Denver Mart Closing Leaves Fly Fishing Show High and Dry
For nineteen consecutive years, the Fly fishing show attracted over 12,000 fly fishing fanatics to the Denver Market, bringing business to hundreds of exhibitors and generating more than a million dollars for the local economy, says Ben Furimsky, president of the show.
But after the Denver Mart announced its closure at the end of March, Furimsky and other event planners found themselves without a venue for their 2021 shows. Under current COVID-19 restrictions, those shows would not have anyway. was able to accommodate more than 100 visitors at a time – but Furimsky fears the closure will affect not only events in 2021, but 2022 and beyond.
“There are probably no more than four or five facilities in the area that could meet our needs, and most of them are already full. I’m struggling right now to find anything available for the next two years, ”says Furimsky, whose event was scheduled to run from April 30 to May 2. “Ideally, we would like to keep him in the Denver area. , but if there is nowhere they can serve us, then we have no choice but to look elsewhere. ”
And the Fly Fishing Show isn’t the only annual event the metro area could lose due to the shutdown. “It affects hundreds of businesses,” says Furimsky. “At the very least, you have an event every weekend at a facility like this, so there are 52 companies like me.”
In early February, Denver Mart CEO Todd Herrick sent a letter to tenants and show partners detailing the upcoming event location closure at 451 East 58th Avenue, just north of Denver in Adams County. . The letter suggested that the Mart had overcome financial difficulties before the pandemic, defaulting with its lender in March 2020, but blamed a “loss of tenants and event revenue” for its continued difficulties.
According to Herrick, the Mart will be sold through a receivership process by the end of March, forcing the cancellation of all events scheduled for April 1 or after that date. we intend to continue welcoming tenants and shows. We believe there is still a demand for the business model that we have successfully maintained at The Mart for many years, and we are currently exploring potential locations, ”Herrick said in his letter. “For many of our partners, this will be the end of an era, and for many with smaller events, we will start new conversations.”
Denver Mart did not respond to requests for comment.
Furimsky, whose show is certainly not one of those “little events”, had anticipated a lot of interest this year, as fishing became even more popular during the pandemic. But he also highlights the additional challenges posed by Colorado current yellow level restrictions, with indoor unseated events allowed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time – and only if the space allows for social distancing.
“How does that even give them the ability to function?” There are probably just as many people during our event working in the food court, ”says Furimsky. “They’re opening restaurants, hotels – you just had the Super Bowl. Security is our concern, but there are capabilities to operate businesses safely. ”
Due to these restrictions, Furimsky says other event venues are not only losing customers, but could also be in danger of closure, such as the Mart.
“There are a lot of events that are going to move from the Denver area because there hasn’t been an opportunity to operate,” he concludes. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have confirmed contracts elsewhere, but the facilities they work with here in Denver don’t even know they’re leaving. This other state says, “You can operate,” and that’s an unfair advantage to that state or that county. ”