Brower: Anecdotally, a mini rush to Grand is on | SkyHiNews.com
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Brower: Anecdotally, a mini rush to Grand is on

By Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative
Patrick Brower, Grand Enterprise Initiative

The word on the street is pretty convincing.

More and more people than in past years are acting in ways that suggest they may want to live in Grand County more-or-less year-round. Which is to distinguish the rush in past years of people wanting to live here part-time.

Yes, we can blame this sort of information on COVID-19 and the urge of urban denizens to want to get away from places where coronavirus germs spread more easily. And perhaps there’s a little bit of what I call the “bunker” mentality taking place too. By that I mean people may, in the back of their minds, be thinking that some sort of economic and societal collapse is coming because of COVID-19 and the current political unrest. In that thinking, suddenly living in Grand County in a secluded “bunker-style” second home seems appealing.

What’s my evidence? I admit, it’s anecdotal (hearsay) at this point, but I find it convincing.

My first yardstick is comments from the construction industry. Architects, engineers, builders and planners are saying some of the same things. Starting in the spring of 2020 there’s been an uptick of people wanting to build or remodel homes in Grand County so they can be lived in year-round. What’s critical here is the number of people who have existing homes who want to make them livable on a more year-round basis.

The second yardstick consists of my contacts and friends in the cable TV and telephone (Century Link) business. All of a sudden there’s been a large increase in people wanting to have internet and year-round connections to their existing homes, far more than in the past for this time of year. Perhaps people are planning on hunkering down in Grand County.

Third indicator? In my work with entrepreneurs and small businesses here in Grand County, I’m seeing that for many business isn’t down drastically. In some cases it’s actually up, despite the coronavirus shutdowns and limitations. And it’s not only because of tourists passing through. It’s from people suddenly taking a stronger interest in what’s here if they decide to stick around for more than two weeks. Interesting.

Also, now that co-working has seen a boom in the Front Range and large cities, it’s suddenly seeing a new sort of Renaissance here in the mountains. As large, urban-based companies realize they can have their workers work at home, those workers are thinking proactively about living and working in homes that aren’t in the city. They can work up here in Grand County and enjoy all our amenities while still making a decent living in the corporate world. Think of the demand at the Greenspaces Winter Park co-working space where Jayson and Austin are making development plans to lure more co-workers to the county so they can live and work here.

All of this suggests rather strongly that I think we will be seeing a mini-boom in people wanting to give living here more than a month or two a real try. That strongly suggests more permanent residents and not only second-home owners. This has been one of the keys to economic expansion here in the county because year-round residents spend more locally and contribute more to the overall vibrancy of the community when compared to second home owners.

This is good news for our local economies despite the bad news of the coronavirus. Maybe there is a silver lining in the COVID cloud.

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at patrickbrower@kapoks.org.


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