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Business Briefs: Hot Springs Lodge’s Chris Welpton recognized as Emerging Hospitality Leader

Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge Assistant Manager Chris Welpton receives his award.
Photography G/Courtesy photo

Chris Welpton, assistant lodge manager at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, was named an Emerging Hospitality Leader at the Colorado Hotel Lodging Association’s (CHLA) Stars f the Industry awards luncheon on Nov. 17 at The Ritz Carlton Denver.

Welpton is responsible for front-of-the-house operations at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, overseeing the front office, reservations, guest services, bellmen, concierge, transportation and night manager.

The Emerging Hospitality Leader Award recognizes an exemplary lodging employee who has demonstrated superior professional dedication, leadership and a fresh perspective to his or her job. Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the CHLA Awards Committee.

“Chris is a true emerging leader,” Hot Springs Resort Human Resources Nate Adams, who nominated Welpton for the award, said in a news release. “He leads the staff with a calm and devoted energy that is infectious. He is not above any task; from moving bags to interviewing candidates, he operates as a true hospitality leader.”

Sopris Lodge at Carbondale names Elise Dreher wellness director

Elise Dreher
Sopris Lodge/Courtesy photo

Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, the Roaring Fork Valley’s newest retirement community, has announced Elise Dreher as its new wellness director.

“In this role, Dreher will oversee Sopris Lodge’s person-centered approach to care, develop cutting-edge wellness programs and deliver supportive services to the assisted living and memory care residents,” a news release states.

A registered nurse for more than 30 years, Dreher has experience in the fields of women’s healthcare, public health and school nursing, the release states. “She is passionate about working with seniors and previously worked in assisted living in the Aspen area.”

New oncologist joins Valley View Hospital

Alexandra Donovan
Valley View Hospital/Courtesy photo

Valley View Hospital recently welcomed Alexandra Donovan, MD, MPH, to the Calaway-Young Cancer Center.

Working both as an oncologist and hematologist, she provides specialized care to patients with a broad spectrum of cancers and blood disorders, according to a news release.

Through her commitment of serving the needs of her patients and the community, Donovan plans to launch a new blood disorder clinic at Valley View, treating patients with clotting disorders, anemia, bleeding disorders and more, the release states.

As a cancer survivor herself and having lost her father to cancer at a young age, Donovan says she appreciates the complex emotional aspect of a cancer diagnosis, and is grateful for the deep relationships she develops with patients during such a sensitive time in life.

“Her goal is to improve quality of life and the overall ‘cancer experience’ for patients and their families, as she helps them navigate the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment options,” according to the release.

Originally from Vail, Donovan brings her husband, Derek, an emergency medicine physician, their two daughters, and her golden retriever to the Roaring Fork Valley. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors all year with her family.

Sims new executive director at PRC

Marylu Sims
The Pregnancy Center/Courtesy photo

The Pregnancy Resource Center announces the hiring of Marylu Sims as executive director. Sims was previously a teacher at Liberty Classical Academy in New Castle, according to a news release.

“It’s a privilege to work with an organization that has such a heart for women and their pregnancy-related needs. I am happy to be a part of the team of dedicated staff and volunteers,” Sims said.

She experienced the assistance of the Pregnancy Resource Center when her family adopted a child with the center’s help. She recognizes that staff and volunteers are often the first people to share the excitement or shock of a woman learning that she is pregnant. She feels privileged that they are invited into a woman’s personal space often before their partner knows that pregnancy is a possibility, the release states.

“What we do at the Pregnancy Center is truly a sacred work,” she said.

For more information on Sims and the Pregnancy Resource Center, contact her at 970-945-5562 or thepregnancycenter@gmail.com.

Bankers’ Hours column: A wife’s income could not be counted for a mortgage

There’s a child care crisis in the U.S., and it will have a significant effect on the economy. It almost certainly is not going to right itself, so the ramifications will permanently change how we live. More specifically, it could be that housing will see a shift across the board.

Queue up nostalgic music and travel back in time to 1961. I was fresh out of the service, and my first job was processing FHA and VA home loans. I worked for one of Denver’s top mortgage bankers, and it was a busy operation, so I might take five or six loan applications, and say that I took 25 apps in a given week. Out of that number, maybe two — and I’m sure never more than three — involved two incomes from husband and wife.

The reasons? First, there were far fewer women in the work force back then. And the ones that were working didn’t count for much. Underwriting and qualification guidelines for both FHA and VA stated that a wife’s income could not be counted in qualifying unless it was incontrovertibly proved that she could not have children — generally a verified statement from a physician.

Single women were not granted home loans. The only exception in my experience over three years in this job was a loan to a 51-year-old practicing psychiatrist.

And our family was able to experience this, more or less, on the other side of the table. My wife and I were married almost immediately after I finished Marine Corps infantry training. It was the best time in 150 years to be in the Corps if you didn’t want to get shot at, so we ended up spending close to three years in southern California. She promptly started looking for work, and was well qualified to do it, but was repeatedly turned down because her husband was in the military, and “these guys get transferred, you know.” She did find work and became a key employee in the business. But we had decided to have the birth of our first child to be covered by Uncle Sam, more specifically at the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital. Her company’s policy was that pregnant women couldn’t work there, and her boss held out as long as he could but reluctantly had to fire her.

Today, all of these activities are statutorily illegal. If the event, or events, are egregious enough, you’re facing some very serious federal legal action and big monetary penalties.

Things began to change in about 1969, slowly at first, and then the snowball began tumbling downhill, culminating with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974. Suddenly, it seemed, the amount of disposable income available to buy a home had increased exponentially. More houses could be built, bigger homes could be bought. This helped make housing an integral part of the high points of the economy for the last 45 years.

A collapsing child care industry means that a lot of workers will not be generating disposable income for home purchases, some temporarily, some, possibly, permanently, albeit on a smaller scale than the great sea change in the early ’70s. I’m not an economist (and I don’t play one) but I have a hunch the effect could be significant economically and socially and even spark longer-term cultural changes. Maybe new homes will be smaller to accommodate lower family incomes. Possibly multifamily units will take on a dramatically more significant role in housing. We’ll see.

What? Oh, why wasn’t the wife’s income counted way back when? The theory was that if the wife got pregnant, she’d quit working, and the loan would immediately become delinquent. My regular readers (I believe there are three of you now) know from the way that I parse ancient history that I’ve been around the lending business for a long time. And I’ve never, ever, in all those years, seen a mortgage go into default because someone had a baby.

Pat Dalrymple is a western Colorado native and has spent more than 50 years in mortgage lending and banking in the Roaring Fork Valley. He’ll be happy to answer your questions or hear your comments. His email is pdalrymple59@gmail.com.

 

As Black Friday comes and goes, Glenwood Springs businesses learn to adapt to supply chain issues

Glenwood Springs Outdoors Assistant Manager Jacob Lawlis restocks flies at the downtown Glenwood shop after a busy Black Friday.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Black Friday in Glenwood Springs isn’t the window-smashing, offer-grabbing, deal-searching affair that it is in other places.

In the city’s smaller businesses, prices aren’t slashed in a mad dash to meet the bottom line. It is, however, aligned with a seasonal transition period that, a year-and-a-half into a global pandemic, has shops making changes to their operations. Sporadic supply chain issues throughout the COVID-19 era have forced retailers to consider their inventory for a longer period, even if their wares aren’t flying off the shelves in a 24-hour capitalistic jamboree.

“It kind of mitigates some of the worry, because you can only worry about one thing for so long,” Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop Retail and Rental Manager Russell Cabe said of supply chain issues. “I don’t know that it’s a challenge, because we already went through it once and maybe a little tougher. So it didn’t really hurt us too much, but it’ll change a little bit how we do business.”

It’s become a theme of ordering early and often. In Cabe’s and Sunlight’s case, supply chain shortages had the biggest impact on the biking season.

Some bikes became difficult to acquire over the summer, but Cabe said they, “were able to do, for the most part, what we wanted.” As biking moves to the offseason, it gives them time to tweak how they control their stock before demand returns.

The answer is ordering the bikes “when they’re ready, rather than trying to get them when we want them.”

Sunlight had its own single-day extravaganza sale on Oct. 30 in the form of a ski and board swap. Cabe said it was the largest single-day sale in store history as pandemic fatigue only increases and people want to return to outdoor activities.

For the winter season, Cabe said Sunlight has seen some delays, particularly in snowboard gear, but hasn’t hit the panic button.

It’s a similar story down the street at Glenwood Springs Outdoors, a business that opened around a month before the pandemic began.

Without a pre-pandemic context to refer to, it enters its second offseason also focused on making sure its shelves remain stocked next summer.

“During offseason, we have more time to think for ourselves,” Glenwood Springs Outdoors Assistant Manager Jacob Lawlis said. “It gives us time to clear our heads and think more about the business.”

Lawlis said they’ve also learned to adapt with the supply chain shortages. Glenwood Springs Outdoors’ strategy is also simply to order more ahead of time.

The store avoided some of the major supply chain issues over the summer, he added. The store had to pay the higher prices for the popular kinds of ammunition such as 9mm that were in short supply, but those rates are starting to come down.

Currently, the shop is focusing on its guided ice fishing services for the winter. From a retail standpoint, the largest concern for shortages is ice fishing rods, which Lawlis expects to last through the majority of the season and hopefully the entirety of it.

He said they’ll pay attention to what their short supply of rods does this season and adjust their offseason ordering next season, even if it means back-stocking and storing for a period of time.

Elizabeth Dean Boutique dealt with a small inventory shortage around September, manager Lindsay Olivas said, but has since emerged out of it and has its racks stocked.

“The owner had to buy, like, an entire runway of clothes that were the ones the models were wearing at one point we were having a little bit of a tiny issue,” Olivas said. “Now, our entire back stockroom is floor-to-ceiling full. We don’t even know what to do with it all.”

The boutique’s staff painted windows and put up decorations on a quiet Black Friday, but the store is in a comfortable spot between summer and winter tourism seasons. They’re ordering in advance of next summer season like other local businesses are.

After a struggle locating inventory in 2020, they changed their methods.

“We learned a lesson last year where we had no inventory to match the season,” Olivas said. “Things are definitely delayed, but it’s not an issue if you adjust to it.”

Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or rallen@postindependent.com.

Incoming brewer taps into Silt

Having just gotten to town, Brew Zone Silt owner Richard Lynch starts unpacking furniture in his new brewery, which is slated to open in late January.
Ray K. Erku/Citizen Telegram

A San Diego-based brewer is uprooting his Southern California tap house and hopping over to a new home.

Richard Lynch, current operator of Brew Zone SD, is in the process of opening a new brewery in downtown Silt. The Philadelphia-born brewmeister plans to offer small-batch, non-filtered craft beers accompanied by a food truck dishing out authentic sirloin-sliced Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

Called Brew Zone Silt, soon patrons will be able enjoy a smorgasbord of fare in an ambiance a kitty-corner to your average hipster hangout. The brewery is slated to open in late January.

Lynch, a 52-year-old former Pennsylvania firefighter and construction manager superintendent turned brewer, plans to construct a more rustic, blue-collar interior.

Police, firefighter and military memorabilia will be a common sight.

“You can call it a dive brewery if you want,” he said Friday, just days before hitting the road to Colorado.

Beer, of course, is a big deal in Colorado, and the Roaring Fork Valley boasts its fair share of breweries. Using a freezer-full of more than 50 varieties of hops, however, Lynch intends to offer 30 different recipes to the thirsty beer lovers of Western Garfield County.

Most creations are made with fresh fruit, no chemicals and no clarifiers, Lynch said.

This is partly why Lynch decided to migrate east. Not only have big brewers essentially cornered So Cal’s market, their large scale operations have shrunk what used to be vast, diverse beer menus.

As a smaller brewer, Lynch is unencumbered by budget caps and is free to incorporate more ingredients into one single batch.

“In San Diego, the small business market is dead here. If you don’t have a restaurant, if you don’t have food, it’s just not a big thing here anymore in California,” Lynch said. “The craft is gone. It’s all about show. Going to a place like Silt, they haven’t enjoyed the craft yet.”

The sign for Brew Zone Silt on an exterior wall of the new brewery.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

But Lynch’s great California beer exodus is also fueled by fortuity.

Lynch said he eventually fell in love with the mountains while working in the area as a contractor and began planning to uproot his life.

“I always said if I had to leave San Diego, it’d be for the mountains of Colorado,” Lynch said.

Lynch has so far obtained a special use permit to operate within city limits, which the town trustees voted to approve Monday.

Lynch is approved for a brewery, as well as an on-site bottling and packaging facility inside the former Skip’s Market, a corner grocery store that closed in 2020.

Its site plan shows a small service bar area, about 16 interior seats and possibly a future 400-square-foot seating area on the second floor. In addition, the outdoor patio section will likely be open year-round.

To-go growlers are also allowed.

“The (Silt trustees), planners, everybody involved in the city has been amazing, and I really want to give them the credit,” Lynch said. “I love how their arms were so open and made it easy. They didn’t even judge me for being from California.”

The new brewery is set to join a growing commercial scene in the otherwise unassuming main drag of Silt.

Just this past year in fact, the town saw at least three new small businesses emerge: a funeral home next door to the taproom’s proposed site, a crystal and candle shop and a small grocery right down the street.

Silt Town Manager Jeff Layman agrees this is a sign that Silt is more and more becoming a happening place, as more newly established businesses help attract even more prospective enterprises.

Brew Zone Silt owner Richard Lynch.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“I think there’s no doubt about it. The brewery will help fill the businesses we already have,” he said. “You can pop in there for a beer and a sandwich, you might pop into another store. We’re going to need to build more buildings.”

Layman said Lynch’s final stop in the permitting process is obtaining zoning permission to build, including a run through with the community development department over landscaping and fencing plans.

Once all paperwork is finalized, the city will be anxious to simply get the place open, Layman said.

“I will definitely be in there tasting the beer,” he said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.

Ever-busy food banks challenged by rising food prices and increased demand

A teleprompter at the s-curves on Main Street in Aspen advertises for a High Society LIFT-UP food drive at the Aspen Police Department on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Rising food and gas prices, a labor shortage and housing crisis, increased demand from families for meals — they all can place extra stress on food banks serving the Roaring Fork Valley. But those charitable organizations will still be feeding people during one of the busiest times of the year, Thanksgiving Day and the upcoming holiday season.

“LIFT-UP does have sufficient food to meet food insecurity demands for this year’s Thanksgiving,” said Ivan Jackson, executive director of Rifle-based LIFT-UP, in an email responding to questions from The Aspen Times.

Like other food banks, Rifle-based LIFT-UP, which has a pantry at 465 N. Mill St. in Aspen, has seen rising demand for food distribution since the pandemic. The organization’s mission, in summary, is “to end food insecurity from Aspen to Parachute.”

“Food insecurity is not a problem that is going away and continues to have a direct impact on a wide and varied proportion of our community,” Jackson said.

People who previously might have not used food banks turned to their services due to financial struggles brought on by pandemic. Some of those people might already have had money problems that were exacerbated by the pandemic; others were hit in the wallet after it struck. Those are observations from Sue Ellen Rodwick, the Western Slope director of Food Bank of the Rockies, which is funded with state and federal dollars, as well as donations.

“Before the pandemic, we were not reaching people who needed food in that region. And we knew that, and we were working on how to do a better job of that,” she said, noting from the pandemic emerged people and families needing help the organization hadn’t known about previously.

“Now people didn’t feel the stigma of receiving food,” she said. “And we were finally serving people who needed food all along.”

LOCAL FOOD PANTRY SOURCES

LIFT-UP

* Hours subject to change by month. Mobile distribution sites also available. Call 970-625-4496 for the latest schedule and locations.

Glenwood Springs, 1004 Grand Ave.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays

Carbondale, Third Street Center

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays

New Castle, 126 N. Fourth St.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays

Rifle, 800 Railroad Ave.

Hours: 2-4 p.m. Fridays

Parachute (mobile distribution only), 201 E. First St.

Hours: 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays

Aspen Pantry, 465 N. Mill St., across from Clark’s Market

Hours: 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays; noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays

— Buttermilk Food Truck

Hours: 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays; noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays

More info: LIFTUP.org

Food Bank of the Rockies

To find food: 303-371-9250

To help Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies: 970-464-1138 or 877-953-3937

More info: FoodBankRockies.org

Since the pandemic, the greatest increase in demand for the services of Food Bank of the Rockies, which covers all of Wyoming and about half of Colorado, has come from the Western Slope, Rodwick said.

The 15% increase is “the highest in our entire distribution region,” she said. “It’s higher than Wyoming and in other parts of northern Colorado. And I’m sure it’s because of the sustained need between Aspen and Parachute.”

Demand isn’t the only thing increasing. So are food prices. Since last year at this time, beef is up 27%, the price of vegetable oil has risen 54% and canned fruit 30%, Rodwick said, noting shipping and freight costs have gone up 25%.

“Nowadays we’re spending triple the amount on purchased food than in 2019,” she said, noting that demand was compounded after the Farmers to Families Food Box Program was discontinued in May. The program had been administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and delivered a reported 133 million boxes of food in 2020.

Supply chain woes that have hurt other parts of the country have yet to greatly impact LIFT-UP or Food Bank of the Rockies.

“Thankfully, we’re not seeing major supply shortages, so that’s been good, but the items are costing more,” Rodwick said.

Jackson said: “Any increases in food costs have a direct financial impact on the services that LIFT-UP provides, as we have to purchase food to supplement food that is donated to us. Supply-chain problems have as yet not caused significant problems, but I can see that if the issues continue, the problem could become more severe.”

LIFT-UP relies on donated food, Jackson said, but the organization must buy food, as well. LIFT-UP also plans to distribute gift cards to people so they can purchase food during the holiday season.

There is also the organization’s Farm to Food Pantry Program, which is an alliance with 26 farmers and ranchers who produced 20,000 pounds of food and 900 dozen locally sourced eggs in 2021, said Jackson, noting the nonprofit’s goal is to raise $300,000 to increase the amount of food it sources through the program in 2022.

Jackson touts the program as “supporting and growing local agriculture as a source of nutritious, culturally responsive food, that serves those experiencing food insecurity while strengthening and sustaining the local economy.”

Jackson and Rodwick said though demand initially fueled by the pandemic has waned, it remains high. Jackson also said food insecurity locally can be attributed to numerous factors, including a scarcity of housing and low wages. LIFT-UP currently serves 1,500 households and 3,000 people a month, he said.

“At the height of the pandemic, LIFT-UP experienced over a 600% increase in food insecurity demands,” he said. “The level of demand for food is still high due to a number of reasons, which include the continuation of fallout of the pandemic, lack of housing within the community, cost of housing within the community, which in turn both lead to increased transportation costs to and from work.

“Many of the employment opportunities within the community do not pay a livable wage to allow people to live close to Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale.”

LIFT-UP, working with Food Bank of the Rockies and aided by Aspen Family Connections, Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Community Foundation, and a group of steady volunteers, has been running a mobile drive-thru pantry to help individuals and families since the pandemic. Its Aspen Chapel location is now open Wednesdays.

LIFT-UP also has operated a food pantry at Buttermilk on the second and fourth Wednesdays of November.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

All aboard for Rocky Mountaineer’s last run of 2021

The Rocky Mountaineer waits to depart from the Glenwood Springs Amtrak Station for its final ride of the season on Friday morning.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

With the final run completed Friday, the Rocky Mountaineer is celebrating a successful first season in the U.S. and making plans for 2022, a company spokesperson said.

“I feel like we’ve had a great season,” said Jus Smith, the Rocky Mountaineer station manager for Glenwood Springs. “The Mountaineer put a lot of research into where to debut their U.S. runs, and I think it paid off so well when they chose the route through Glenwood Springs.”

The train company specializes in luxury tourism and has transported travelers across the Canadian Rocky Mountains for about 30 years. The Mountaineer’s first U.S. line opened in August.

Rocky Mountaineer employees and Glenwood Springs residents wave to passengers on the final departure of the season on Friday morning.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

A two-day journey from Denver to Moab, Utah, with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Smith said the train typically accommodates about 200 passengers. At the peak of operations in September, however, she said additional cars were added to haul more than 300 passengers through the sweeping vistas in Colorado and Utah.

“Glenwood Canyon, Ruby Canyon and Gore Canyon are all very popular with the passengers,” Smith said. “But honestly, we get a mix of feedback. Some really like the mountain views between here and Denver, and others prefer the desert landscape closer to Moab.”

Passengers wait to depart from the Glenwood Springs Amtrak station for the final ride of the season on Friday morning.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Throughout the season, Mountaineer averaged two round trips a week through the Colorado Rockies, stopping in Glenwood eight times throughout. The trip from Denver to Glenwood Springs takes about eight hours, and passengers stay the night at various lodging establishments, including the Hotel Colorado, Hotel Denver and Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge. After leaving Glenwood Springs the following morning, passengers journey for five hours to Moab, Utah.

“It’s a daylight journey, and this year, we learned running into November isn’t ideal, because we start to lose the light,” Smith said.

The route is slated to run between April and October in 2022, she said.

As a way of thanking the Glenwood Springs community for welcoming the passengers with wave parties throughout the year, Mountaineer hosted a drawing for a free one-way ride on the train line in 2022, which was awarded to longtime Glenwood resident Sheila Markowitz.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community, and Glenwood has been so amazingly supportive,” Smith said.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Gov. Jared Polis awards Glenwood Springs tourism stimulus efforts

People meander through the Glenwood Springs downtown market on a summer day in Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Visit Glenwood Springs’ implementation of a tourism stimulus program in 2020 received recognition Nov. 4 from Colorado’s top official.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s tourism department, Visit Glenwood Springs, was announced as the 2020 winner of the Governor’s Outstanding Tourism Initiative, a news release stated.

“We were thrilled,” said Lisa Langer, the Visit Glenwood Springs tourism promotion director. “We had some tough competition this year.”

Specifically, the Glenwood Gold Visitor Stimulus Initiative caught Gov. Jared Polis’ attention, Langer said.

The program, which ran from July 1-Nov. 30, offered visitors $100 in local currency — Glenwood Gold — if they booked a two-night stay and checked in between Sunday and Thursday.

“The stimulus campaign was about bringing visitors to Glenwood safely by spreading out the impact of visitation to the days with typically the least bookings,” Langer said.

Funded through tourism promotion reserves and matched by the Garfield County Commission with CARES ACT funding, the initiative provided visitors with $100,000 to spend at local retailers, attractions and lodging establishments, the news release stated.

“We really needed to make sure the dollars stayed local as a way to boost the economy during the pandemic, then following the Grizzly Creek Fire (in August 2020),” Langer said. “We heard from restaurants and retailers how easy it was to use, and many businesses said it helped keep their doors open.”

While some businesses have signed on to the Glenwood Gold program since, she said the bulk of the current program participants joined during the stimulus initiative.

A large group of people deboard the westbound California Zephyr train at the Amtrak station in downtown Glenwood.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Currently, Glenwood Gold owners can spend their currency at 18 retailers, 27 restaurants, seven lodging establishments, four attractions and 12 services outside the tourism industry, such as dentists and car dealerships, Langer said.

Go to www.glenwoodchamber.com for a complete list of participants.

During the Nov. 4 tourism awards ceremony, Colorado Tourism Board chair Courtney Frazier praised tourism offices throughout Colorado for their efforts to keep local economies thriving in 2020.

“The last 18 months have been a trying time for the tourism and hospitality industry,” Frazier said in the news release. “Our industries continue to rebound and adapt to new ways of doing business. I am encouraged by the tenacity and work of our many industry partners.”

Langer said the recognition reaffirmed her department’s approach to keeping Glenwood Springs tourism strong through the worst of times.

“The award validates that the stimulus idea is what we were shooting for, an innovative initiative to help uplift the community in a time of need,” she said.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Hotel Denver, one other Glenwood lodge sold to Aspen-based hospitality investor

The Hotel Denver in downtown Glenwood Springs, owned by April and Steve Carver for the past 30 years, sold last week for $15 million.
John Stroud/Post Independent

This story has been updated from the original web version published on Sunday to include comments from new hotels owner Tony Sherman.

––

Longtime Glenwood Springs hotel owners April and Steve Carver closed last week on the sale of the Hotel Denver and one other Glenwood lodge in which they were partners.

Closing took place Nov. 9 on the sale of the Hotel Denver in downtown Glenwood for $15 million to Aspen investor Tony Sherman, who owns Terrapin Investments.

Sherman also purchased the Hotel Glenwood Springs, located at the base of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park tram, for $9 million. The Carvers were in partnership with other investors in that property.

Terrapin also owns the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties in Glenwood Springs, and the Best Western Eagle.

“I’m a big fan of Glenwood Springs. Its tourism is extremely strong, and I think that will continue, so I have wanted to own more hotel rooms there,” Sherman said in a Monday phone interview.

Sherman added that he plans a major renovation of the Hotel Denver lobby and guest room upgrades.

“We plan to fully renovate and reimagine the lobby, and make it the Glenwood Springs version of the Hotel Jerome,” he said of the iconic Aspen hotel. “We’ll keep the charm and feel of the hotel, but modernize it.”

For the Carvers, the dual sales signal the close of 30 years in the Glenwood Springs hotel business.

They bought the Hotel Denver in August 1991 and made some major renovations with April at the helm as hotel manager while Steve worked as a CPA with Dalby, Wendland & Co. He retired from there in June 2018.

The iconic Hotel Denver on Seventh Street in downtown Glenwood Springs sold last week for $15 million.
John Stroud/Post Independent

The Carvers helped open the adjacent Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub in 1996 and retain their share of ownership in that business along with Jim and Bill Carver (no relation), who own Carver Brewing in Durango.

“It’s been great,” Steve Carver said in a Sunday interview. “We bought the Hotel Denver when Seventh Street was kind of run down and not really the place to go. After a slow transformation, it’s been a healthy business.”

Along the way, they rebuilt the former Rex Hotel on the corner of Seventh and Blake to the east and turned it into the Denver Centre, which now houses Simply Massage and other businesses. The Carvers have also been instrumental in helping facilitate the recent Seventh Street renovations.

The Hotel Denver also underwent a makeover from the former brass-fixtured atrium with its throwback formica ceilings, into a boutique hotel that has become a mainstay in Glenwood’s tourism economy.

Both the Hotel Denver and Hotel Glenwood Springs have 72 rooms.

The Hotel Glenwood Springs, situated at the base of the Glenwood Caverns Gondola.
John Stroud/Post Independent

The Carvers entered into partnership along with Glenwood Caverns owners Steve Beckley and other investors in building what’s now known as the Hotel Glenwood Springs in 2002 when the tram was being built. It operated under the AmericInn chain until 2013, when they decided to make it an independently owned lodge.

Sherman said on Monday that he plans to add a small restaurant/bar in addition to other lobby upgrades at the Hotel Glenwood Springs.

The Carvers still retain ownership of the Redstone Castle, which also is listed for sale for more than $19 million after the Carvers purchased it in 2016 for $2.2 million. They made several million dollars more in renovations there, including reopening guest rooms for overnight stays, before putting on the market in September 2020.

The Castle is closed to guests and tours for a second consecutive winter season, partly due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Steve Carver said Sunday.

If it hasn’t sold by spring, they plan to reopen it, he said. The Carvers currently live at the Castle, which is more formally known as Cleveholm Manor, built by coal mining baron John Cleveland Osgood in the late 19th century.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Supply chain woes mean Colorado’s vast market of outdoors goods are more expensive, stuck on boats and even looking different

Greg Fisher scans inventory in Wheel Pros' Denver supply warehouse. Oct. 27, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

There are millions of dollars of camping equipment and apparel stuck on ships sitting in a harbor right now. That’s a big part of the reason the company Kelty — known for its backpacks and sleeping bags — will be raising prices later this month.

Problems in the global supply chain are creating big headaches for businesses — and for shoppers who are dealing with long waits and higher prices.

No industry has been spared, and that includes the vast market for outdoor recreation equipment. Coloradans should be prepared to pay a little more for gear when heading to the mountains for the foreseeable future.

Russ Rowell oversees Kelty and a number of other outdoor brands for Broomfield-based Exxel Outdoors. He said retailers had to absorb some of the recent shockwaves in order to keep prices manageable.

“If we were to pass on the full breadth of the impact … I don’t believe consumers would be camping anymore,” Rowell said.

Starting Nov. 15, the price of a Kelty camping chair will go from $109 to $139, he said.

The making of a supply chain traffic jam

The logjam started with a surge in demand for goods from people stuck at home during the pandemic, according to Randy White, the CEO of Wheel Pros, a Greenwood Village-based company that designs and manufactures specialized wheels, including those used on Jeeps and SUVs for driving off-road.

Supply chain snags have only continued to get worse, he said.

“It’s like once somebody steps on the brakes in traffic and all of a sudden you have hundreds of cars backed up on I-70. … It’s a chain reaction all the way through the system,” White said.

The network that gets stuff from point A to point B is a global web of ports and highways, ships and trucks and planes. And, of course — people. There are countless ways for things to go wrong. But up until recently, things mostly got to where they needed to be, when they needed to be there.

These days, there are hiccups every step of the way. For example, a COVID-19 case could shut down a port in Asia. Finally, it opens back up and ships leave, but when they get to the U.S., the ports are clogged. On top of that, there might not be enough workers to move the cargo after it’s unloaded.

It can start with simply getting goods aboard a ship, according to Steve Hoogendoorn, cofounder at Yeti Cycles, a mountain bike manufacturer in Golden. His shop booked space on a ship that never materialized.

“They call them ghost sailings, when they just don’t actually show up,” Hoogendoorn said.

The time it takes to get a shipment from Asia to his workshop in Golden has quadrupled, and it can be as long as four months, he said.

Shipping costs are skyrocketing, because everybody is desperate to get their products, and forced to pay whatever it takes. Before the pandemic, it cost between $1,500 to $2,000 to get a container from Asia, according to White. In September, it was $15,000, he said.

Now, even the products have to adapt

The various hold-ups are even changing the products themselves.

Dave Bombard owns Bishop, a two-person operation out of Edwards that handcrafts bindings for Telemark skiing. It’s an intricate process, involving roughly 60 parts, Bombard said. For one critical component, Bombard was using a particular thickness of sheet metal.

“This is the part that basically holds the boot in. … It is kind of the key. This one part holds the heel of the boot to the binding,” he said.

He ended up having to redesign the binding when his supplier told him he wasn’t going to get the material in time for winter. Bombard raised his prices by 10 percent.

Bishop designs skis, too. In an ominous sign for how long the problems will drag on, Bombard recently received word that he’ll need to cut next year’s order for skis by 20 percent due to the potential for ongoing material shortages.

Hoogendorn of Yeti says his company is thinking about ways they can source more of what they need domestically.

“The most basic way for it to get solved is for demand to drop off, for us to stop buying as much product … from Asia,” he said.

The kinks in the supply chain go way beyond outdoor equipment. Prices are going up everywhere — from the grocery store to the gas pump. The supply chain isn’t the only thing driving inflation, but it’s definitely making things worse.

Rowell of Exxel said his company waited as long as they could to raise prices, especially because camping is seen as an affordable vacation option. With everything getting so expensive, some families have tough choices to make when it comes to money.

“They’re not going to spend it on camping goods when they have to buy milk,” Rowell said.

Carbondale sales up nearly 32%; 2022 budget reflects positive trend

Customers come and go at Sopris Liquor and Wine in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

A consumer shift to online purchasing during the pandemic helped to drive a big increase in retail sales for the town of Carbondale as it prepares to up town spending by $6.7 million for 2022.

Carbondale closed out the third quarter of 2021 riding a 31.8% increase in sales tax collections over 2020, according to the town’s latest sales tax figures.

Through nine months of the year, the town had already collected almost $4.9 million in sales taxes — well on the way to exceeding the $5.2 million in sales taxes generated for all of last year.

Much of that increase has been in the general retail category, where Carbondale and other municipalities in Colorado are now benefiting from sales tax collected for online purchases by town residents.

“Online sales being reported through the state portal continues to increase and capture revenue,” Interim Town Manager Kevin Schorzman and town Finance Director Renae Gustine noted in a Sept. 28 memo to the town’s Board of Trustees. “We are currently estimating a 30% increase over 2020 for the 2021 sales tax collections end-of-year revenues.”

Since that memo was written — based on numbers through August — sales across the board, from general retail to food, restaurants, liquor and marijuana purchases, have only continued to outperform 2020.

Through the end of September, general retail sales had brought in $1.4 million (compared to $823,297 through nine months of 2020); retail food sales generated $1.2 million (up from $940,189); restaurants and bars brought in $540,467 (up from $452,481); and liquor and marijuana sales generated $587,523 (up from $530,511).

A large chunk of those sales totals came during the third quarter alone, signaling a strong summer season for Carbondale.

2022 town budget under review

Despite the expected huge sales tax revenue increase to close out this year, the town is still basing next year’s budget on a 5% increase in sales taxes in 2022.

“We will continue to monitor and refine revenues and expenditures during the budget process,” Schorzman and Gustine advised in the September memo. Final budget approval is slated for Dec. 14.

Combining sales taxes with projected increases in other revenue sectors, Carbondale is in the process of reviewing a proposed $29.76 million 2022 budget — a marked increase over this year’s $23 million budget.

General fund spending under the proposed budget presented at the Oct. 12 trustees meeting would increase from a little over $7.9 million this year to about $8.95 million in 2022.

Capital projects also stand to see a sizable increase in spending, from $925,000 this year to about $2.5 million in 2022.

Many of the big-ticket capital improvements projects on the slate are geared toward transportation. Among them: implementation of the Eighth Street bike lane plan, at a cost of $500,000; initial paving of the town-owned parking lot at Fourth and Colorado, $275,000; and regular street maintenance, $215,000.

The town’s separate water utility fund is also looking at a boost in expenditures next year, from $1.8 million this year to $4.5 million in 2022.

Several even-bigger-ticket improvements and one major new amenity still loom on the horizon though not likely to be budgeted until 2023 at the soonest. They include a new town pool and bathhouse ($7 million to $8 million); a new roundabout at Colorado Highway 133 and Industry Place ($2.5 million); and extension of Industry Place to Eighth Street ($2 million).

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.