Local Businesses Hit Hard By Coronavirus
By Cara DeGette
There was just one thing certain in a month of uncertainties: as Colorado announced strict emergency regulations designed to halt the spread of the coronavirus, local businesses suddenly – in many cases literally overnight – found themselves in a world of hurt.
In mid-March, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered all restaurants, bars, gyms, salons and spas, performance and music venues, movie theaters, and casinos closed for normal, public use, at least through April 30. (Grocery stores, convenience stores, food pantries and pharmacies remain open.) The governor underscored that delivery, pick-up, takeout and drive-throughs are not just okay but encouraged. The impact to many was instant, and devastating.
Paul Sullivan, owner of Esters at Oneida Park, said the restaurant went from a staff of 70 to just six coworkers. Sales, he said, are down almost 100 percent, and he had no idea what the future looks like.
“Obviously, this has been a difficult situation for a lot of small businesses, and we are no different,” Sullivan said. “We appreciate the support of the neighborhood and community in this difficult time.”
For now, Esters – like many other local restaurants – is continuing to operate without sit-down service, offering daily take-out, delivery and curbside pick-up.
In late March, Todd Snyder, who three years ago bought and renovated the business block of Oneida Park Center, described the sudden shut-down as “chartering unnavigated waters.”
“We’re coping over here and don’t know how to react just yet,” Snyder said. “Right now we’re working on gathering information and potential options for tenant and landlord relief.”
One of the unknowns, Snyder said, is how much, or even whether, insurance will cover the losses. Many policies do not include relief for business interruptions that are specifically caused by a virus outbreak. “No one seems to feel great that this will be covered, and I think that what we’re hoping is for something at the federal level, even the state level,” he said.
“I do want to convey our appreciation for people who have reached out to our employees and businesses. We appreciate the continued support of our tenants, which are all small businesses. The priority is for the business owners and their employees and families.”
Looking for relief
There are several blocks of independently-owned businesses in Park Hill, including at 23rd and Kearney; at 23rd and Dahlia; 28th and Fairfax; Holly Square at 33rd and Holly; and Oneida Park Center at 23rd and Oneida. Dozens of other businesses line the major corridors that mark the boundaries of the neighborhood – including along Colfax, Colorado Boulevard and Quebec Street.
Hilarie Portell, the director of the Colfax Mayfair Business Improvement District, said she was not aware of any permanent closures as of late March, though Axum Restaurant, which serves Ethiopian food, has closed at least for a few weeks. Portell said she is working with the owner to secure local and federal assistance, and is also hoping the landlord will work with the owner on rent. Similarly Portell is working with other business owners to navigate assistance, including what relief is or might become available.
As of press time, Phoenician Kebab, which serves Middle-Eastern food and is in the Colfax Mayfair BID, is open for dinner take-out. Their number is 720-477-0046. The Abbey Tavern, an Irish bar and restaurant, has shortened its hours and is offering call-in delivery takeout from its kitchen. Anytime Fitness, also on Colfax, is offering its members online strength and fitness classes.
“Most are trying to keep their employees paid in one way or another, even if that means shortening hours or doing shifts,” Portell said. “Restaurants can continue to keep the kitchens open and do delivery or pick-up, and most are doing that.”
“We’ve been posting on our [Colfax Mayfair BID] Facebook page new hours and ways to order – for example, you can order ice cream or a cake from Nuggs and pick it up,” she said.
More on the Fax
The Colfax Mayfair BID includes businesses along Colfax from Eudora Street to Monaco, as well as the Mayfair Town Center at 14th and Krameria. Another organization, the Fax Partnership, represents other businesses along the East Colfax corridor.
Monica Martinez, executive director of the Fax Partnership, said she is working to connect businesses with resources, and other updates. Martinez also issued the following statement:
““We will be posting accurate and timely information about locally-based eateries open for take-out and delivery on our website: thefaxdenver.com. In addition to our list of operating businesses, we will be using our website to educate our businesses about available supportive services. Please check our website frequently for information and resources to help you manage during this public health crisis.”
Martinez said the Fax Partnership is also working during the month of April on outreach to the residential community along Colfax, including conducting a survey of the neighborhood.
Ramping up recovery
In late March, Polis scaled-up efforts to address Colorado’s developing economic crisis. The governor appointed former Denver Mayor Federico Pena to head up an economic task force and ramp up efforts to “minimize disruptions and maximize the ability to recover.” The state has also set up a website – COVID19.colorado.gov – that includes all latest coronavirus-related updates, as well as resources available for impacted businesses.
A timeline for any new economic recovery proposals was unclear as of the end of March, but Polis underscored the need for immediate steps, to try to avoid untold suffering.
“The whole public health aspect [of the pandemic] will touch many of us, but the economic crisis will touch us all,” he said.
As the reality of the crisis and its impacts on local businesses started to sink in, Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. Chair Tracey MacDermott urged people to figure out ways to continue to support local business. Make a list of restaurants to patronize, she said, and regularly order pick-up or deliveries. Call local business owners and ask how you can help. Make sure to check in with neighbors and make sure they are OK.
“Social distancing,” she said, “does not mean disconnecting. We have to get creative. And we have to take care of each other.”
The Greater Park Hill News will continue to provide updated information to readers about local businesses in the months ahead. Please send changes in services and story tips to editor@ greaterparkhill.org. Readers are also encouraged to submit letters to the editor, photos or other anecdotes about their favorite businesses, and what they are doing to help keep them afloat.
How Local Business Owners Are Coping During Uncertainty
Compiled by Cara DeGette
We reached out to local business owners to see what they are doing and how they are coping, during these times of coronavirus. The following are responses we got from several of them as of press time. If you are a local business owner who we weren’t able to reach, and would like to add your thoughts and/or business hours to this page, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cherry Tomato – 4645 E. 23rd Ave.
We have been proudly serving authentic and delicious Italian food in our neighborhood since 1997. You have been there for us through the good times and the difficult times, and we like to think we have contributed to some of your best culinary memories! During these uncertain and troubling times for all of us, we are responding to the government’s attempt to curtail large gatherings of people. We have closed our doors for in-house dining. We are still open for business, though. Please remember us when you are making dinner plans. Our entire menu is available for take-out orders and we continue to provide delivery through the GrubHub service from 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 5-9 p.m. on Sunday. We also have gift certificates available that you can redeem now or when our doors are fully open again. We will all get through this by working together! We wish you and your family peace, good health, and the promise of better days ahead! Milli grazie for your support all these years!
Your neighbors, Tom Felese
and the Cherry Tomato family
Red Lark – 2208 Kearney St.
It’s a privilege for me to own a business in the neighborhood I live in and love. Red Lark will always be a place that welcomes everyone with the hope you find joy inside. Having been open less than a year, it’s beyond painful to shut our door indefinitely.
` Fortunately, I opened my online shop in January. I realized I would need an additional source of revenue during the cold winter months. I never could have imagined it would now be my “lifeline.” Our online shop is always open www.redlarkshop.com and I’m happy to offer free shipping or complimentary local delivery. I’m happy to also accept orders on Instagram and Facebook @theredlarkshop. I will customize orders, answer all questions and be your gift concierge. Our community is collectively worried, anxious and confused. I would love to ease some of the pain. My small way of doing so is by spreading love, positive thoughts and beautiful products. Wishing everyone good health and happiness.
Bridget Mitchell, Owner
Oblio’s Pizzeria – 6115 E. 22nd Ave.
As a global community and as a neighborhood restaurant, we are facing a time of unprecedented public health challenges and economic uncertainties. We are offering take-out and delivery as well as curbside takeout and front porch delivery. We are extensively cleaning every surface in our restaurant and sanitize our pens and counters after every use. We have healthy staff who are wearing gloves and making sure everything is handled with the utmost of care. We are open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. every day. We have extended our delivery radius to include all of Park Hill, Stapleton, Hilltop, Mayfair, Montclair, Congress Park, and City Park. We have a collection bag at the restaurant for donations for our face painter and our balloon artist, who are currently unemployed. I follow social media very closely and am brought to tears daily by the support of the community, not just our little restaurant but of all the businesses and just each other. People post humorous things daily to bring smiles to our faces, help support parents at home with kids trying to homeschool them, offer to make grocery store runs. It’s really beautiful, and I hope that what we are seeing in our Park Hill and Stapleton community is what is happening all over the world. I hope that what we are seeing during this time – the support, the coming together, the strength and hope – will have a lasting effect when this is all over.
Sending love, Dawn, Tegwin,
and Morgan McKay
Marczyk Fine Foods – 5100 E. Colfax
Our top priority is to keep people safe, fed, and employed. These are unprecedented times, and we are mostly trying to stay open, and keep up with what the CDC requires.
This is Pete Marczyk’s statement about the current state of affairs: “We are in this together. Marczyk’s has taken measures to help reduce health and safety risks for our employees, customers and community. We feel a great responsibility for the vital role we play as a link in your food chain, and we are committed to taking steps to reduce risk while remaining consistent and reliable. Here is the good news: Food safety and public health have been our top priorities for the past 18 years. It’s in our DNA.”
Queen Bee of Marczyk’s
Art Gym Denver – 1460 Leyden St.
Art Gym Denver is committed to the health and safety of its members and the community we are involved with. In response to COVID-19, we have decided to close our doors for the time being, as well as postpone all of our public events, with the plan to reschedule at a later date. We encourage everyone to be mindful of yourself and others. Please follow the advice provided by medical professionals, Denver Health and the CDC. We wish you all the best health and look forward to continuing our place in the Park Hill neighborhood.
Brady Smith, Marketing
& Communications Director
Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center
We are open but operating much differently. In some ways, it’s the ideal veterinary appointment for many introverted veterinarians because we are limiting client entry into the practice by checking patients in by phone, retrieving them from the car, owner waits in car while we examine and the doctor calls with treatment plan, treatments are performed and the patient is returned to the car and owners either call in payment or we run the credit card via phone app or run it inside. We’re at this time maintaining our normal hours and continuing all preventive care and the majority of anesthetic procedures. We don’t use a ton of sterile masks and PPE so we have enough supply stocked that we should weather the next several weeks fine. We feel strongly that we want to take care of our clients and patients as well as ensuring that our team members (most of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck) have the security and distraction of working. As an AAHA-accredited practice, we already had high standards for cleaning and sanitation, but we’ve bumped up our rates of cleaning and more frequent deep cleaning.
Margot Vahrenwald, DVM, Co-Owner
It is with great consideration and a heavy heart that we must close until April 10. While this decision was difficult, we know it is the right one. From the beginning, we have stressed that the safety of our employees and guests is our No. 1 priority. With that being the underlying goal, we believe that closing our doors and windows now is not only the right decision for our safety, but it will add to the community’s goal of shortening the impact of COVID-19. We must all do our part!
Loren Martinez, Director of Operations
Oneida Park Center – 23rd and Oneida
Thank you to the many community members in the Park Hill, Stapleton and surrounding neighborhoods for reaching out to us inquiring about Oneida Park businesses’ and employees’ well being.
We all appreciate and are grateful for your concern. The Oneida Park family of businesses have worked so hard to create a neighborhood gathering place for the community these past few years and now the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns threaten what we’ve created. First and foremost we ask that you continue to take care of yourselves and family members by following the CDC’s recommended guidelines for social distancing. We also ask that you please think about supporting your local businesses, including our family of businesses at Oneida Park. Thank you and take care and remember, all things must pass. Together we’ll get through these challenging times.
The following is an overview of hours and operations for businesses in the Oneida Park Center, as of March 24. Due to changing realities, please reach out to the businesses during April for updates:
Esters – 303-997-4173
Open for pick-up orders from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Menu also available on Uber Eats
Dang Softserve – 720-550- 8834
Closed until April 10
Torpedo Coffee – 720-530-5152
Closed in late March for two weeks for social distancing
Curbside pick-up at pop up locations nearby, please call for updates
Spicy Thai II & Sushi Wow – 303-388-6300
Open for pick-up and delivery – opens at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday
Zen Den Pet Spa – 303-954-9486
Open regular business hours – Monday-Friday at 9 a.m., Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday closed
Oneida Liquors – 303-388-7758
Open 7 days a week at 9 a.m.
Flex Yoga Barre – 720-594-0813
Offering online classes at @flexyogabarre and setting up an Equipment Library to take workout equipment home – free to members/$5 to everyone else
The Local Butcher – 303-974-1020
Open every day at 9 a.m., closed Tuesdays
Lots of groceries and meats available, business as usual
Love Fashion Nails – 303-333-1387
Closed until further notice
Beauty Bee Salon – 303-717-3883
Closed until further notice
Oneida Park location under construction – opening summer 2020
Famous Philly Cheese Steak & Wings – 303-333-5600
Currently open for pickup, delivery and takeout. Open 7 days a week at 10:30 a.m.