By Alan Gionet

SUPERIOR, Colo. (CBS4)– Things were quiet at Deluxe Nails and Spa in Superior Thursday.

(credit: CBS)

“Not the same as before,” said co-owner Thong Nguyen as he worked on Christina Dickenson’s nails.

“Before (there were) twelve units, but now only three,” he said about the stores, shops and learning centers around them. “I thought I was doing them a favor, but they’re actually very good,” laughed Dickinson, who had driven over from Boulder to patronize businesses she thought were hurting after talking with her daughter in Louisville about it.

“They’re doing me a favor,” she smiled.

“They’re finding that their regulars that were coming in on a daily basis are no longer there. They’ve had to move to Erie, they’ve had to move to Brighton, they’ve had to move to Westminster,” said Deana Miller, executive director of the Superior Chamber of Commerce.

While some businesses were a total loss in the Marshall Fire, some are slowly reopening after cleaning up. Still, others stayed closed because of a lack of business and some are not coming back.

While there has been help for homeowners, business has not gotten a boost. And many were just pulling through the pandemic.

“But there’s nothing specifically for businesses that had uninsured losses. And loss of wages,” said Miller.

At the Deluxe, they were able to re-open in January. But the shop is out of view for many past customers while a large Target store remains closed doing a rebuild. The parking lot has a large fence surrounding much of it during the work.

(credit: CBS)

“With the businesses closed around here, especially Target, there’s not a lot of foot traffic and people may think that the whole shopping center is closed,” said customer Romy Corliss.

“After the fire, all my regular customers haven’t come back yet,” said Thuong Lee.

That’s partly due to so many gone from the burned homes. Help for homeowners has appeared. Millions donated to the community foundation will help them.

“Very quickly after the fire they were handing out checks to residents at the disaster assistance center. The businesses however were not in that priority list for the community foundation. And understandably so,” said Miller.

There are Small Business Administration loans, but even they are tough to get. 24 of 215 applications have been approved. But those loans are also a burden for challenged businesses.

“People who don’t know that they’re going to be in business next year don’t want to take out loans,” said Miller.

She says she along with Superior’s economic development director are trying.

“And we are just calling everyone that we know that could possibly shake some money lose from the federal aid to state aid to even county. And there is just nothing out there.”

(credit: CBS)

Meantime the customers still coming in are trying to help and hoping others will join them. “Because this is a neighborhood business. This is not Target and it’s not big department (store). It’s a small business that is trying to make its way,” said Dickinson.

Alan Gionet