By Jamie Leary

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Glenwood Canyon mudslides have taken a major toll on businesses across Garfield County and beyond. For some small businesses in Glenwood Springs, there could be financial relief on the way.

Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded a disaster declaration in Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Routt counties as a result of flooding, mudslides, rockslides and the closure of Glenwood Canyon. Businesses are able to apply through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to offset the cost of this disaster on their business.

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“We took action immediately to help Coloradans impacted by the Glenwood Canyon closures and this additional funding will provide continued support to the small businesses affected by this devastating disaster. I thank our federal partners for fulfilling our request to help us build our roads back better and for their work to provide important relief to our small businesses,” said Polis.

Businesses in Glenwood Springs seemed to be finally coming back after last year’s fire and canyon closure when the mudslide hit their revenue streams once again.

“It definitely had a tremendous impact on our businesses, especially when the closure was first announced. Some of our businesses reported 50% down throughout that initial weekend,” said Angie Anderson, President and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Ken Murphy, owner of the Glenwood Adventure Company, says the closure hit his business during the busiest season. They were 80% down just over the span of the closure.

“We lost our second biggest month of the year, being the month of August,” said Murphy. “Our company, we recreate inside Glenwood Canyon, if we’re not rafting, we’re renting bikes, we’re renting inflatable river toys. We also have Bair Ranch where we do our horseback riding, ATV tours- we couldn’t get to that either so we were basically closed. Shutdown.”

Murphy said people were slow to come back even when the canyon reopened, but he is hopeful the SBA loan will lead to the start of a better season next year.

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“It definitely hurt our company tremendously, and this SBA loan or the possibility of getting it, is very important for our winter months, and the startup of next year because we lost all of that revenue for the month of August which is generally our cash flow for the fall, winter and the upcoming spring season,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

According to a news release from the governor’s office, eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 2.855% for small businesses and 2% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster.

EIDL assistance is available only to small businesses when SBA determines they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. A business may qualify for both an EIDL and a physical disaster loan. The maximum combined loan amount is $2 million.

Murphy says he credits CDOT for the quick work, getting the canyon open as quickly as possible and the town of Glenwood Springs for working with businesses to make sure it was considered for the declaration.

“If it doesn’t fully cover [losses], it’s going to help and the goal is for this to help. This is a great solution to the problem we’re in.”

The Grand Junction Small Business Development Center is offering free, personalized counseling to help affected businesses in their recovery. Businesses may contact the center by emailing frontdesk@gjincubator.org, by calling (970) 243-5242.

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The deadline to apply for these funds through this disaster designation is June 16, 2022.

Jamie Leary