of any community, and, I think, of ours in particular.” Nationally, small business employs more people than big business, Glaspell said, and the need to support smaller operations remains.
That doesn’t mean there are not challenges. Glaspell will be the second mayor to lead Montrose during the COVID-19 pandemic, although for now, the prevalence of the virus appears to be on the wane, thanks in part of an aggressive vaccination campaign by many players.
“It is still going to be difficult for small businesses, because people have gotten so accustomed to purchasing things online. I think it’s a matter of trying to help small businesses reclaim that walk-in population. I think we’ve got some real difficulty in doing that,” Glaspell said. “That certainly is a change. How is that going to affect the city, or the community, or other members of the council?”
“It’s a tough one. It’s not just here. It’s everywhere,” Glaspell said, noting that construction costs have soared. Developers have to lay out a good chunk of change just in purchasing a building lot, connecting utilities and obtaining permits, he said. “Those kinds of things, if you can’t get the product prices down, we’re still going to have difficulty finding affordable housing,” said Glaspell, who added that the new housing being built at Colorado Outdoors should take some pressure off the market. The price of those rentals remains a factor, however, he also said. He said he wants to see the city continue to help industry and business where it can, as industry is a job generator, but that highlights a persistent challenge in Montrose: housing, particularly affordable housing. Businesses that want to come here need housing for employees, as do people who already live here.
“I think anytime we see development like that, we’ve got other companies that are supporting them, or looking for opportunities and see that those opportunities are available in the Montrose area. We’ve had a good number of businesses expanding and some of them were even expanding during the pandemic,” Glaspell said. Montrose has been attracting business, too, despite the pandemic, he said, citing ongoing development at Colorado Outdoors, which recently broke ground on its Flex Buildings — a major residential and commercial project — and reports that another company is moving into the former Russell Stover candy factory. That kind of development serves to draw additional businesses, he said, because they see opportunity.
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