Two Summit County waitresses buy pizza shop in Silverthorne

Lillian Gaspar, left, and Edith Pech, right, pose in their restaurant, Nick n' Willy's Pizza, in Silverthorne on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.
Eiliana Wright/Summit Daily News

Scott Nyer, a local Doordash driver and a previous frequenter of the Summit County restaurant business, calls Edith Pech and Lillian Gaspar’s story “the American dream.” 

Gaspar, 32, and Pech, 30, bought Nick n’ Willy’s Pizza in Silverthorne outright in July, with no bank loans. Both of them cried tears of happiness as they signed the papers.

Pech and Gaspar both grew up in different areas of Mexico. In 2014, they met each other in an English class in Guadalajara, where they became fast friends. 

In 2015, Pech came to Summit County for the first time on a trip with her cousin, who lived in the county at the time. She wanted to tag along to practice her English.

As time passed, Pech wanted to return to mountainous Summit County, a place so many flock to year after year, to build a life. So in 2019, she officially moved to the county. 

On Thanksgiving Day, Gaspar came with Pech to Summit County with no more than $200 in her pocket, and the two have been here ever since. 

The two moved in together with another roommate, secured jobs and started saving. As they continued to live in work in Summit County, they began to build a shared dream of eventually owning a business.

Once the prospect of owning a business came into the picture, Pech and Gaspar said they were willing to work as hard as necessary to achieve their goal. The two of them said they worked double shifts nearly every day for three years to save up.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the two thought about going home, but their families discouraged the idea. Conditions in Mexico were much more serious than in Summit County at that time, Gaspar said.

Then, last year, Pech’s grandfather died. She also found out that her 16-year-old brother was diagnosed with leukemia, a sickness he is still living with today. Pech was stuck in Summit County, grieving from hundreds of miles away.

“It’s been really hard to hear about her brother and her grandfather. I feel like it’s happening to me as well,” Gaspar said as Pech’s eyes overflowed with tears. Only seconds later, Gaspar’s did too. Gaspar gently reached out to pat Pech’s arm and looked at her across the table as Pech collected herself.  

Lillian Gaspar, left, and Edith Pech, right, prepare pizza in their restaurant, Nick n’ Willy’s Pizza, in Silverthorne on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.
Eiliana Wright/Summit Daily News

The first and only vacation the two have taken since moving to Summit County was last summer, to see their families. Before that, it had been two years since they had been to Mexico or even seen them at all. 

“That’s why I don’t want to lose my time here,” Pech said. “I’m losing a lot of things in Mexico. I can’t lose time here. You need to work hard for something.” 

More recently Pech had two jobs at Fiesta Jalisco in Silverthorne and Bread & Salt in Frisco, and Gaspar had three jobs at Fiesta Jalisco, Mountain Lyon Cafe in Silverthorne and Arapahoe Cafe. By the start of 2022 they had saved close to $100,000.

In February, while working at Fiesta Jalisco, Pech heard that Nick n’ Willy’s Pizza was up for sale. 

With past money saved up, Pech immediately told Gaspar, excited about the prospect of potentially becoming a business owner. 

At first, they expected the price to be within their reach, but it didn’t take long for them to find out they were still several thousand dollars short.

Pech said they were devastated, but they continued to work and hope that the opportunity might stay available while they continued to work to save up. Gaspar joked, they’ve been drinking a lot of energy drinks. Pech also borrowed some money from her sister to help make up the gap.

Nyers knew Pech when he used to work at Bagalis in Frisco. He eventually became a Doordash driver, and lost contact with her. Then, one day, he went in to pick up an order and asked Pech how she was doing. 

She replied, saying she had bought Nick n’ Willy’s pizza. 

Nyers was blown away. He had seen through the years — even from a distance — how hard Pech had worked. 

“A lot of people don’t realize that hard work pays off,” he said. 

Edith Pech, left, and Lillian Gaspar, right, prepare pizza in their restaurant, Nick n’ Willy’s Pizza, in Silverthorne on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.
Eiliana Wright/Summit Daily News

When they signed the papers, Pech’s mother was there to see it happen. Pech said all of them were overwhelmed with joy, pride and excitement. Not long after that, she and Gaspar realized that their work was nowhere near over.

“We still are in the other places working,” Pech said. “I still have my bosses, she still has her bosses in Arapahoe and Fiesta.”

She says there are still stressors that come with starting a business, especially with a shoulder season right around the corner, she added.  

“I need to pay a lot of things and I don’t know if this place is going to give me the money for it,” Pech said. Gaspar estimated they will continue to work their other jobs for at least six months. 

“It’s really hard,” Pech said, “because we’ve been working hard for three years … We feel very, very tired. We never used to feel like this.”

While the two of them recognize they could have moved somewhere else, somewhere cheaper or closer to home, they quite simply love Summit County, even though they don’t have the time to ski. 

Not only do they love the beauty, Gaspar said she loves the safety of Summit County. She doesn’t feel the need to constantly be on defense and she loves that people are kind.

And though the pressure is on and money is tight, Pech and Gaspar do get one day off a week — always the same day so they can spend it together. 

Both of them are grateful for the other and each say co-owning a business is better than doing it alone because of how much they support each other. 

With limited sleep every night and almost three years of double shifts, Pech doesn’t regret her decision. When she first signed those papers, she said she had a realization. 

“You can do anything you want working,” Pech said. “And having your dreams in your mind. I have it here. So I know what I have to do.” 

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