The Impact of Covid-19 on Local Business in Glenwood

The Impact of Covid-19 on Local Business in Glenwood

Leyna McGill and Quinn Taucher , Reporters

The small businesses of Glenwood Springs have had their share of struggles and successes this year. Many local venues have closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic but some have started to thrive.


As many high school students and locals know, Za Pizzeria (previously named Peppinos) was one of the best restaurants for lunch and dinner. Normally packed with high schoolers and families, the closure of the high school and quarantine in the community has made them have to find a balance between safety and success. Jimmy, the owner of Za, has been successfully keeping his pizzeria open, as well as keeping his customers and employees safe.


“We’ve been lucky so far, you know,” said Jimmy. “We’ve been diligent…I see the same faces I’ve normally seen; minus a couple of the elderly people… but for the most part it’s all the same people.”


Most everyone in Glenwood Springs has heard of or has been to Za. Even though it is tucked inside of the Van Rand Center and is somewhat hidden, it’s almost always been busy and is a well-loved local pizza operation. Jimmy knows that the local customers in Glenwood will support his restaurant no matter the location. So even with a slow year with less tourism fueling the businesses of Glenwood Springs, he isn’t too concerned about tourist revenue. 


“I don’t see us falling off that hard,” Jimmy said. “It has been tight and it will continue to be tight but, I think we’ll manage it…As long as we can keep up with local demand. I don’t rely too much on tourists.” 


As Za Pizzeria continues to provide for our community, safely and tactfully, other businesses, such as the 19th Street Diner, have also had to adapt during this pandemic. 


The owner of 19th Street Diner, Rick Wernsmann, has also been fortunate enough to maintain enough customers to keep his restaurant from closing. Even though he is far from shutting down his diner, Rick and his employees have definitely felt the impact of COVID-19. He feels as though the amount of customers has dropped since this pandemic but has been able to adapt by providing an alternative seating arrangement that obeys the COVID-19 restrictions. 


“I owned the tent before all of this happened,” said Rick Wernsmann. “[I] changed my seating capacity from what would have been 40 instead of 100 to about 85 instead of 100.”


The 19th Street Diner has also turned to the town for support.


“We’ve acquired a grant from the Chamber Resort and received a PPP loan. The city’s helped us out.”


Neither of these successful men are going to move their business elsewhere. They’re staying in our gorgeous valley.  


“The longer I’m here, to sum it up, the more I like it here,” Jimmy said.


Rick Wersnmann was the same way.


Rick remarked, “I moved to Glenwood Springs when I was 19. I’ve moved away twice and kept coming back.” 


Even in these uncertain times, businesses have stayed safe and strong. Local venues have found creative and safe ways to stay open, as well as supply their loyal customers with amazing food and service.