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Old 08-23-2011, 02:29 AM
 
Location: Mesa
24 posts, read 59,142 times
Reputation: 29

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Hi, I just registered on here so I apologize if this is the wrong place for this post...
I'm looking for a small to medium sized town in Colorado to open up a teahouse. (anywhere between 1,000-20,000 people would be ideal.)
I don't have unrealistic expectations, just somewhere that has reasonable rent. Beyond that, everything else is negotiable. No kids or plans for them, so school districts etc aren't really an issue. I'm a sort of unconventional person, but I've never needed to fit in so I'd prefer a more liberal-minded town but again not a necessity. I'm not looking for perfection, or "Mayberry." I grew up in a town in AZ with a population of about 10,000 so I know small towns aren't usually Utopia... I just hate terrible traffic, suburban sprawl and fast food chains on every corner. If anyone can suggest some affordable towns, I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks!
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
12,840 posts, read 23,199,762 times
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Look to the plains, pretty much everywhere east of I-25. The cities/towns south of, and including Pueblo could be lumped in as well.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:47 AM
Status: "October is the eighth month" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,677 posts, read 28,491,129 times
Reputation: 6842
Sloans Lake, just west of Downtown Denver.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:48 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
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Unfortunately, those type businesses fail so regularly in rural Colorado that it isn't even funny. Most don't last more than a couple of years. The toxic combination of limited customer base, high living costs, and high commercial rents related to incomes will kill most them off pretty quickly. Simply put, a great way to burn up one's savings in a fairly big hurry. It's a prime example of what I've posted about often: The Paradise Syndrome. People move to rural Colorado with the dream of living in a neat place and running a small business with time to enjoy all the great things Colorado has to offer. The reality is that they usually wind up working their a**es off with no time to enjoy what they moved to Colorado for. They burn through savings, equity, and however much money they can borrow until they are way in debt and broke. Then they sell out--if they can--stick their tail between their legs and move back "to the world" someplace where they can actually make a living. I've watched that happen for four decades in rural Colorado. It's not pleasant, and the pumpmonkeys on this forum will tell you that it isn't that way--but it is, and there is no way to sugarcoat it.

The sad reality in rural Colorado is this: If you want to be able to live here for the long-term and actually expect to make a living in the local economy (translation: you're not a fat-cat retiree, transplant equity locust, trust-fund baby, or drug dealer) then your best hope to do that is to try to secure government employment (becoming very difficult to do as government is forced to downsize), go to work in the resource extraction industries, or work for one the few stable local employers (utility companies or the medical profession, for example). Of course, a zillion other people also compete for those jobs. Or you can try to marry or inherit a productive farm or ranch--buying one outright really isn't a viable option for most people.

That's the reality. Don't listen to the people who live in the metro areas when they opine about rural Colorado. They don't know squat about it--especially the recent transplants who have little "institutional memory" of what Colorado is all about. That's like listening to the guy who's lived in a place for a week making a year-long weather prediction based on his one week's experience with the weather. He might be right, but I wouldn't bet much on it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
319 posts, read 620,011 times
Reputation: 439
Not disagreeing with you, jazzlover, but I wonder if the OP might have a shot in LaVeta or Westcliffe, which are both quite small but also have reasonable tourist traffic and an artsy feel, though I don't know about rent values.

And,of course, if the OP is looking for a real adventure as opposed to a pure business venture, h/she could PM me and we could talk about the future of tiny, tenacious, teetering Branson, Colorado.

Seeking a rural, SE ranch town w/grasslands & mesas?
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:30 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bovinedivine View Post
Not disagreeing with you, jazzlover, but I wonder if the OP might have a shot in LaVeta or Westcliffe, which are both quite small but also have reasonable tourist traffic and an artsy feel, though I don't know about rent values.

And,of course, if the OP is looking for a real adventure as opposed to a pure business venture, h/she could PM me and we could talk about the future of tiny, tenacious, teetering Branson, Colorado.

Seeking a rural, SE ranch town w/grasslands & mesas?
The challenge is this: I can suggest numerous towns in Colorado that are quite pleasant--La Veta or Westcliffe being two very nice little towns with which I am quite familiar--IF one has no illusions about having much of a chance of making a local income. The OP is indicating that she wants to be able to make a local income in a business. That virtually eliminates a plethora of small Colorado towns from consideration. The fact remains: making a living on a local income in rural Colorado is usually a very difficult proposition. It is why so many people fail at it, it is why the children of most rural Colorado residents wind up relocating elsewhere to find work, and it is why so many rural Colorado towns wind up with what can often be a socially unhealthy somewhat transient mix of trust-funders, affluent retirees, transfer payment-dependent people, etc. as the majority of residents.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:59 AM
 
16,168 posts, read 20,176,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
It is why so many people fail at it, it is why the children of most rural Colorado residents wind up relocating elsewhere to find work,
And it happens in the bigger areas as well, not just the rural areas. I know quite a bit of kids from Fruita/Monument and G.J. Central High Schools ( and some Mesa College kids as well) that eventually have to relocate to the front range because the opportunities here are kind of lacking. They like the area, but they also want to make money.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:30 AM
 
20,306 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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I suggest Durango, which has plenty of folks who might like a tea house, lots of retirees, plus all the tourists who come to ride the train, hike, climb, ski and explore the scenic wonders of that part of COLO.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:02 PM
 
103 posts, read 343,809 times
Reputation: 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by andromeda_k View Post
Hi, I just registered on here so I apologize if this is the wrong place for this post...
I'm looking for a small to medium sized town in Colorado to open up a teahouse. (anywhere between 1,000-20,000 people would be ideal.)
I don't have unrealistic expectations, just somewhere that has reasonable rent. Beyond that, everything else is negotiable. No kids or plans for them, so school districts etc aren't really an issue. I'm a sort of unconventional person, but I've never needed to fit in so I'd prefer a more liberal-minded town but again not a necessity. I'm not looking for perfection, or "Mayberry." I grew up in a town in AZ with a population of about 10,000 so I know small towns aren't usually Utopia... I just hate terrible traffic, suburban sprawl and fast food chains on every corner. If anyone can suggest some affordable towns, I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks!
We (La Junta) are one of those towns that fit your description and what Jazzlover said is pretty much spot on.

The teahouse may work, but not as a standalone. I think you will find that true of most of the small/medium towns in Colorado. The challenge for you may be to find something to combo with it to make it cash flow. No matter how bad small/medium towns would like people to open small businesses, we don't want them to fail.

Will also dm you with some contacts that me be helpful for you in any part of Colorado that you might choose.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:24 PM
 
2,772 posts, read 3,455,224 times
Reputation: 2118
Lists of Colorado tea houses

Colorado Tearooms at TeaGuide The Original Online Tea Room Directory (http://www.teaguide.net/tearoomscolorado.htm - broken link)
Colorado Tearooms

You didn't indicate how extensive your knowledge of the tea house business is professionally or as a consumer or as a potential entrepreneur deep in research; but, regardless, I would think it would be worthwhile to visit a half dozen, dozen or more of Colorado's tea houses (perhaps multiple times) before committing, picking a location and making all the other decisions to get a sense of how things are done and going in Colorado.

Most of the listing on on the front range but there are a few elsewhere, including a few in places below 5,000 population. Don't know how well they are doing of course. I'd think the upper end of your range (or even higher) would be more likely to make it.

I don't know the business. I'd guess that tea house chains are not a big issue right now (beyond Starbucks?). They might become more of a factor in the future, first in the bigger markets. A market that you can capture and maintain in the future against more competition might be an argument in favor of a fairly small town. Entering an market with existing competition (proven?) is another option but would require additional careful judgments and competitive strategy.


I didn't see a listing for Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Evergreen, Delta, Redlands Windsor, or Trinadad. There might be something there but just not on these lists or it might not be a good market or it might be as yet untapped. Some of these would be more affordable than others but affordability and desirability of the market from the standpoint of customers might be inverse. Commercial rents and housing costs may not track at the same ratio in the various places. Aspen would be very very expensive and cost may explain the lack of a listing. It might be tough on the expense side in a few of the other places too but it depends on your standards for business and residential affordability and looking around hard and negotiating. I also don't like a listing in Cherry Hills, Columbine or Ken Caryl. They probably aren't what you are looking for personally but they might be other untapped markets.

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-23-2011 at 01:54 PM..
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