Tucked away in the Frisco Transit Center, the worth of the Piccolo Snack Bar isn't in its size, but in the comforts that it offers. Riders of the Summit Stage, Colorado Mountain Express and Greyhound bus through Frisco will now have more than just shelter from the wind and snow this season - they will also find service and a smile.Susan Winningham, owner of the Piccolo Snack Bar, can be found behind the counter, ready to cheer up a driver's or a rider's day with a hot beverage or a snack. The shop hosts a range of snacks and food available, from oatmeal and cinnamon rolls, to burritos and granola bars, to the usual chocolate bars and ice cream. Drinks include coffee, tea, cocoa and cider, as well as cold soft drinks. The shop has been open since Sept. 26, and also handles ticket sales for Greyhound bus lines and Summit Stage trips to Leadville. "The Summit Stage drivers have all been great," Winningham said of her customer base. "Everybody has been very helpful, very patient."Piccolo Snack Bar is the only one of its kind in Summit County transit stations, and one of the few for this section of the Greyhound line as well. "Between Denver and Vail and Grand Junction, we're it for the Greyhound folks," said Winningham. Winningham currently lives in Summit Cove, though she previously lived in Frisco. Before that, she and her husband spent time living in Prague, Czech Republic. Winningham has worked as a massage therapist for many years, and says that the snack bar business is a new venture for her."It's a fun job, kind of like being a tour guide," she said, explaining that in addition to selling tickets, she's often giving people advice about where to go and what to do around the county. "My favorite part is standing and talking to people."
It's likely that the Piccolo Snack Bar will see quite a lot of foot traffic this season. According to assistant Summit County manager Thad Noll, the total ridership of the Summit Stage for 2012 will be around 1.7 million people."That's more than it's been the last couple years, but it's not as high as our peak."The highest ridership occurred in 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008, which recorded over 2 million riders on the Stage. Though 2012 isn't in the peak range, it is higher than last year, which came in at 1.6 million riders."The snow always has an impact on ridership, but I think the economy had a bigger impact," Noll said when asked the reason for the number fluctuation. Steve Stirling, operations manager at the Summit Stage, says that the Piccolo Snack Bar's dual service of food and ticket sales is useful."I think it's a real neat operation. It can go a long way to help provide some services both as a snack bar and as a ticket agent for Greyhound," Stirling said. As for the snack bar's potential effect on the number of riders, Noll said, "I don't know that it will increase ridership, but it will for sure make it more enjoyable. When you're waiting for a bus or in between bus rides, hop in and get a snack, it will make the place a little more lively."