FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The oldest bar in Fort Collins will survive at least until the summer thanks to thousands of donors. The Town Pump, a staple of Old Town Fort Collins for more than 112 years, received more than $80,000 in donations in just two days of fundraising on GoFundMe.
Owner Jake Latendresse told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas he was close to shutting down the historic bar for good as a result of financial burdens imposed by COVID-19’s economic impact.
“We were running on fumes,” Latendresse said. “We were down 80%.”
Latendresse said the Town Pump, a small bar on the north end of the Old Town strip, survived recessions, both world wars and even prohibition. However, the restrictions imposed on bars by Gov. Jared Polis deeply undercut his company’s ability to be profitable.
“If we were ringing in $200 a day, we were lucky to do that,” Latendresse said.
Some staff members went without any compensation while trying to navigate the difficulties of 2020. During the summer months, when more people were willing to be served outdoors, Latendresse said the company was able to stay afloat. However, with more restrictions imposed during a cold weather period, The Pump almost fell victim to the pandemic.
“It just got to a point where it couldn’t survive anymore,” Latendresse said. “We were probably two weeks from closing.”
Latendresse said he was trying his best to manage his business without asking for help on social media. However, in a last-ditch effort to save his business he posted an emotional video online and started a fundraising campaign.
“What happened yesterday was unbelievable,” Latendresse said.
With donations coming in from around the world, Latendresse said his company will be able to back-pay some employees and also stay open for months to come.
“We did not realize how powerful that was going to be,” Latendresse said. “It almost felt like people felt like they owned the Town Pump or something based on memories they had.”
Latendresse said he did not recognize a significant majority of the names on the donor list, but was gracious for what each of them did to help save his business.
“Thank you so much, it was unbelievable,” Latendresse said. “You’re going to make me cry. I can’t even talk about it, the support was so overwhelming. It was an incredible experience; I will never forget it.”
Latendresse said he would like to donate any excess funds they may have to neighboring small businesses.