Aug 12, 2007
What’s best for business: How does growth affect the way — and where — people shop?By Maria St.

Just walk into Don’s Hobbies, and you can get a sense of the history.

The wooden floors at 815 10th St. have a gleam polished from years of wear. The ceiling has molding so intricate that it would cost thousands to recreate and, frankly, isn’t the type of craftsmanship that is replicated in new commercial buildings. The 16,000-square-foot building is a treasure chest for collectors of model cars and planes, train sets and remote-controlled vehicles.

Though Don’s Hobbies has transferred owners a few times and changed its location once, the two mainstays of the business — hobbies and downtown Greeley — have remained the same since the store opened in 1961.

But that will change soon.

Don’s Hobbies is moving west to a newer and much smaller location at 3820 10th St. Owner Don Held said he is simply following his customers to where they live. Looking at the demographics, he knows that people who live in west Greeley tend to have the money to spend extra cash on their hobbies.

“Financially, it’s the right decision,” he said. “Don’s has a long history here and, yeah, that bothers me, but we have to do what we have to do.”

The departure of this mainstay downtown business shows that new housetops aren’t the only thing that change when cities grow. Greeley grew by 65 percent from 1980-2005, and much of that growth was out west. As the boundaries changed, so did the demographics. West Greeley, with room for big houses, attracted those who were more wealthy while the affordable homes in east Greeley attracted the less affluent.

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