As residents return to Olde Town to frequent their usual restaurants and favorite shops, they'll notice a few changes to the business landscape after two local businesses — Kline's Beer Hall and …
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As residents return to Arvada's Olde Town to frequent their usual restaurants and favorite shops, they'll notice a few changes to the business landscape after two local businesses — Kline's Beer Hall and The Cereal Box — have closed their doors.
The businesses represent two Arvada companies that have faced challenges in 2020. Some 475 businesses opened licenses to operate in Arvada from January 2020 through June 2020, compared to 663 businesses for those months in 2019.
That said, in-city business closings are slightly down — 210 businesses have closed in Arvada since January 2020, while 244 businesses closed from January through June in 2019.
With hundreds having closed their doors over the past six months, the owners of Kline's and The Cereal Box reflected on the varying unexpected obstacles that have faced business-owners in 2020.
After about five years at 7519 Grandview Ave., Kline's Beer Hall has announced that it will not be reopening specifically because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The biggest reason was the uncertainty of what reality would look like after this,” said Mike Huggins, who owned the business with his wife, Lenka Juchelokova. “We signed a five-year extension (of our lease) in November. We had so much hope, but once COVID hit, it was uncertain.”
The business, which officially closed on April 25, has relied on a unique model of shared tables to give customers the experience of striking up a conversation with a stranger at the bar, even when they aren't necessarily sitting at the bar, Huggins said.
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But as COVID-related regulations continue and residents ease back into eating at restaurants, the owners have worried that the model won't draw the same crowd it did before the pandemic.
That said, Kline's isn't quite saying farewell for good. Huggins said the business hopes to reopen in another location, definitely in Arvada and preferably in Olde Town.
“I don't foresee us opening back up within a year,” he said, however, “we would like to bring it back, hopefully into a smaller space. Kline's will definitely come back as dedicated to craft beer, especially family-owned craft breweries.”
Meanwhile, a second change in the Olde Town landscape has seen The Cereal Box, Inc. vacate its space at 5709 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. The Arvada cereal café served up a unique experience to residents for about three years with a brightly colored décor, cartoons and music playing in the background and customers mixing their favorite cereal flavors for a one-of-a-kind snack.
“Initially, we decided to open a business in Arvada because there's nothing really for kids to do after school,” said Mike Emmerson, who owned the business with his wife, Lori Hofer. “It was just a family-oriented business.”
Even as the pandemic required the café to close for in-person dining, “we never planned on closing down for good,” Emmerson said. “We were doing really well this year.”
MORE: Cereal Box celebrates first year
In the end, it wasn't losses from COVID that led to a permanent closure for the café; though Emmerson and Hofer had hoped to stay in Olde Town, their lease was not extended by their landlord.
Emmerson said their landlord — Huggins — told the couple he could not renew the lease because he aims to use the space himself.
But Huggins says he did not renew the lease because the couple told him they planned to sell their business soon but had not finalized purchasing arrangements by the deadline to renew their lease. Huggins said he felt it was too great a risk to renew the lease and have the space eventually occupied by an undetermined business, which may not survive when faced with the hurdles other businesses have struggled with. While the space is vacant, he also aims to address structural issues in the building.
Now, Emmerson said the business does not believe it can reboot in a new location and is saying its final goodbye.
“We enjoyed our time in Olde Town and the support was amazing,” Emmerson said. “Hearing everyone say they were sad that we're leaving, it's really nice to hear that.”
Regular customers such as resident Loren Litherland said they will fondly remember the store for the unique memories it allowed them to make.
"My husband was watching our niece every Friday prior to COVID and I work next door at Rheinlander Bakery, and he would bring her and our son down to get a cookie at the bakery and bring it to The Cereal Box to get special flavored milk for milk and cookies," Litherland said. "My heart will break the first time she is back over and asks to get milk and cookies again."
In light of the challenges his business and those around him have been facing, Emmerson had this advice to give:
“Support businesses now before it's too late,” he said. “A lot of people are struggling. Go dine there, get a gift card — do anything to support them.”
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