RETAIL SHOPPING MARKETS
Goal 1 – Diversify the retail shopping market and fill market gaps with local, independently-owned businesses and startups:
•Stores that will serve both residents and visitors
•Stores oriented toward visitor recreational/leisure shopping
Strategy 1.1 – Encourage and support retail start-ups.
•Develop a business plan and feasibility study for downtown retail pop-up space(s) coordinated with business incubation services.
Strategy 1.2 – Support adaptation and innovation among existing retailers.
•Procure retail market data annually from an online platform and share with existing and prospective retailers.
•Periodically consolidate visitor spending data held by Colorado Tourism Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and other state agencies and share with existing and prospective retailers.
•Maintain a retail and hospitality industry business inventory which includes business name, location, contact info and types of goods/services offered and share with existing and prospective retailers.
•Research best practices for business succession planning.
RETAIL CATEGORIES SERVING RESIDENTS AND VISITORS
Specialty food stores. Over $1 million in specialty food sales to county residents is lost to other communities.
Furniture and home furnishings stores. $2.1 million in sales to county residents is lost to other communities in this category.
Clothing and clothing accessories. Roughly $1.4 million of clothing and accessories spending by county residents is being lost to other communities or online.
Sporting goods, hobby, bookstores. Nearly $1 million in sales to local households are lost to other communities for these leisure time products.
Office supply stores. Over $340k per year in resident sales are lost to communities or online in the office supply and gift stores retail category.
Power sports sales and service. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) sports generate over $545 million in annual spending by Colorado visitors and $786 million by state residents, ranking eighth in total spending/sales among outdoor activities.
VISITOR ORIENTED RECREATIONAL/LEISURE SHOPPING
Art galleries/art retail. 20% of Colorado overnight visitors visit cultural attractions/activities and 30% go shopping.
Gift stores. Gift, novelty, and souvenir stores that mostly cater to visitors can also make sales to local residents. Over $340k per year in resident sales are lost to communities or online.
Goal 2 – Establish and sustain a selection of restaurants that meet the needs of locals and
visitors and that are located to serve the entire geography of the county.
Strategy 2.1 – Identify gaps in the range from fast and inexpensive to fine dining; gaps in hours
and days per week open and restaurant needs in specific communities and areas.
• Conduct a countywide restaurant service needs assessment.
• Develop and implement an outreach strategy to share results of the restaurant needs
assessment with existing and prospective restauranteurs.
Strategy 2.2 – Encourage and support restaurant start-ups.
• Conduct a business plan and feasibility study for community-owned food truck(s)
coordinated with business incubation services to “test” food service business ideas and launch new
Strategy 2.3 – Research best practices for business succession planning.
Goal 3 – Increase the capacity of overnight visitor accommodations with facilities that meet
customer expectations of quality, cleanliness and consistency.
• Engage a lodging industry consultant to conduct an overnight accommodations supply
and demand study that estimates current and future demand by price point and format.
• Create a ‘how to’ hand-out and pitch for owners of vintage hotels/motels to encourage them to reactivate their property as clean and comfortable overnight accommodations.
Goal 4 – Diversify and expand recreation, entertainment and other leisure activities.
Strategy 4.1 – Fully activate and promote the existing performing arts venues for smaller scale
• Continue to support, promote and make incremental improvements to the Fox Theater in
Walsenburg and the Francisco Center for Performing Arts in La Veta.
• Promote the outdoor performance space at Miner’s Plaza in Walsenburg and prominently
post information online about the official procedures for using it.
Strategy 4.2 – Identify market opportunities for outdoor recreation businesses such as guide
services, equipment rentals, and shuttle services.
• Compile an outdoor recreation infrastructure asset inventory
• Inventory local businesses serving outdoor recreation markets.
• Conduct an outdoor recreation business market niche
Goal 5 –Implement local workforce development services that meet the needs of job seekers,
employees and employers.
Strategy 5.1 – Establish workforce development and career coaching services with regular hours and
a consistent commitment to Huerfano County.
• Establish a local point person who can help job seekers and employers navigate
multiple agencies providing a workforce services such as job finding, career planning and skills
• Set regular office hours for onsite career coaching in Huerfano County.
• Augment and complement career coaching services with an online, self-directed
platform that provides a step-by-step job search pathway and consolidates state and informational
• Support upskilling for retail and hospitality workers who want to apply their acquired skills to jobs in other industries using the MyColoradoJourney.com platform to augment in-person career coaching.
• Design and implement an ongoing communications and outreach program to inform job
seekers, employers and school districts about available workforce development opportunities and
Strategy 5.2 – Address the ongoing worker shortage.
• Create an up-to-date, consolidated and well-advertised jobs post specifically for
Huerfano County using existing jobs posting resources such as Connecting Colorado.
• Facilitate gig-work with gig aps such as “Gig Pro” or “Stint”.
• Explore options for providing transportation to and from work for workers living in
Huerfano County who do not have their own transportation.
Strategy 5.3 – Help public schools and local businesses coordinate to create more career pathways
for youth within the retail and hospitality industries including internships and apprenticeships.
• Establish a south-central regional partnership to fund and support an entrepreneurship coordinator who would organize entrepreneurship fairs, and coordinate partnerships with local businesses and facilitate tours, internships and apprenticeships.
Strategy 5.4 – Establish a vision and conceptual business model for a countywide consortium of
• Convene a coordinating committee to guide the development of the makerspaces and
• Evaluate public and private facilities for makerspaces in La Veta, Walsenburg and
• Outline the programming associated with each of the makerspaces and describe the
Goal 6 – Make downtown public infrastructure improvements that encourage visitors and passersby to
stop and explore.
Strategy 6.1 – Ensure an adequate supply of obvious and easily accessible parking in Downtown
Walsenburg capable of accommodating RVs and passenger vehicles pulling trailers.
• Design and construct signage directing motorists to existing public parking.
• Conduct a parking audit including an inventory, empirical observation of parking supply and peak demand, and recommendations for optimizing existing parking and creating new parking.
Strategy 6.2 – Create countywide visitor-oriented directional signage to business districts, historic landmarks, key services, major attractions, trailheads and
the scenic byway.
• Establish and implement a countywide wayfinding masterplan.
Goal 7 – Establish and sustain a business-friendly environment in Huerfano County and its
Strategy 7.1 – Conduct zoning and development code assessments in the county and each municipality
focused on evaluating how well regulations align with economic development goals.
• Assess how well codes align with comprehensive plans and other strategic plans.
• Assess the degree of user-friendliness: clarity, predictability, fairness, consistency, and timeliness.
Strategy 7.2 – Promote the business friendliness of the county and each municipality.
• Create a business resources web page in a prominent location on the official
✓ A letter from the mayor or board of county commissioners chair welcoming businesses
✓ FAQs for businesses and startups
✓ List of utility providers
✓ Contact list for economic development and workforce development resources
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS SUPPORT CAPACITY
Goal 7 – Ensure that Huerfano County and its partners have the capacity to implement this action plan and future initiatives.
Strategy 8.1 – Evaluate the capacity of economic development, workforce development and business support organizations to serve Huerfano County.
• Map the services provided of each organization actively working on diversifying and sustaining the economy in Huerfano County.
• Chart the capacity of each of these organizations to serve Huerfano County using metrics such as FTEs, hours, and expenditures.
• Identify service gaps.
Strategy 8.2 – Document the economic development and business support needs assessment and develop a plan for fulfilling the needs.
• Present the needs assessment to state and regional partners.
• Develop a business plan and funding strategy.
Strategy 8.3 – Evaluate the content and intended audience for each of the economic development-oriented websites and consolidate and revise as needed to speak to these key audiences:
• Start-ups and entrepreneurs
• Existing business owners
• Job seekers
• Visitors and other customers