Grants help Manitou businesses rebound from 2013 floods

By: Katherine Blunt
July 7, 2014 Updated: July 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

It's been almost a year since a series of floods damaged Manitou Springs, but some of the town's businesses are still recovering.

To aid the healing process, the Manitou Springs Small Business Flood Recovery Fund recently allocated $100,000 in grants to 10 businesses. The recipients received $5,000 to $15,000 to repair infrastructure and recover inventory.

Pikes Peak United Way established the Flood Recovery Fund in May, with support from the Office of the Governor and United Ways of Colorado. In June, members of the business communities in Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs chose the 10 businesses from a pool of 14 applicants. Grant recipients had to demonstrate a need for financial assistance because of the floods and employ fewer than 100 people. They also had to have operated in Manitou Springs for at least six months prior to September 2013.

Manitou became a prime target for flooding after the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire, which burned thousands of acres of nearby forest and made the area susceptible to water rushing down charred canyons. The scenario played out a year later, when three flash floods swept through the town last summer and heavily damaged residences, infrastructure and businesses.

Much of the damage is still evident to business owners.

Paula Pastuer owner of three Manitou Springs businesses, said Monday she spent more that $50,000 to repair structural damage and install flood mitigation devices in her stores: the Glass Blowers of Manitou, Twin Bears Embroidery and Christmas in Manitou. She received a $10,000 grant to offset the cost of recovery.

"I couldn't get over how expansive the damage was when I looked at it," she said. "I still have repairs to do."

Pastuer said she lost about $10,000 in inventory and 30 percent in revenue after the floods.

Adam's Mountain Cafe received a $10,000 grant to offset the cost of renovating a new space. The floods cost the restaurant about $230,000, according to owner Farley McDonough, prompting her to move to a less flood-prone location. Once located at 934 Manitou Ave., the restaurant opened at 26 Manitou Ave. at the end of April.

"We did far more (renovations) than we anticipated, which is why this United Way grant was really critical for us to get after the losses we suffered last summer," McDonough said.

McDonough plans to use the grant money to fix a range hood and buy a beer tap and a broiler oven. The repairs and purchases will provide the restaurant with the resources to cater, a move McDonough said could boost revenue by as much as 40 percent.

"We would also be able to hire more people," she said.

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