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  • Andy Hitch

Help Local Businesses in Estes Park

It is my opinion that this virus has exposed how most big businesses and corporate America treat their employees.

I won't name names, but even in a small tourist town like Estes Park, some of those businesses have not done right by their people.

Here's an example: You probably heard of the PPP (paycheck protection program)? This is part of the SBA bailout for businesses effected by COVID-19. Essentially, it works like this: The government gives a business 2 months worth of payroll and the money doesn't have to be paid back if it is in fact used on payroll. These are your tax dollars at work. The problem is, CEO's and presidents are employees of the corporation. I know a few businesses using that money to only pay the fat cat wages of the top people or just the CEO of some corporations in Estes Park.

Backbone Adventures is a corporation. I got the PPP money. Not only am I applying to it to all my employees, I'm also applying that and personal money to new employees I need to start off the summer season. I left nothing for myself.

Who am I to tell you what to do? All I can do is tell you what I'm going to do. I refuse to do business with big companies. Even if it costs me more money. Me, my wife, and daughter live here in Estes Park. We do all of our business around town. We tourist shop, eat out, and sometimes we even stay in cabins or hotels up here. Sometimes it's just nice to get out of our cabin for a day or two and not have to worry about cleaning, cooking, and taking care of our horses and dogs. We get a friend to take care of things so we can punch out for a bit.

There is a lot of California money in Estes Park. You'd be amazed how many hotels and retail stores are owned by out of state big money operations. I don't do business with them. And, I don't do business with businesses who shit on their employees during the virus.

Estes Park has dealt with disasters before. We have major forest fires which have shut us down entirely. We've also had major floods that have shut us down completely. As a business owner in Estes Park, you need to prepare for this kind of thing. Some of us did, and some of us don't give a shit and the employees take the hit.

My advice: Ask who you are doing business with.

1. Are you locally owned?

2. Did this company retain it's staff or pay unemployment during the lock down? Don't ask the manager. Ask an employee.

3. Ask how they are insuring things are disinfected.

As you know, disinfectant is in short supply. While others were buying up all the damn toilet paper they could find, my wife and I spent the shelter in place order downtime making disinfectant and ordering what we needed to operate our business once the lock down was lifted.

If you've read this far, you might be wondering what our stance is on this politically. Honestly, we don't have one. We don't have that luxury. I only have a three concerns and they require my full time attention:

1. Make sure my employees have a good job they can count on

2. Pay my bills and feed my family

3. Make sure my business can offer the best equipment and service to our guests

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