The owner of Café Corto expects to reopen his downtown Colorado Springs coffee shop/eatery by the end of next week after the state seized the business for delinquent sales tax payments.
The restaurant at 115 E. Kiowa St. was closed at around 10 a.m. Thursday. Owner Ben Gallegos said he has 10 days from then to reclaim his business.
A sign on the door says Gallegos and his two co-owners owe $8,834 in delinquent state sales taxes. But Melissa Martinez, spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue, said Gallegos actually owes $6,556.
“We had been making payments, and we missed one, so they closed us,” Gallegos said, “but we are not going to let it get to the point of public auction.”
Gallegos said he is meeting with a Department of Revenue representative Wednesday. He said his company plans to pay the entire amount of back taxes that day and hopefully reopen by Friday. Gallegos, 26, owns Café Corto with his wife, Katherine, 25, and mother, Rebecca.
“I am confident we will have it back open by the end of next week,” Gallegos said.
Gallegos said he fell behind in payments after suffering lower sales from mid-June to near July’s end as the Waldo Canyon fire kept customers away from across the city. He said his eatery suffered a second financial hit when equipment failures amounting to around $1,500 claimed the rest of his café’s revenues and most of his savings.
“We had to replace coolant pieces in the deli table, and other things,” he said.
Gallegos does not own the building west of the bus stop where his first-floor café is located. He took over the location that once housed Mountain Brew Espresso.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.