DENVER (CBS4) – Just a year ago, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder projected a very dismal state of the economy, but, a year later, confidence from businesses has taken a 180-degree turn.

This time in 2020, COVID-19 had just hit the states, causing lockdown orders. “Patterns and Pops” on Platte Street in Denver had to close its doors to customers.
“We had really big goals for 2020, we were excited for the year,” owner Lindsay Naughton, said.

(credit: CBS)

Naughton and her business partner Brittany Brennan had started their business online in 2014, then ran a fashion truck, and finally opened up a store on Platte Street in 2017.  In 2020, they were still working to build up foot traffic and clientele.
“We were told we had to shut our doors,” Naughton recalled.

(credit: CBS)

It was devastating, so Naughton and Brennan came up with new ideas to drum up sales. Last April, they made customized Easter baskets.

(credit: CBS)

“Similar to how we had to roll with the restrictions whether or not we could be open and transition online, we also really transitioned our buying structure. So, we bought clothes that were meant to be worn at home,” Naughton explained.
The owners also relied on showcasing more of their merchandise on social media instead of the storefront, and it paid off.  A year later they are feeling optimistic that business will be on track for continued growth.
“The vaccine was the key to this piece and right now is triggering this higher level of optimism,” Professor Richard Wobbekin, CU Boulder Senior Economist and Associate Dean.
Wobbekin called the level of confidence in business historic.
“We’ve been doing this confidence index since 2003 and this is the highest quarterly reading we’ve ever seen,” he added.
The index measures business leaders’ expectations for the state and national economies, sales, profits, hiring and business spending. The scale goes from 1-100.  Fifty is neutral. This time it was 64.4.
“We’re definitely seeing our street come back to life a little,” Naughton added.
There are still some retail spaces that sit empty on Platte. They may be filled up as more workers go back to the office. The report indicated that jobs will likely grow slowly, it could take until end of 2022 to rebound.

Jacqueline Quynh