8 Estes Park businesses to receive flood recovery grants

ESTES PARK – Eight small businesses located in Estes Park and Drake were to receive $234,000 total in grants today to assist with recovery from the September floods.

The funds will be distributed from United Way of Larimer County’s Small Business Recovery Fund (SBRF), which was established to help raise funds for businesses in the county that were affected by the flood.

Two of the businesses receiving grants are Mama Rose’s and Poppy’s Pizza and Grill, located adjacent to each other in Estes Park and owned by Rob and Julie Pieper. Recovering from the flood has been a struggle mentally, physically and financially for the Piepers. Rob said that while Poppy’s sustained more damage than Mama Rose’s, they are just trying to get back to the way they were before the flood.

“It’s very different than opening up a new business,” he said. “Just to get back to where we were has been an emotionally challenging process for us.”

Although the two restaurants combined are receiving $75,000 in SBRF grant money, the financial struggle is still a long road ahead. Pieper said they have taken out more than $170,000 in loans to reconstruct and reopen both businesses. They are hopeful to keep expenses under $250,000.

The grant money issued from the SBFR might just allow them to do that.

The SBFR was initiated through a partnership of the Bohemian Foundation, Blue Ocean Enterprises and the Richardson Foundation. The Richardson Foundation and Blue Ocean created a dollar-for-dollar corporate fundraising challenge match of up to $500,000 and the Bohemian Foundation initiated and seeded the Fund with $250,000.

While the first round of grant distributions to flood-ravaged businesses may not fully cover reconstruction costs, they may provide a sense of security and, above all, relief.

“With the money we’re getting today, we know that we can at least make it to summer,” Pieper said. “We’re very grateful to the Untied Way and all of our funders. It puts our minds at ease a little more, knowing we’ve gotten this; we can sleep a little better at night now.”

The funds and amounts of this first round of grant distribution will be awarded as follows:

• Mama Rose’s, Estes Park, $25,000.
• Poppy’s Pizza and Grill, Estes Park, $50,000.
• Baldpate Inn, Estes Park, 29,000.
• Aspen and Evergreen Gallery, Estes Park, $30,000.
• The Egg and I, Estes Park, $30,000.
• Rustic Mountain Charm Inc., Estes Park, $30,000.
• Solitude Management, Estes Park, $35,000.
• The Chapel of the Interlude Inc., Drake, $5,000.

Small businesses affected by the flood are still encouraged to apply for the second round of grant funding. The application deadline for the second round is the close of business Friday, Feb. 21. Eligibility requirements and the application can be found here. Grants are subject to available funding and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contributions to the SBRF are still being accepted as more than $100,000 remains to be raised for the dollar-for-dollar corporate fundraising challenge match. Donations can be made on the United Way of Larimer County’s website.

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