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Denver Hopes To Replicate Greeley's Economic Boost From Common Consumption Areas

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver city leaders passed a bill to allow for common consumption allowing patrons to leave a restaurant with an alcoholic beverage during special events. The city of Greeley was the first municipality in the state to pass a similar proposal. In 2011 it took advantage of a state law allowing entities to establish entertainment districts.

Denver hopes to replicate success from common consumption areas like Greeley. (credit: CBS)

The city then created a common consumption area called the Go Cup district. Since, patrons of Greeley's 9th Street plaza have been able to walk from business to business, drink in hand.

While Denver will have both a full and part-time options, Greeley has designated days for common consumption.

Every Friday, from May through September, businesses in the 9th Street plaza step up security and close down the street.

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"It easily generates an additional 25% of revenue on those days. That's a big deal," said Sarah Morgan, General Manager at Luna's Tacos and Tequila.

Even part-time, margaritas to-go became so popular at Luna's, halfway through the summer, the restaurant had to alter its business model.

"We have our office that has an old ticket box window in it, and we've removed that window and put a raising window in there. We've installed a tap so we can serve go cups or go cup margaritas right outside our office window," she said.

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She says the businesses work together to hire security, and they have wrist bands for anyone consuming alcohol.

"As businesses, we're really banding together to uphold that responsibility and encourage it."

Businesses just outside the common consumption area are seeing a benefit, too.

"It was a big deal for Greeley and people that maybe said, 'oh I haven't been downtown in forever.' They started coming down on Friday nights, and said 'you know, this is a good place.' It's been great," said Linder Winter, owner of Accessories With a Flare and Hair.

Winter has been in downtown Greeley for more than 20 years and says this was the change the town needed. Despite being outside the consumption zone, she has found a way to take advantage of it.

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"On Friday nights, when we get 2, or 3,000 people down here, you got to stay open. They don't want to see closed store fronts. And, after hours, when I'm on the plaza myself, I keep the lights on so even if they don't buy anything that day, they at least have seen… that you might have something they may come back for."

When asked if anyone has ever been caught wandering into her store with a drink? She said not once.

The city also confirmed that there have been no alcohol-related incidents related to the creation of the common consumption area.

LINK: Information On Denver's Common Consumption Areas

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