It's Downtown Employee Appreciation Week, but do downtown employees feel appreciated?

Working retail downtown is not always pretty. From the throngs of clueless tourists to the weirdos and freaks that hang around to the generally thankless tasks, it can be a grind. To honor those brave men and women who day in and day out sling our coffee and clean up after the perverts who crap in the urinals, the Downtown Denver Partnership launched "Downtown Denver Employee Appreciation Week" yesterday, and just to be sure downtown employees were really feeling appreciated, we hiked downtown to talk to them and find out.

Surprisingly (or maybe not--they were at work, and being quoted) the responses were pretty much uniformly positive. Kari Allerton, a barista at the Barnes & Noble coffee shop, said her employer made her feel appreciated when they held the position for her even after she broke her ankle hiking shortly before she was going to transfer from a store in Grand Junction. "They've been really helpful so far," she said. "Really flexible and willing to work with me. So yeah, I feel appreciated."

At Bath and Body Works, Abby Jones and Tiara Dais were feeling pretty appreciated, too. "We've got our security guys watching us, so that's cool," said Jones, although she added that a downside to working downtown was that "parking is annoying."

Dais said she had moved here from a smaller town in Illinois, and that working retail downtown was much more fun than it had been there. "There's much more to do; everything is kind of within reach," she said. "If you want to go to the bank, there's one right there, and there's way more to choose from when you get lunch. It's much better food than the mall pretzel stand."

If one theme was feeling appreciated, then another one turned out to be people who had come to work downtown from much smaller towns, and Kandi Picard at Jimmy John's was a fit for both of them. A transplant from Maine, Picard said she thought the employment pickings were better here. "I think there's more people to choose from as far as applicants, you know, so they can be a little more choosy about who they hire," she speculated. "So you end up working with more qualified people that way, and that's obviously a good thing."

Picard also said she intended to "get up on that free massage" offered by Kaiser Permanente in its "Relaxation Tent" at Skyline Park.

And a free massage, you have to admit, is not too shabby a way to be appreciated.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte