The Waldo Canyon Fire could not have come at a worse time for the Pantry Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls.
"I'll make a farming analogy," says Pantry co-owner Nan Stephens. "You work hard, you tend your fields and you get your harvest in, and that's what you have to live on all year. And that's exactly how it is for us."
The fire hit right at the beginning of the restaurant's busiest and most profitable period, from mid-June to mid-August. So suddenly, a 60-year-old institution that Stephens and her husband, Ben, believe to be the biggest employer in little Green Mountain Falls, is taking a beating.
Says Nan, who's helped run the place for 12 years: "We don't want to lose the Pantry on our shift."
There are plenty of others who don't want to lose it, either.
One is Ted Newman, a guitarist who played with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and John Denver. He's traveled to Colorado for the past seven summers to play at the restaurant, "and we're in danger of losing him for the summer," Nan says, "'cause the business is so low. The whole summer might crash."
With that, she echoes the fears shared by many in tourist-reliant businesses in the Pikes Peak region.
We've highlighted a handful more in similar situations starting here, but even taken together, they comprise a very small sample.
"Everybody's being affected," Nan says. "The restaurants, the gift shops, the campgrounds, the vacation rentals. It's a pretty big financial impact."
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