GLEN HAVEN, Colo. (CBS4) – The thin air of a small Colorado town once again carries the sweet smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. The Glen Haven General Store, one of Colorado’s most popular mountain town eateries, enforced social distancing regulations during their opening day Friday.
Owners Steve and Becky Childs told CBS4 they were doing everything possible to have a responsible, and strong financial, year while the nation combats coronavirus.
Though the store has been open for more than 40 years, the past decade has arguably been their most challenging yet. In 2013, historic flood significantly damaged mountain communities between Estes Park and Loveland, including Glen Haven. The town hall was ruined, and many residents were displaced.
In the years to follow, through 2019, the Colorado Department of Transportation worked to repair the roadways and riverbeds damaged by the floods. That construction significantly hindered the Childs’ ability to sell as much product as they were used to.
“This was going to be the first decent year, and now we get (COVID-19,)” Becky Childs told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “We can’t be in business if we don’t have customers.”
The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Jared Polis threatened to handicap the business’ livelihood. As a seasonal company, with hindered profits for year-on-end, the Childs were concerned 2020 sales could plummet to levels not seen since 2013.
However, thanks to relaxed social distancing regulations by Larimer County, The Glen Haven General Store reopened for business Friday morning. Longtime regulars, many of which who live in the area, made their way to the store. A constant flow of people were coming and going from the small business throughout the day.
Those entering were asked to wear masks, though not required to. Customers were also asked to keep 6-foot distances throughout the store, which was marked on the floor. The Childs’ wore masks throughout the workday as a safety precaution. Steve Childs operated the cash register from behind glass protection.
“(Opening day has been) hectic, for one thing. We had no idea if we would be able to open. We stocked and cleaned at the last minute,” Becky Childs said. “I didn’t over stock because we don’t know what the next two weeks will bring. But, based on today, I will need to restock already. It has been a good day for us.”
Though the business brought in by locals is welcomed, Becky Childs urged those comfortable and able to make a trip to Glen Haven and Estes Park. As the co-owner of a company that sees many sales come from tourists, Becky Childs said she was left with concerns about the financial stability of the business in 2020.
“I still have some concern. If out-of-state people aren’t going to be visiting us, will there be enough to keep us busy all summer? Will we have to close early if there is another surge?” Becky Childs said.
Unless the CDC, or Colorado lawmakers, enforce new guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Childs said they were looking forward to operating through September. The business is planned to be open every day of the week, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.