Arvada businesses work to stay afloat through COVID-19

Community coming together to help others during outbreak

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/18/20

As Ray and Deanell Sandoval went for a walk through Olde Town the afternoon of March 17, the downtown area's empty streets and locked businesses didn't look like the Olde Town they've gotten used to. …

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Arvada businesses work to stay afloat through COVID-19

Community coming together to help others during outbreak

Posted

As Ray and Deanell Sandoval went for a walk through Olde Town the afternoon of March 17, the downtown area's empty streets and locked businesses didn't look like the Olde Town they've gotten used to. Instead, in the midst of the COVID-19 spread, the streets reminded them of a past Olde Town.

“When we first moved here, it looked like this,” said Ray, who moved to Arvada more than 20 years ago, prior to the revitalization efforts that have made the area a retail and restaurant hotspot in the city.

Along Grandview and Olde Wadsworth, by Tuesday afternoon — a day after the state ordered restaurants and bars to temporarily suspend sit-down service — the majority of businesses had turned out the lights and posted notices on their doors, directing customers to call for takeout or return at a later date.

For businesses that were still open, customers were few and far between; at Lovely Boutique, for instance, the first three hours of the workday saw zero customers, said owner Robin Burkley.

“There's no one walking around. A lot of customers were brought down here by the restaurants,” she said. “Everyone is being cautious. It's not something we can't rebound from, but it's going to hurt.”

Even with these significant setbacks, business-owners and residents say there have been opportunities for people and businesses to support one another.

When Kline's Beer Hall found itself with extra food due to lost business, it made a donation to nonprofit Community Table, said Sandy Martin, the organization's executive director. The help has come at a time when the nonprofit is in need of donations, particularly non-perishable food items, as families struggle with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

Multiple residents have also called in to make monetary donations, Martin said — “It's such an incredible community,” she said. “We're thankful.”

Elsewhere in Arvada, at Olde Town's vegan restaurant So Radish, employees have stepped up to help one another as the store has shifted to take-out services only, said general manager Audrey Potter.

With the store reducing hours for employees, “we have a couple people on staff that have second jobs or spouses who are working and have said, `don't worry about us — give other people the hours,''' Potter said. “That was pretty cool.”

So Radish has been brainstorming ways to assist the broader community through potential menu changes, such as adding weekend specials or convenience to-go items for those who cannot get to a grocery store, Potter said.

Many other Arvada businesses are also changing things up in response to the outbreak.

Business like Rheinlander Bakery and the Bluegrass Coffee and Bourbon Lounge are offering new curbside pickup options. Denver Beer Co, Carly's Boutique, the Eli Ashby Healing Arts Center and others have launched sales on some items to incentivize shopping.

Efforts to assist these local businesses have been led by a number of Arvada groups, including the city, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, Arvada Visitors' Center, Arvada Economic Development Association, Olde Town Business Improvement District and the Community First Foundation. One strategy has been the chamber's Business Toolkit, which links businesses to financial resources and other guidance. Another has been the Takeout Takeover page on the Chamber's site, which lists all Arvada restaurants offering takeout, delivery or other services.

While for the most part, the transformed restaurants and still-open retail stores haven't seen as much business as usual, many of them are clinging to hope that when COVID infection numbers begin to decline, business will build.

“When this is all over, I'm sure there's going to be a big celebration,” Burkley said. “We will survive this.”

Meanwhile, residents like the Sandovals said they're also ready to do their part, whether that means ordering takeout, continuing regular visits to the community or simply keeping a positive outlook.

“It's okay. It's an opportunity to get things done,” Deanell Sandoval said. “Personally, we're healthy and can get out. We feel grateful.”

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