A corporation has shut down all of Larimer Square today, buying out businesses on the historic block for a private event -- but at least one merchant has refused to close his doors. Larimer Street between 15th and Speer and 14th Street between Market and Lawrence streets are closed to traffic this morning as crews build stages and bars on Larimer Square for tonight's big bash sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, which is holding a convention in town. But Mark Greenberg, the 59-year-old owner of The Market, says he decided not to take a buyout.
"My business is based on everyday, regular customers and the reason I wanted to stay open is so that I don't have to turn away the local customers," he says.
The Market has been a mainstay on Larimer Square for 29 years, Greenberg notes, and he only closes his doors on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And he wasn't about to make an exception for today -- even if all the other restaurants and shops on the block are closed.
"They wanted to buy me out for a day, but I really wasn't interested," he says. "I didn't want my customers going to other establishments.... It's one day out of 365 days, but I just didn't want to do that. It's my pride.... I never even sat down with them."
He says he got a letter months ago asking for a buyout, but he threw it out and didn't respond. "I'm a small business man. I just felt like this was my thing to be open," he says. "A lot of people came out to support me here," he adds, pointing to the customers around him this morning.
Greenberg says he understands that Larimer will be completely closed to foot traffic from 3 p.m. on, but he plans to stay open during that time, even if the only business he'll get then is from crews and other folks at the event. In the meantime, pedestrians can still make it to the Market -- and they're doing so in large numbers.
"My customers will climb over any tape to get here," he says. "I'm a 29-year veteran of Larimer Square. I have to support my Denver customers who have supported me all these years." Scroll down for more pictures of today's action on Larimer Square.