COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - It's been quite the year for small businesses across Southern Colorado, but now that restrictions have been lifted most businesses are looking to bounce back.
Felipe's 109 Taco Burgers on South Academy Boulevard is one of the many local businesses facing a different challenge. During the pandemic, their food truck was booming, but now that they've opened a restaurant things have slowed down a bit.
The menu hasn't changed at Felipe's 109 Taco Burgers, but according to their owner, Felipe Velasquez, the dynamic of their business kind of has.
"As a food truck, we were able to get that bump of people coming in, when we opened up as a restaurant we were able to get a little bit of people coming in, but there is still that uncertainty with COVID," said Velasquez.
Velasquez first opened his food truck in May of 2020, around the time the pandemic hit and restaurants closed down. During this time, food trucks were doing fairly well.
"The restaurants closed down and that gave a lot of opportunities for food trucks to really shine and really be able to put their names out there. So even though it wasn't a great thing for the world, it was definitely a blessing for those in the food truck community," said Velasquez.
The food truck gave him the necessary funds to open his own restaurant. However, Velasquez says a lot of people are still hesitant to go to a sit-down restaurant.
"It has been up and down, you know there is still a lot of uncertainty with COVID. We have those people that are comfortable sitting in the restaurant and then we have those people who aren't so sure if that is the next step they want to take," said Velasquez.
Already established businesses aren't the only ones struggling. Businesses preparing to open in Colorado Springs for the first time find themselves facing an uphill battle. KRDO spoke with a new meadery pp the road on North Academy Blvd., Antelope Ridge Mead.
Made from honey, mead is a beverage that can range from a light beer-like carbonated beverage to a flavorful dessert wine.
Owners Dan and Nicole Kesterson have been working on this project for a couple of years. With the ups and downs they've faced, they are happy to see COVID-19 restrictions loosen up.
"We are really excited and hoping people are going to start getting out and seeing new places and stuff," said Kesterson.
Their challenges were similar to Felipe's 109 Taco Burgers', struggling with a rise in shipping prices, construction delays, and delay in equipment availability.
"One of the general contractors we selected kind of fell through so we had to get another one and construction did not start until January of 2021," said Kesterson.
It delayed their opening day, but Kesterson says they are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel for Antelope Ridge Mead.
"We are getting a can filler so we can do cans of mead, so we kind of altered our trajectory a little bit moving forward," added Kesterson.
Both of these businesses have one thing in common: hoping to bounce back during the rebound era.