Crested Butte Restaurant Owner Feeds Community in Response to COVID-19
To help keep the community of Crested Butte, Colo., afloat during COVID-19 until tourist dollars could return, one restaurant owner and entrepreneur devised a plan to feed those in need.
In these challenging times, our cooperative principle of Concern for Community has greater meaning than ever before. Across our cooperative family, amazing work is being done by businesses, organizations, and individuals to support our communities in this time of need. As part of this series, we highlight those outstanding people who have gone above and beyond. One of those stories is that of Crested Butte restaurant owner, Kyleena Falzone, and her response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Gunnison County Electric Association serves the town of Crested Butte, nestled high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As the town prepared for its busiest time of the year, thousands of would-be spring breakers arrived just as ski resorts closed and all dine-in services at bars and restaurants were ordered shut. Crested Butte was now faced with a huge unknown: How were they to overcome a global pandemic and stay afloat until the summer tourist dollars could return?
One member of the Gunnison County Electric Association saw a way to help feed their community. Kyleena Falzone, owner of Secret Stash Pizza and Bonez, came up with an idea to help feed those that needed it most. Learn how the combined efforts of one determined entrepreneur, two restaurants, their staff, and donors helped support Crested Butte to keep their community full and happy by watching the story below.
Kyleena Falzone, Owner of Secret Stash Pizza, Bonez, Feeds the Crested Butte Community
"This is a special community we have and now, we've got a chance to repay that and give some of it back."
Kyleena: Hospitality is in my DNA. We have two very large restaurants. The Secret Stash, we're a pizza place here, and Bonez, our Mexican restaurant. I love the restaurant business so much. It's so contagious. Laying off 130 people was not something that I wanted to do.
Carson: When the coronavirus hit, it was right in the middle of our busy spring break season.
Kyleena: You have to dig deep and start thinking of ways that you can still keep going or ways you contribute.
Carson: Kyleena has that entrepreneurial spirit. She was not gonna sit back, rest on the laurels that this was just gonna pass in a short period of time.
Kyleena: Okay. That's when I came up with the idea of the pizza kits and the taco kits. It was just a nice activity to do at home with the family. This started the ball rolling of some amazing donors, and they ordered a ton of kits. Whether that was random giveaways, just trying to feed people.
Kyleena: And then, we got our first big order form two companies in Crested Butte. Benchmark Mortgage ordered 180 pizza kits that we are delivering right to the Gunnison Hospital. Our part-time residents love our community. And to stretch the donor dollar, I started thinking, "God, it would be so great to be able to do a farmer's market. Set up a beautiful table with really healthy and nutritious food. We are turning the restaurant into a market!"
Carson: The donation side of it is not only helping us as a business but also, showing support for the community.
Donor 1: We decided to donate to Crested Butte, Colorado. Oh, it's real simple. There are a lot of really wonderful people in that town.
Donor 2: It's one of the easiest ways to get food into the hands of people who need it the most. This is a special community we have and now, we've got a chance to repay that and give some of it back.
Local Resident 1: Thank you to our town, our community, all of the ones inside the bubble and outside.
Local Resident 2: Thank you so much for supporting us and keeping us fed and happy. Thank you for everything that you do. It's much appreciated.
Kyleena: I love you all. Thank you for so many years of support, and I can't wait to get back to you and get our family fired up again.
COVID-19 Community Response
As a family of electric cooperatives and public power districts, our distribution members reach consumers at the end of the line, many of whom have been directly impacted by COVID-19. To learn about our response, how our members are responding and the amazing work being done in communities across the West, watch our videos and read the articles here.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 46 members, including 43 member utility electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit www.tristate.coop.