Welcome to Southeast Colorado!
The plentiful grasslands, historical sites, and growing economy in the Southeast region of Colorado allow businesses a wide spectrum of opportunity to flourish with economic success. Our community is proud to support, and maintain, business success within many different realms of the workforce. Such professions include:
farming, agriculture, manufacturing, recycling and waste removal, technology, engineering, construction, nursing, accounting, education, cosmetology, machinery, artistry, hospitality, real estate, and much, much more.
Welcome to Our Beautiful Home!
Photo Credit: Paul Arelleno
Tourism in Southeast Colorado
Known for it’s natural beauties- like the Arkansas River, the Rocky Mountain National Park, and Garden of the Gods, Colorado has been a hub for tourism activity since its inception. And, in addition to these world-renown national sites, the sprawling grasslands and bountiful countryside of Southeast Colorado has provided Tourists with economic opportunity for hundreds of years.
Overflowing in it’s rich history, Southeast Colorado is home to some of the countries most prolific national historic sites, and nomadic activity has been the heart of business for the region for many generations. So, if you’re an entrepreneur thinking about opening a business in tourism, Southeast Colorado is the place to be!
Our story begins in 1833 when trappers, traders, and travelers, seeking refuge from the scorching country sun, made a business deal with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of the region. This deal resulted in the construction of an adobe trade-post where the Cowboys and Indians of the Ol’ West could trade their goods, primarily fur, in peace. This post, known now as Bent’s Fort National Historic Site, provided the region with purpose and business opportunity– benefiting even today’s society. Today, the Bent’s Fort National Historic Site allows visitors to relive what life was like for business men and women traveling through the Bent’s Fort Trading Post. Living Historians recreate the sights, sounds, smells, and over-all experiences of the past with guides tours, demonstrations, and special events.
Coupling the advances of the modern world with the heart and spirit of the Ol’ West, Southeast Colorado is the perfect playground for both entrepreneurs and travelers, alike, to discover their business dreams, and more importantly, relive history.
What Does Owning a Tourism Business in Southeast Colorado Look Like?
In the ever evolving world we live in today, the use of technology is becoming much more prevalent in business activity; thus, allowing travel to become much more accessible to entrepreneurs- not only in rural areas, but in diverse communities, all over the world. And, the tourism industry has expanded over the years, allowing individuals to capitalize on every resource available– creating streams of revenue in unexpected places. And, in Southeast Colorado specifically, dreamers have been finding entrepreneurial opportunities in so many different realms of tourism business– I guess you could say, “We’re the Hidden Gem of the Grasslands!”
The Bent’s Fort National Historic Site is the cornerstone to business transactions in the region, being one of the first establishments to introduce the barter-and-trade system to Southeast Colorado. Alongside Bent’s Fort National Historic Site, a multitude of other entrepreneurs, and governmental entities, have capitalized on the region’s breath-taking world wonders– such as the Picket Wire Canyonlands, the Colorado Gators Reptile Park, the Comanche National Grassland Dinosaur Tracks, the Santa Fe Trail, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the UFO Watchtower, Bish-op’s Castle, and much, much more.
For the region of Southeast Colorado, entrepreneurs capitalizing on tourist attractions have created a main-stay for business activity in the area. It’s happened for hundreds of years, and for the prosperity of our hometowns down here in the Ol’ West– tourism business is going to continue being a prevalent attribute in our society. Why not capitalize on it yourself?
Blogger, Nelson James, at Signs.com says it best,
The wonderful thing about Southeast Colorado is the charm of our hometowns, couple that with world-renown national historic sites– and you have the perfect storm to sweep the “in-migration dollars” to our region.
Unexpected Examples of Profitable Business Opportunities in the Tourism Industry:
(Specific to Southeast Colorado)
10 Ways to Capitalize on Tourism in Your Town:
(Written by Nelson James at Signs.com)
- Find out where visitors stay while they’re in your town. Identify the most popular hotels for your demographic – business travelers tend to stay in different hotels than families, for instance.
- Identify the places people visit while they’re in your town. What kinds of things are they doing? Do they go to art museums, zoos, parks? Are they hiking, cycling, hanging out at the beach?
- Check out your town’s calendar of events. My tiny town hosts a huge car race and several motorcycle races every summer. Normally not a “tourist town,” the place fills up with racers and fans for several weeks.
- Contact the Chamber of Commerce to see when conventions will be held in your town. Your local Board of Tourism may have this information, too. Conventioneers come with plenty of spending cash – much of it in the form of corporate credit cards, so the money flows pretty freely.
- Identify the kinds of things that visitors want or need while they’re in your town. If families come to hang out at the beach, they’ll need sunscreen, hats, beach towels and sand toys. If businessmen come for conventions, they might spend money on clothing, food and entertainment.
- Set up your business to accommodate visitors. In the case of events or conventions, make special signs welcoming guests. If appropriate, place items for tourists on the sidewalk in front of your store, or just inside the front door. Advertise that those items are available.
- Don’t forget the local merchandise. No matter who is visiting, odds are that they’ll want to take home a souvenir and maybe some gifts for family and friends. If your store will get tourist traffic, offer locally made goods and souvenir mugs, magnets, etc. Match the price point to the prices of the goods you normally carry. For instance, a convenience store might carry low-priced magnets and hats; a more upscale gift shop or clothing store might carry higher-priced shirts, jackets, framed prints, etc.
- If your shop is nowhere near hotels or attractions, don’t despair. Place advertising in those locales. For instance, you can become a patron to the art museum or zoo and place an ad in their brochure. Or, install a billboard near popular hotels, alerting tourists to your store several blocks away.
- Participate in events that bring tourists. Participate in popular farmer’s market and community event. Booths typically include the typical farmers’ wares such as fruits, vegetables and honey, but also feature local artisan crafts.
- Participate in convention expos and market yourself as local. When conventions come to town they usually set up an expo floor featuring companies that offer products that attendees need. Set up a booth and make sure to include your local location in your advertising. Invite attendees to visit your business -perhaps even host a party or special sale.
Entities to consider contacting when opening a business in tourism:
Chamber of Commerce
Canyons & Plains Travel and Information Services (Local Tourism Board)
- Educating all communities on their unique historical and cultural assets
- Providing a model for collaboration by continuously educating our own SECORHT members about the historical assets in the region
- Supporting the understanding, preservation, and appreciation of the unique historical, cultural and natural assets of the region.
Colorado Small Business Administration
The Small Business Development Center
Where can I find help concerning business in the tourism industry in Southeast Colorado?
Otero County:Pamela Denahy,
Director of Tourism/Events Coordinator
City of La Junta, Colorado 81050
P: (719) 384-5991 F: (719) 384-7231
Las Animas County:Trinidad Tourism Board
309 Nevada Ave.
Trinidad, Colorado 81082
P: (719) 846-9512
Bent County:Bent County Development Foundation
322 Amb Thompson Boulevard,
Las Animas, Colorado 81053
Kiowa County:Economic Development Foundation
1311 Maine St # 11
Eads, Colorado 81036
Baca County:Office of Economic Development
29400 US Highway 287
Springfield, Colorado 81073
P.O. Box 95
P: (719) 335-2244
Crowley County:Crowley County Chamber of Commerce
631 Main Street / PO BOX 332
Ordway, Colorado 81063
Prowers County:Prowers County Development, Inc.
1301 North Main Street, Suite 103
Lamar, Colorado 81052
Southeastern Colorado:Southern CO Economic Development District
1104 North Main Street
Pueblo, Colorado 81003
Discover all the natural beauties and tourist attractions Southeast Colorado has to offer:
Discover Tourism in Southeast Colorado
YouTuber, NPS Inventory and Monitoring, examines Bent’s Fort National Historic Site in, “Part 1 of a Series Examining the Connections Between Humans and Nature Along the Santé Fe Trail.”
YouTuber, Jeremy Weathers’, “Spotlight on Southeast Colorado,” was produced for Southeast Rural Philanthropy Days in Trinidad, Colorado, September 24th-26th, 2014.
“COLORADO: Lamar to La Junta, A Santa Fe Trail Itinerary” by YouTuber, TravelingJules: “Come explore the Canyons and Plains of Southeast Colorado near Lamar and La Junta with Travel Video Journalist, Juliana Broste, aka TravelingJules. On this action packed three-day road trip, we’ll see dinosaur footprints in Picket Wire Canyon (4:02), the largest dinosaur track site in North America (4:43)! We’ll visit Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site (0:33) — it’s like being in a living museum. This is where traders, trappers, travelers and Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes peacefully traded goods along the Santa Fe Trail. We’ll also visit the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site 2:26 and learn about an event that changed the Great Plains forever. We’ll also take a hike in Vogel Canyon (5:56) to see rock art and make friends with the wild tarantulas. All this, and more...only in Colorado!”a
The Southeast Colorado Power Association’s YouTube channel- Renewables and You! presents, “Southeastern Colorado renewable energy projects.”
YouTuber, Visionfinderpro’s presents- “Local Tourist Colorado– Canyons of Comanche National Grasslands,” “...The Greatest Adventures Are Waiting In Your Own Backyard.”
Popular Tourist Attractions in Southeast Colorado:
Do you have more questions about the tourism industry in Southeast Colorado?
The Southeast Colorado SBDC consultant team consists of five members, each specializing in distinct realms of business and education. Get in touch with a member of our team today and get more information working in the tourism industry.