Rockin’ Horse to close as building sells, rent quadruples

Tenants say city makes it easy to push small businesses out

Deborah Grigsby
dgrigsby@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/18/22

There’s a quiet portal to yesteryear among the many shops along Golden’s downtown Washington Avenue.

And for 30 years, time-travelers from around the world have frequented this longstanding gem searching for tangible connections to the past.

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Rockin’ Horse to close as building sells, rent quadruples

Tenants say city makes it easy to push small businesses out

Posted

There’s a quiet portal to yesteryear among the many shops along Golden’s downtown Washington Avenue.

And for 30 years, time-travelers from around the world have frequented this longstanding gem searching for tangible connections to the past.

But time is running out for Rockin’ Horse Antiques and Collectables.

The Crosbie Real Estate Group purchased the 6,000-square-foot historic building at 1106 Washington Avenue approximately two years ago for an estimated $1.1 million, according to Lynn Highland, who has managed the shop for the last eight years.

Architectural renderings from the Crosbie website show the proposed new façade and projected local tourist traffic at 2.5 million visitors per year.

Negotiations for the Rockin’ Horse to remain in the building failed when the Crosbie group quadrupled the rent, taking it from $5,000 per month to $20,000.

Highland said the price was out of reach for the former owner.

The hike in rent made it impossible for the Rockin’ Horse to renew its lease, and they received a 90-day notice to vacate the premises.

Highland said she thinks mom and pop stores don’t generate enough sales tax, and that’s why city governments defer to large corporate operations.

“So, June 12 will be the last day that we will be ringing up merchandise,” Highland said. “After that, we have until 15th to get everybody out.”

While Highland said she doesn’t blame the new owners, she is concerned for the many self-employed businesses that will now be “scattered to the four winds.”

Businesses like the Clear Creek Flower Company.

Shawna Lutz, who owns the floral shop located inside the antique mall, said that unless she can find a new location soon, Golden will lose its only florist.

And news locations in downtown Golden are not only expensive, but they’re also hard to find.

On April 12, Lutz appeared before Golden City Council, stating that the city is letting small business owners down by making it easy for corporate developers to swoop in and push “mom and pop” stores out of business to make way for more bars and restaurants.

“I can tell you that for downtown to be successful, we need a healthy mix of businesses, and not just bars and restaurants,” Ward 1 Councilor Robert Reed said. “And if we can come up with a way to do that, we certainly will. Unfortunately, it’s kind of late for your circumstances. I didn’t know that building was on the market — pretty sure you guys didn’t either. It caught me by surprise, and I am so sorry to hear about that.”

With less than three months to go, Highland cedes that unless the mall could qualify for a special grant or loan with non-commercial terms, the Rockin’ Horse will, itself, become a memory.

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