Colorado Cherry Company

Getting there’s the key

Kristi Lehnert and her husband, Anthony, saw their family business – Colorado Cherry Company – shut down overnight as floodwaters washed away key segments of U.S. Highways 34 and 36.

They laid off their 30 employees and started selling what was left of their inventory at farm stands.

For weeks, they didn’t know whether they would survive. Not even the SBA could access their mountain stores.

Even now, the recovery from the floods is slow going. Road reconstruction continues to make travel to their mountain stores a long, arduous prospect.

“Road construction has been just about impossible,” Lehnert said. “Highway 36 detours you away from it.”

Sales are half of what they were a year ago, she said.

“We haven’t hired anybody new,” she said, “and now we only have 15 part-time employees.”

Although no grants or funds were received from the government, the company did get a $15,000 grant from United Way.

“Although we are still chasing our tail, we are the lucky ones since so many people lost everything,” Lehnert said.

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