Mancos businesses miss the love during water crisis

Sam Green/Cortez  Journal

Mancos residents learn about the water situation in town at a special meeting. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal Mancos residents learn about the water situation in town at a special meeting.

The water crisis made for a bittersweet Valentine’s week in Mancos.

The town was without drinkable water for five and a half days, and many restaurants were forced to close for several days. Some missed all their Valentine’s Day business.

“It sure did shut down our little town for a couple days,” said Melissa Blaine, a manager of Absolute Bakery.

Limited nonpotable water service water returned Tuesday evening, and the boil alert was lifted Friday afternoon. This allowed residents to flush their water lines and ended the crisis.

Much of town life ground to halt, and schools, clinics and many businesses closed.

Olio and Millwood Junction were still closed Friday because of the outage.

“Valentine’s Day is a day that helps us get through the winter,” said Rena Wilson, who helps run Olio.

Olio had planned a special menu for couples and had to cancel all reservations, said Wilson, who is also president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Millwood Junction management posted a sign on the front door apologizing and stating that the restaurant hadn’t missed the holiday in 36 years. The sign said the business would reopen Tuesday.

Other businesses including Absolute Bakery, Fahrenheit Coffee Roasters and Zuma Natural Food reopened by the end of the week, but with limited services.

Zuma’s deli and espresso bar were closed throughout the outage, but the grocery side remained open, said Linda Mount, an employee. Zuma pulls in many customers from the highway.

She said business was hurt, but it would have been worse the grocery store side had shut down completely.

“Nobody was really huffy,” she said.

Absolute Bakery missed three days of business, and things were slow when they reopened, said Blaine, who runs the store with her father.

Three days of missed business can impact a businesses budget for the month, she said.

“It threw a wrench into our day-to-day,” she said.

An owner of Fahrenheit, Matt Lauer, applauded the town’s efforts to help residents by bringing in portable potties and the water tanker shortly after the water outage started. But closing Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday hurt his business. Even on Friday, it was slow.

“We lost a lot of money this week,” he said.

At Ted’s Tacos, water flowed from a cistern all week, and it stayed open.

“I was lucky,” owner Ted Lawrence said.

But Lawrence saw far fewer customers Monday and Tuesday because everyone assumed it was closed. Business started to pick up later in the week.

The outage started on Sunday after a pump at the water treatment plant failed. A new pump was brought in from California and installed Thursday.

When limited nonpotable water started to flow Tuesday, Town Administrator Andrea Phillips presented the good news to a full town hall.

Phillips acknowledged that businesses had been hurt during the water outage, and she said she’d been asked to prepare a letter for businesses to send to insurance companies.

She also said she would work with the Chamber of Commerce to organize a Mancos “cash mob” to encourage people from out of town to visit and shop.

mshinn@cortezjournal.com

Seen through the manhole, Tom Nunn hooks up the electrical wires to the new 20-horse power pump to get the water flowing to Mancos residents. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Seen through the manhole, Tom Nunn hooks up the electrical wires to the new 20-horse power pump to get the water flowing to Mancos residents.