Woman brings Sunshine to south Midland Avenue in Glenwood Springs
Post Independent Intern
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – When one of Janene Schwan’s two kids called her on the phone crying about a rainy ride home on his bike from the recreation center, she comforted him the best she could.
“I’ve turned into a phone mom, and it sucks,” she said bluntly.
Since opening Sunshines Coffee, Deli, and Take and Bake at 3950 Midland Ave. in January, the single-mom life of Schwan, a longtime Glenwood Springs resident, has changed both at home and professionally.
Her daily routine has changed drastically. Instead of getting up early to wake up her kids and prepare them for school, she’s waking up to prepare coffee at the restaurant and then calling home to make sure the kids are up.
She said it is helpful that the restaurant is close to home, in case she has to rush home to get the kids off to school when they don’t get up.
Even at night she’s making a take and bake lasagna for a customer and a sandwich for the kids instead of going out to a restaurant and having someone make some food for her.
Change has also impacted her kids, ages 9 and 11.
“I got a lot of the neighborhood looking after the kids,” she said. “I think the biggest thing for them is more responsibility for doing household things. They have a lot more time with friends now, but I think they’re pretty happy about that.”
As a single mom, Schwan has had to adapt.
“Trying to give 100 percent to two different things is tough,” she said about the restaurant and being a mom. “It’s rare that I cook at home now. I love cooking, but most of my stuff is here. I use the phone more, I try to set times for the kids to be at Sunshines for homework and dinner, and sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t.”
She admitted that some people told her she was crazy for starting a business in the middle of the recession. And there were hesitations, with part of that being time lost with her kids.
“That was a reason I didn’t want to start [a business],” she said. “I had to do something drastic because I didn’t want to leave, but the kids were excited about it.”
Schwan said the idea for a new business came from the common need to survive in this economy.
“I needed to do something to save my house,” she said. “I had no job, no money, so I took what I had and invested it.”
What came out of the investment is a brand new restaurant that serves sandwiches, salads, take-and-bake items, pastries, cake, quesadillas, smoothies, premium coffee and more. They also have a large, brand new, seating area with wi-fi for customers who want to stay at Sunshines to eat.
“I didn’t really want a restaurant but it was fulfilling a need in this area,” she said of the Midland avenue area.
The process has already taken its toll.
“I’m physically beat, I have to have my neck and shoulders worked on, I’m exhausted, it’s only been six months and I have gray hair.”
She said the need for a place to get quality food on Midland Avenue was good enough for her to take a risk in the middle of the recession as a single mom.
Schwan said she was constantly hearing people talk about the need for some form of restaurant in the area next to the Mountain Market gas station and the Cardiff Glen neighborhood near the Glenwood Airport. After a little research she decided to turn the idea into a reality.
“It’s exactly what this area needs,” she said. “Something to accommodate everything, and I threw in the take-and-bake. I talked to [landlord] Dave Rippy, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,’ and then the fun started.”
Despite the life changes, Schwan said she’s already seen some good things.
“Making my customers happy is one of my favorite parts,” she said. “It’s so nice when they appreciate what you’re doing.”
She added that she only used premium ingredients, and tries to keep her menu affordable. She said the people that come once, almost always come back. She plans to continue working hard to get more people from Glenwood Springs to make the short trip down Midland to her business.
“I put way too much effort into it,” she said. “I will make this work.”
She added that the two biggest parts of her life continue to affect each other daily. It’s a conflict that she struggles with.
“The days I want to give up are the days I’m having a bad mom day,” she said. “It’s been really great and really awful.”
Sunshines Deli is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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A restriction on outdoor water use for Glenwood Springs city water customers is in place Saturday night until 8 a.m. Monday following heavy weekend rains over both the Grizzly Creek and Lake Christine burn scars.