Saturday, June 4, 2011

Historic Old Town, Fort Collins, CO – Does Having Ghosts Help or Hurt Business?

(***Please note that photos for this post are random Old Town photos taken for their aesthetic qualities and do not necessarily represent those businesses to which we have talked.***)

In the months that Suzy and I have been researching and conducting our Historic Haunted tours, we (mostly Suzy!) have talked to many business-owners downtown in Old Town, Fort Collins, CO. When asked, most of them tell us about their experiences in dealing with unexplained happenings in their store/office. They tell us about what their employees have seen and reported to them too.

 They talk about items in their business being moved overnight while the store is closed and supposedly empty. Items have disappeared, only to reappear again in a few days. They tell us about noises heard by them, employees, customers and guests. Often, they are repeating stories that have been told for years and years in their space. It is common, too, for them to talk of what the previous tenant reported when they took over the space as the new tenant. Many report sightings of ghosts - dressed in the garb of the ghosts’ time.

One establishment, for some time, was unable to be open, according to the stories - during the day - because things unexpectedly and without explanation would fly off the shelves. They were afraid customers would get hit by flying objects. When we started our research for our tours, we talked to the ghosts in that establishment and found the one responsible - and found out why he was throwing things.

It is VERY common to hear these stories in Old Town.

What is even MORE common is the fear that public knowledge of possible hauntings will drive away customers – or that someone will think they are crazy or making it up. Suzy and I are always very respectful of the wishes of business owners. Suzy has asked many owners/managers if we can bring our tours INTO their business to talk about the hauntings. No one has ever agreed to this. Some get downright angry.

I see their point. As a Ghost-Whisperer, I was dealing with ghosts when ghosts weren’t cool. :)

So I know that, these days, ghosts ARE cool – they’re trendy and much sought-after. Many people tour the country (and world) specifically in search of ghost/haunted tours. We have entertained those on our tours who have been on haunted tours all over the planet.  And look at the MANY! ghost-hunter reality series on TV right now – people are hungry for this type of information!

So not only do ghosts NOT run off customers, they currently BRING IN customers! Our tour members want to go to the buildings we include on our tour and go inside them to see if, perhaps, they can see the ghosts! They are going to frequent those establishments more frequently than those NOT on the tour, just because they are curious. They, therefore, are probably going to spend some of their money in those establishments, because they will want to spend as much time in there as possible.
 So while I understand the old stigma of not wanting anyone to know that YOU know that your building is haunted, I would encourage business owners to not only embrace the new understanding and interest in ghosts and hauntings, I would encourage them to USE this knowledge to increase their sales and customer flow.

For example:  Does the Stanley Hotel in nearby tourist attraction Estes Park, CO profit from its reportedly haunted status?  You BET it does! It advertises ghost tours right on its main website! It was made even more popular, because it was used as the setting for Stephen King's book made into a movie, The Shining

I say Fort Collins Old Town businesses should jump on the proverbial haunted/ghost bandwagon and milk it for all it is worth! :) It can only HELP business!

To all of the business in Old Town, I extend my gratitude for all your patience and kindness extended to Suzy and myself. :)


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