DENVER — It finally looked like a "normal" opening day around downtown Denver Friday afternoon.
Fans poured into the streets to support local bars, clubs, restaurants and breweries following the loss to the L.A. Dodgers.
The Downtown Denver Partnership said it expects it'll be a big day and season for some of the newer businesses around the stadium.
"And obviously foot traffic went down dramatically overnight during COVID," said Josh Schneider, the senior director of marketing and communications with Downtown Denver Partnership. "And having this many people back on Opening Day is huge for a lot of these new businesses that are opening up downtown because it's the exposure that they want, the people walking by on the street to see them, you know, notice that there's something new and get interested in walking in the front door,"
According to the organization's analysis, around 335,016 people were downtown on Opening Day in 2018. That went up to 380,084 in 2019.
Then, a late start to the season due to COVID-19 in 2020 showed foot traffic dwindled to only 114,018 people on on that year's Opening Day. It was back up to 232,456 in 2021.
"We believe that impact on revenue this today, this year for opening day is going to be huge with less restrictions because of COVID problems," Schneider said.
"Be that more people can fit in the restaurants, more people can get in the shopping centers, the stadium without having to worry about masks or getting too close to their neighbor."
Schneider estimates at least 10 businesses have taken office space downtown in the last year, not including restaurants and retail.
For new businesses surrounding Coors Field, it was a much anticipated day.
"I don’t think I could have anticipated…this," said Matthew Garry, referring to the large crowds.
Garry is the Director of Operations for KFB Hospitality, which owns Smash Face Brewing, Loaded and El Tejano, all of which opened at least in the last year, after being stalled due to the pandemic for around a year.
"But here – we’ve been waiting for this day," he said. “I can see baseball is going to bring us a lot of business."
Garry added that he's thankful for his employees that came on board during the slow periods.
“The people that are with us now – they came on – they stuck it out through the winter months in anticipation of this season," he said. "So you know this is what we’ve all been waiting for and now they’re all going to start reaping the benefits, So I’m very grateful to all my staff who stuck it out, but yeah we’re ready to be busy…”
He added that all three businesses, which are next to each other near the corner of 20th and Market streets, are hiring between 20-30 people for all positions in total.
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