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Some Five Points business owners say they want better planing ahead of festivals


DENVER — Thousands of people are expected to visit Five Points this weekend for the Juneteenth Music Festival, and while organizers and business owners in the area say they’re thrilled to have cultural representation, they’re also wary of what the set-up may bring.

“They kind of, like, shut my business down because they blocked the street to where the customers can’t get in.”

That’s what Larry Benford, owner of Courtesy Auto, said happened during the Jazz Festival.

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Larry Benford – Courtesy Auto

Courtesy Auto during Jazz Festival
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Larry Benford – Courtesy Auto

Courtesy Auto during Jazz Festival

He says an organizer spoke to him at some point during the Jazz Festival and said they’d make sure there was an extra entrance point, but that plan didn’t work out.

“She said, ‘I’ll make you an access to the alley and so they can get in,’ but the problem with that is I did that last year but people from the festival, trying to get in, blocked the alley. They shut me down,” Benford said.

Benford wasn’t the only one who said he had issues with closures and fencing during the Jazz Festival. Joshua Pollack, who owns Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen, said the same.

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Denver7

Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen

“You know for us, the biggest issue outside of letting our customers know… We didn’t have any information on street closures, where they’re gonna be, when they’re gonna be,” Pollack said.

Patricia Yarber, whose family owns My Wine & Spirits Shoppe, said her store was also blocked off with fencing during the Jazz Festival. Although it was done to abide by liquor license laws, she said it disrupted loyal clientele who weren’t taking part in the festival.

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My Wine & Spirits Shoppe

“It’s very frustrating. Yes,” she said. “For us, for our regular customers that are not able to get to not just my store, but all the other stores around here.”

Now, these business owners say they’re wary about the set-up for the Juneteenth Music Festival and hope they don’t have the same impacts they did during the Jazz Festival.

“This weekend, if we don’t come up with a solution, it’s going to be even worse because now I’ll be shut down for three days: Today, which the streets are already blocked off, tomorrow is the parade and the festival, and Sunday,” Benford said.

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Denver7

Juneteenth Music Festival set-up

Business owners also told Denver7 they wish there was more communication with organizers ahead of these events.

“I think it’s great to bring people down to Five Points for these two events. They’re both really momentous occasions. With a little bit more planning and a little bit more communication, we can all make this work for everybody,” Pollack said.

Norman Harris, executive director for the Five Points Business Improvement District, recognizes there were some issues with fencing during the Jazz Festival. He told Denver7 the plan is to avoid that for the Juneteenth Festival.

“I know specifically for Courtesy Auto and Larry, there’s a different plan and the fence contractor should be able to arrange things so he has full access to his property in this business,” he said.

Harris said he hopes to take all of the input and put it to use.

“I think these are all just opportunities for improvement,” he said.

Some Five Points business owners say they want better planing ahead of festivals


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