Glenwood Springs businesses continue to sacrifice as pandemic passes the one year mark
Some businesses in Glenwood Springs have had little to celebrate over the last year, and the owners of Goofballs Party Store are no exception.
Graduations, birthday parties, weddings, Quinceañeras, festivals and all other gatherings were postponed or cancelled due to social distancing requirements and restrictions on public gatherings, leaving Randy and Bj DeHerrera’s party supply business decimated.
Randy DeHerrera said his store’s revenue dropped by 80% since March 2020.
Other than a small sum from the Paycheck Protection Program, the DeHerrera’s applications for COVID-19 relief grants were denied.
“We didn’t get very much. We applied for a lot of them. But we didn’t get a whole lot of help,” Randy said. The paycheck protection amount totaled $2,700, which covered the wage for one employee for 2.5 months.
The Deherreras worked at their store but weren’t considered employees, so they weren’t eligible to cover their paychecks through the program.
“We used credit cards and our own personal savings just to stay afloat and try to keep our doors open,” Randy said.
Considered non-essential by the state of Colorado, the store was forced to shut their doors to customers — leaving the Deherreras with no incoming revenue for months.
“Our rent and nothing else changed. Our bills all remained due,” Randy said.
“I did notify the City of Glenwood’s economic development people that we’re probably going to be closing our doors,” Randy recalled.
BJ said the last year has been “very, very, very challenging” for her and her husband.
As restrictions ease in Colorado and Glenwood Springs, sales have slightly picked up.
Both BJ and Randy have full-time jobs outside of the store, which has been instrumental in keeping their business from going under.
With the real possibility that COVID-19 infections could increase and cause restrictions to be enforced once more, Randy hopes government officials should prioritize small business owners with few employees.
“I think making the grants more available to the small business owner as opposed to the large corporations, I’m talking ‘Mom and Pop’. I’m not talking about Wal-Mart or Target. But they gotta stay open while we had to close,” Randy said.
Another business sacrificed revenue to help mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.
Glenwood Canyon Brewpub owners and employees went even further and willingly stayed closed longer than other restaurants.
“We had made the decision collectively among the owners that we were going to be a solution to the problem,” said Todd Malloy, director of brewing.
“We really didn’t want to mess around to get orders, either. With our size restaurant, it just wasn’t worth opening it for that.”
Malloy said the brewery’s staff makes sure to keep themselves updated on the latest health guidelines and recommendations on a daily basis.
“We follow the Colorado Restaurant Association. Then there’s the county differences. I would say on the safety side of things we’re always just a little more cautious than our other colleagues in town. We definitely want to be on the safe side,” Malloy said.
The brewery did end up furloughing employees, which Malloy said was very tough to do.
From March 16, 2020 through June 2020 the brewery remained closed.
A limited menu and additional outside patio seating allowed the brewery to reopen at limited capacity.
“As we see the restrictions come down we’ll be able to allow more people inside,” Malloy said optimistically. “We are going to do a revamp on the menu and I want to say that’s going to roll out mid April. I’m not sure how big that’ll be. It’ll depend on what happens with the restrictions.”
Malloy said even when restrictions are lifted, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company will take a cautious and conservative approach.
“It’s slow as we go for sure. I feel like we’re super fortunate to still be here,” he said.
To help allow for more social distancing, the brewery is bringing in a canning system in July to push beer sales out the door.
“We’re kind of moving away from the growlers and crowlers and moving towards the can format,” Malloy said.
The restaurant will also be focusing on rebuilding the staff.
“We did lose some servers too that never came back, we have had a little bit of a tough time staffing,” Malloy said.
“They want to come back and work in the restaurants now. But there’s still a fear factor where people aren’t quite sure of working on the frontlines of customer service,” Malloy said.
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