Summit County restaurant and retail businesses expand as COVID-19 restrictions ease |

Summit County restaurant and retail businesses expand as COVID-19 restrictions ease

A Breck Kidz sign hangs over the store's new entrance on Main Street in Breckenridge. Owner Michele Powell said she expanded the store after receiving support from the community throughout the pandemic.
Michele Powell/Breck Kidz

As Summit County visitors and locals move into a phase of the COVID-19 pandemic free from restrictions, they have plenty of new and expanded businesses to try.

In the Summit Cove neighborhood, Last Chance Pizza owners Jaron Atwell and Ryan Landis opened a taproom and coffee shop. In Breckenridge, Michele Powell expanded her children’s clothing toy store Breck Kidz to have a storefront on Main Street, and Chad Washenfelder opened his third local restaurant, Ski Town Chicken Joint.

The business owners all found themselves impacted by pandemic restrictions that shortened capacity limits. While it wasn’t easy for any of them, some found it to be an opportunity to try something new.

Because Last Chance Pizza mostly sells food for take out, the pandemic didn’t have a major impact on sales for Atwell and Landis. For years, the owners had been hearing from customers that they wanted more seating in their restaurant located at 40 Cove Blvd. in Dillon.

However, that wasn’t an option until a neighboring real estate company transitioned to remote work, and the restaurant owners expanded into that space. That’s where they opened Cove and Craft Tap Room in January 2021.

The tap room offers a selection of wine and beer from Summit County and Colorado brewers. It also uses the Last Chance Pizza kitchen to serve artisan grilled cheese sandwiches.

Atwell and Landis didn’t stop there. Shortly after opening the taproom, they found that it was filling up quickly with customers from Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Summit Cove. Another of Last Chance Pizza’s neighbors, The Pour House Coffee Shop, asked Atwell and Landis if they’d be interested in taking over the space.

The business owners ended up purchasing all of The Pour House’s equipment to open Cofa Coffee in October 2021. The coffee shop serves breakfast sandwiches, burritos and pastries on top of a list of coffee and tea selections.

“Obviously, the pandemic has been a nightmare … but we tried to, over the last few years, to see as much silver lining opportunities as we could, without losing perspective of how awful it is,” Atwell said.

Powell had a similar experience when she expanded Breck Kidz into a larger space with a storefront on Main Street in Breckenridge in November.

“I was so scared at the beginning of the pandemic that it was kind of the end of all of us small businesses here,” she said. “I think it really was all the support I got that really pushed me to expand.”

Powell decided to expand the store after outgrowing her space on Riverwalk Plaza. The store sells clothes, toys, souvenirs and books for children. In recent years, Powell moved away from just selling children’s souvenirs to providing more items that families might need while they’re visiting Breckenridge.

Breck Kidz Owner Michele Powell said she was able to expand her merchandise after adding about 600 feet and a Main Street storefront to her boutique.
Michele Powell/Breck Kidz

With the expansion, which added about 600 square feet to the store, she’s been able to carry more shoes, coats, swimsuits and baby gifts. The entrance on Main Street has also allowed for more foot traffic into Breck Kidz.

“With the new exposure of the Main Street door, it seems like I’m getting a whole new customer base that didn’t even know we were here,” she said.

Also in Breckenridge, Washenfelder opened Ski Town Chicken Joint in December. Washenfelder had been thinking of opening a fried chicken restaurant for years after realizing how few fried chicken places there were in Summit County.

The restaurant offers a menu of southern favorites including fried chicken platters and sandwiches, fried pickles and fried okra as well as a selection of burgers and salads.

Washenfelder said he chose the restaurant’s location at 161 E.. Adams Ave because he wanted to create a casual atmosphere where people could come in, watch sports, drink beer and eat plenty of fried chicken. Being away from Main Street allows for people to spend more time at the restaurant and hang out, said Washenfelder, who also owns Pho Real and Breckenridge Tap House.

“In some of my spots on Main Street, you’re really having to turn these tables quickly because you have a waitlist out the door,” he said. “Being on this side street allows us to have a more fun, relaxed atmosphere.”

Ski Town Chicken Joint is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Cove and Craft and Last Chance Pizza are open from noon to 9 p.m. daily. Cofa Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and Breck Kidz is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.


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