FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The decision to postpone the Mountain West Conference football season will have a greater impact on the Fort Collins community than just within the confines of Colorado State University. Business owners in the Northern Colorado city tell CBS4 they’re concerned the elimination of gameday foot traffic in their businesses will drastically impact their profitability.
“It’s going to affect the whole community,” said Wayne Welden, owner of Retro Sports Apparel And More in popular Old Town Fort Collins. “(Not having football) will impact us significantly.”
Welden recently opened his business, and specifically chose to do so near CSU. Welden’s store sells sports memorabilia, apparel and more. While he also sells merchandise for professional sports and Colorado-themed attire, he said the business often relies on impulse purchases from CSU Rams fans on game days.
“That is one of the reasons we picked Fort Collins, was because of CSU,” Welden said. “The gameday enthusiasm and the instant purchases that you need to have something for a sporting event, that is all going to be down the drain.”
Local restaurants, bars and more are also expected to be impacted by the lack of sports due to coronavirus concerns.
Welden said, for a relatively new business, it has been difficult to navigate the market while juggling the aftermath of an ever-present pandemic.
“It has been a tough start to the year. Not only did we have COVID-19. But, now we have all the cancellations going on. It is the worst possible scenario,” Welden told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
While the delays in sporting will impact his sales, Welden is optimistic his wide variety of selection across multiple sports and more will help him stay profitable. He said he understood the needs to address the pandemic, but hoped there would be a safe return to collegiate events sooner than later.
“Business seems to be coming back. We were gaining some momentum, here,” Welden said. “I’m optimistic. I think business is going to come back okay.”