Shopping for gifts is a big part of the holiday season for many Americans. Buy locally is a seasonal mantra. However, Falcon or Peyton residents have few options to buy gifts locally.|
Dave Ahrens, president of the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce, said there are a few shopping possibilities, but “Falcon is still considered a bedroom community.”
“People work and buy everything in Colorado Springs, but they live in Falcon,” Ahrens said. “The problem is that the mom and pop shops cannot compete with corporate America.”
While Falcon and Peyton are growing, the area is not yet profitable for many retailers, he said.
Popular retail shops like hardware stores or specialty clothing stores have yet to set up house in Falcon, but there are a few nice shops in the area that provide unique opportunities for gifts for the holiday season, Ahrens said.
Don Cronkhite owns The Prairie Jeweler in Falcon at the corner where McLaughlin Road turns into Old Meridian Road. He said he kicks off every holiday season by hand-making yellow and white gold snowflake jewelry. Cronkhite said he aims to make 15 sets, consisting of a pair of snowflake earrings and a snowflake necklace, and because each snowflake is hand-made, no two are alike.
“It is extremely labor-intensive,” Cronkhite said. “They take about one hour each to make. I start working on them in November, and they are all gone by Christmas.”
As a master goldsmith for the past 40 years, Cronkhite said he is mainly self-taught and cannot recall a single unhappy customer. The Prairie Jeweler has been in Falcon for 15 of the 30 years that Cronkhite has lived in eastern El Paso County.
Joyce Sawke owns Plush Lady Consignment, next to the UPS store in Falcon. She opened her shop Nov. 17. Originally from Africa, Sawke said she and her family moved to Falcon in December 2016 because of her husband’s job with the military.
The space Plush Lady now occupies had been unavailable for a long time, but Sawke said she would drive past the store and pray that someday she would be able to bring her dream of a consignment store to the location.
“I love consignment,” she said. “There is nothing like this out here, and I had been doing consignment from home, so I thought maybe now was the time to follow my passion.”
Sawke said she is hopeful the holiday season will bring in the locals.
Situated inside Plush Lady Consignment is another one-of-its-kind-in-Falcon shop: The Fig Tree Judaica. Owned by Mike and Maria Schoening, The Fig Tree is a nonprofit organization that specializes in a variety of religious resources.
“This is the only place south of Denver that is a Jewish resource,” Mike Schoening said. The shop carries an array of items, including Bibles, local artwork, kosher essential oils, items directly from Jerusalem and holiday items, he said.
For residents who live in Peyton and further east, there is a new row of retail shops along Front Street that provides an opportunity for small-town locally owned holiday shopping. The four shops together held a “Small Town Christmas” event Nov. 18 to kick off the holiday season.
Lisa Kane, owner of Haley J’s Boutique, offered a discount for shoppers who brought in toys for her Christmas Unlimited donation box.
Peyton Junction Mercantile, owned by Shirley Archuletta, featured an essential oil demonstration, live music played by local artists and a visit from Santa.
Lindsay Kawakami, owner of Lindsay’s Cottage, provided glasses of free wassail for shoppers as they browsed her inventory, and Frankie Jean’s offered refreshments at the door as customers headed inside to check out owner Starla Baker’s selection of one-of-a-kind items made by local and national artists.
Glenna Harrison, a Falcon resident, attended the Small Town Christmas event. “I really enjoyed browsing and shopping at the Small Town Christmas in Peyton,” Harrison said. “Having lived in Falcon over 19 years, it is wonderful to now have a closer-to-home option for finding unique gifts and baked goods.”
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On Nov. 7, voters in El Paso County passed ballot measure 1A, which allows the county to retain and spend $14,548,000 in excess 2016 revenue to invest in a selection of infrastructure projects, including improvements to parks, trails and open space. Part of those funds will go toward making repairs to Drake Lake in Falcon.|
As reported in the October issue of “The New Falcon Herald,” the northwest embankment of Drake Lake (off Mallard Drive) had been breached because of heavy rains in the summer. Sandbags and a tarp served as a temporary reinforcement to keep the lake from draining, until a more permanent solution could be determined.
The county held an informational meeting at the lake Sept. 20 to discuss the status of the temporary repairs and get feedback from the community about ideas for future improvements.
Tim Wolken, director of the EPC community services department, said the county will take a portion of the funds from ballot measure 1A to complete the construction of a formalized spillway from the current embankment breach.
“The improvement will be helpful to maintain a consistent water level in the lake,” Wolken said.
The county’s next steps will be to create plans and specifications for the spillway, then obtain a contractor to complete the work, he said.