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Manitou moving on, ready for holidays and beyond

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Oct 20 2013 11:53:41 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 21 2013 12:20:40 AM CDT

It's been more than two months since flooding severely damaged Manitou Springs. With the holidays around the corner, businesses say they're already moving forward optimistic for success after the floods.

It's been more than two months since flooding severely damaged Manitou Springs. With the holidays around the corner, businesses say they're already moving forward, optimistic for success after the floods.

"New energy in this building,” said Silver Sparrow Beads owner Michele Underwood.

The shop has a new home.

"This spot just opened up and here I am!" said Underwood.

Underwood decided to move her business of six years from Canon Avenue to Manitou Avenue.

"People were telling me to go elsewhere to start the business elsewhere and I just couldn't because Manitou is just magical,” said Underwood.

The old shop sat in the center of Manitou's flood zone along Fountain Creek.

"The water heater got knocked out and the furnace got knocked out."

Underwood says her landlord didn't have flood insurance. She never imagined she'd need it.

"Feels great to just be able to be up the street from my old location. It's good for customers to know that I haven't gone far,” said Underwood.

Back on Canon Avenue, Commonwheel Artists Co-Op stuck around.

"We've had a good outpouring of support," said artist Belinda Chambers.

The shop was closed for a total of three weeks because of flooding.

According to the Manitou Springs Visitors Center, at the end of August this year after the flooding only 3,871 people visited Manitou. Compare that to August 2010 when 6,272 visitors came to Manitou before fires and floods.

"At first we were scared and kind of frustrated, but it seems to have changed now,” said Chambers.

In the last few weeks, the Visitors Center says Manitou has been busy.

"People who are making their vacation trips taking place now rather than earlier because they don't have children in school and they can enjoy the foliage,” said Chamber of Commerce COO Marcy Morrison.

Soon, visitors will be enjoying the holidays in Manitou despite a very wet summer.

"I think Christmas season is going to be great and even after Christmas season. We're a strong community and we're just moving on,” said Underwood.

"We've pulled through it and I think that's an amazing thing,” said Chambers.

One of Manitou's biggest fall events, “The Coffin Races”, is coming up next weekend (10/26/13) - a big boost for the town's economy.

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