For years, a large section of South Broadway has been known as Antique Row. Now, however, representatives of some marijuana businesses that are now located along that stretch have floated the idea of re-branding the area as "The Green Mile" -- and, to put it mildly, veteran antique-shop entrepreneurs haven't embraced the notion.
See also: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Evergreen Apothecary, published July 2012
Here's how VISIT Denver, the city's tourism arm, describes the area:
South of Alameda, Broadway becomes "Antique Row," where an amazing collection of almost 100 antique stores is packed into just 18 blocks. It is one of the nation's largest concentrations of dealers, where you can find anything from pottery and glass to coins and silver, from furniture to art, books, and every kind of collectible you can imagine. Beyond antiques, South Broadway ("SoBo" for short) is lined with an eclectic mixture of neighborhood taverns, avant-garde clothing stores, art galleries, used bookstores, sporting goods emporiums, ethnic restaurants, music clubs, pizza parlors, live music venues, and everything else you'd expect to find within the urban heartbeat of The Mile High City. Whether you're looking for something to do or something to buy, there's a good chance you'll find it on Broadway.
Accompanying this blurb is the following video highlighting Antique Row:
Unsurprisingly, given the disinterest of the city officials to acknowledge marijuana's role in luring tourism to the area, there's no mention of cannabis in this item. But on Thursday, November 6, we received the following note from a Green Mile rep:
Just want to let you in on a little story that may be happening tonight on South Broadway. In the interest of being good neighbors, several cannabis shop owners are hosting a meeting to discuss what is already being known as the Green Mile on Broadway. We're thinking of forming an association, so we decided to invite all of the merchants including members of Antiques Row. The purpose of the meeting was not to take over, but to gather input. They are upset and they have called all of the TV stations.
We invited them to come and express their feelings before we moved forward with anything. I can provide more information, if you are interested. In fact, I wrote the agenda so I think you can see how inclusive we hoped to be.
Here's a look at the agenda:
2. How are people talking about this part of Broadway?
• Antique Row
• The Green Mile
3. The Green Mile vision
• An eclectic shopping district with restaurant and diverse entertainment for all.
4. Who are the audiences?
• Antique shoppers
• Restaurant patrons
• The new audience: cannabis shoppers
5. Who stands to benefit?
6. How can we ensure our efforts are improving the neighborhood? (Green Mile on Broadway)
7. How are we positioning ourselves?
8. How are we going to compete with other shopping districts that are already promoting their own interests?
9. How do we work together to co-promote?
10. Associated costs -- minimum to launch
• What do we want to do?
11. Timeline: Raise launch budget in time to purchase billboard, complete media and push social media and public relations efforts?
12. Next steps
Whatever their intentions, the Green Mile backers, linked to Evergreen Apothecary, have yet to sway Rachel Hoffman, president of the South Broadway Antique Row Association. In an interview with CBS4, she complains about people smelling of marijuana stopping into area antique shops and suggests that the new businesses want to take advantage of improvements paid for by Antique Row operations they seem to believe aren't as "fresh" as the newer stores.
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At this point, the Green Mile boosters are trying to smooth the waters. A statement provided to CBS4 reads: "Several marijuana businesses reached out to their neighbors to see about working together to brand and market South Broadway. Several concerns were mentioned, and, at this point, the marijuana businesses are assessing the best way to move forward in compliance with Colorado's strict regulatory framework."
Here's the aforementioned CBS4 report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.