More closings, and closing longer |

More closings, and closing longer

SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s not uncommon for local restaurants to close in the shoulder seasons. But this year, more restaurants are shutting their doors, and many are shutting them for longer than ever before.

Restaurateurs said Thursday that it’s more economical to shut down and pay rent when patrons are sparse than it is to stay open, pay employees and utilities and hope for customers to get hungry. Closings are longer this year, some said, because of the hard work shops put in trying to win sales in a tough economic climate.

Dawna Foxx closed her Main Street Bistro in Breckenridge’s La Cima Mall and won’t reopen until Memorial Day weekend. Foxx said she generally closes for about two weeks this time of year, but between a poor business climate, the high cost of advertising and family events such as her son’s wedding, she extended the closure.

“Before, we never really even closed the whole week,” Foxx said from Miami. “I think, for most people, it’s because business is down this year. And if you spend too much on advertising for no business, you start in the hole for the summer.”

The closings can cause consternation for customers who are still around. On Frisco’s Main Street, for example, there are limited lunch options. The Log Cabin Cafe is closed for a month for renovations, the Boatyard is closed for mud season and many other restaurants don’t serve lunch to begin with.

“I had a guy come in yesterday all flustered because he couldn’t get anything to eat anywhere,” said Jim Rodkey, owner of Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters in Frisco. “We were closing early because it was (Colorado Mountain College) final exam day and he was begging. I sent him to Deli Belly’s.”

Rodkey said his shop will stay open, but with reduced hours.

“The locals take care of us and a lot of them don’t have anywhere else to go,” he said.

For the first time ever since she took over the restaurant, Roe Schardt is closing the Briar Rose in Breckenridge for a spring sabbatical. The Briar Rose will be closed for two weeks.

Schardt said customer traffic is slow and many restaurateurs took a beating over the winter. She also said many owners are tired of competing with 2-for-1 deals, a practice she said has gotten out of hand.

“Some of us are tired of giving it away,” Schardt said. “I think a lot of places just don’t want to deal with the clientele it draws. They’re demanding. They try to beat the system, even though they’re getting a deal. We’ve done a bad thing by cheapening our product.”

Restaurateurs also said they’re anxious to see which businesses open back up. Rumors are circulating that some restaurant operators will throw in the towel, sell or be unable to continue business.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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