WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – As the Colorado legislature wraps up a special session that will distribute millions of dollars to Colorado businesses, one group is being left out of the stimulus: new businesses. Senate Bill 1 from the special session has stipulations for how $57 million can be passed out to restaurants, artists, venues and more, but businesses that opened after March 26 can’t get a single penny.
“It does for sure feel unfair, but I’m not going to make a pity party here,” said Eddie Renshaw, a co-owner of the King of Wings restaurant in Wheat Ridge. “We had already spent all this money, all of our money really, so we had to just go all in. Thank God for online ordering and our phone system for our phone orders because that has really helped us get through.”
King of Wings began as a food truck about six years ago. The cult-like following and constant sellouts propelled Renshaw and his partner to look toward a restaurant. They started looking for locations in early 2019.
Federal assistance like the Paycheck Protection Program, loans, or even most grants are set up so that businesses show a loss of revenue from before the pandemic.
“We weren’t even able to apply for that (PPP) unfortunately because we had no payroll set up at the time because we were in the middle of building this place out which is when the whole pandemic happened. We could have totally used it. We had to sell our food truck just to make ends meet to keep this thing rolling,” Renshaw said. “It’s tough to see some of the bigger businesses get some of those monies but then us small guys can’t get any of that. But we’re working around it. Thanks to all of our loyal customers.”
One state lawmaker told CBS4 the legislature did all it could with the state’s limited resources and acknowledge it wasn’t going to be able to help every business.
King of Wings opened near Wadsworth Boulevard and 44th Avenue on June 20. The new restaurant faced the same restrictions and could only have 50% capacity. Now it’s closed to indoor dining as well. The best Renshaw can hope for is a small grant from the city of Wheat Ridge to help cover some payroll.
“There wasn’t much we could do other than just keep plugging along and get open and start selling wings really. We’ve spent lots of money putting into this place and then trying to pass inspections, and it just seems like we’re in a group that doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “We’ll never give up. This is our dream. This is everything we’ve built.”