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  • Andy Hitch

Our Family ATV Rental business Hit Hard by COVID-19

There are so many businesses in Estes Park Colorado and the surrounding areas shut down. Some are even essential businesses. The problem is, there's no business! Big O Tires for example, is going out of business for good. I know a few others in the same boat. The SBA loan is just not a viable option. I mean, who wants to go deep into debt with the federal government leaning on all your assets?

My ATV rental company, Backbone Adventures was hit really hard. Our main season is spring, summer, and fall. Even though we are open in the winter, we lose tens of thousands of dollars every month. We only stay open so employees can have year-round work. It actually costs me $100K to stay open Nov-Feb. This means I need to save back $100k from summer profits in order to stay open. We rely on March and April because we are completely out of money by then. Thanks to the virus, we're in a tough spot.

The worst part of it is that people start booking their summer vacations in March and April. Normally, we'll book half our availability for July in March and April. All the bookings we did do in March had to be refunded 100%.

Thankfully, I saved a little extra back and I own all my equipment outright. So, I'm gonna make it. I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm not going to say it will be easy. I'll probably be living on ketchup sandwiches for the next 12 months, but I'll make it come hell or high water.

I really feel for those who aren't able to withstand this crisis. My niece for example, has a beauty salon called The Jes Salon that may not make it. She also has to work a job. She's an actor at a theater company that will be closing forever thanks to the virus.

I hope when this is all over, or when there is light at the end of the tunnel, we can support our local small businesses who weren't considered "essential". We, and our employees are taking a HUGE hit.

I'd also like to advise that you keep you eyes out for non-essential companies still operating illegally. I know quite a few myself. They are making matters worse for all of us. Putting politics and personal opinions aside regarding the virus and closure orders, had we ALL done this right and really got after it, we would have been much better off. Had we ALL shut down and played by the rules, (as sucky as they are) the closure orders would not be as long. I know one such company in a business much like mine, who has been busted by the cops for operating. However, they're STILL doing it. They're just hiding it better. I know of at least one employee who is sick. How many people has that person making sick? It just makes things worse for all of us. The real punch in the gut is that the owner of the company is extremely wealthy.

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