Have you ever seen anyone unhappy inside an ice cream shop? Chances are low. And if they are, they're probably there to cheer up. You can't help but smile when you walk into Scrumptious. We describe it as the neighborhood ice cream shop with absolute endless character. We chatted with Scott Spears about his pretty perfect ice cream and candy shop landmark in Longmont.
1. How and when did Scrumptious begin? Did you always have a desire to establish and operate a neighborhood ice cream/candy shop?
We opened in November of 2013. Our Longmont location was our second Scrumptious location (the first was/is in Olde Town Arvada). Since we were already doing it in Arvada, we wanted to spread the joy to more areas!
2. What’s your personal connection to Longmont, and why did you choose this community?
We were drawn to Longmont because it had a very similar feel to Olde Town Arvada, as well as that the owner’s father had worked in Longmont for years. The DDA was a huge bonus while looking at Longmont as our second location as they were extremely welcoming and helpful.
3. If you had to describe Scrumptious to someone who has never been, how would you do so?
Scrumptious makes everyone feel like a kid again. You walk in and almost everyone can see something that reminds them of their childhood. From candy, to ice cream, to fun novelties, there is no way to be in a bad mood at Scrumptious. But, its not just for kids. Big screen TVs playing sports entertain adults while their kids can look around. And the award winning homemade ice cream is a must!
4. Let’s talk about the ice cream. What makes Scrumptious’ ice cream a thing of beauty?
We use a super premium mix, and make it in a gelato machine, which puts less air into the ice cream making it more creamier. With that, we have come up with many signature flavors, along with many regular/everyday flavors, that really set us apart. These flavors include Elvis, Santa's Breath, Leprechaun Poop, and many others
5. Other than your own ice cream, who makes the best? Don’t feel geographically restricted here — we’re talking anywhere in the world.
To be honest, the gelato in Italy is the best. I don't know how they make it or what ingredients they put in it, but there is something about it that can't be replicated!
6. As a small business owner, what’s been one of the great challenges and one of the great successes of operating Scrumptious?
We have had many different challenges, but the greatest challenge has been COVID. We know has been really hard on everyone, employees and guests alike. We take the rules very seriously and it is hard to explain to guests that these are not our rules, we just have to enforce them. Obviously the shutdown was very hard on us financially, but mentally as well. We look forward to getting to the other side of this at some point. As for a success, it would have to be bringing so much joy to people. You really can’t be in a bad mood with ice cream and candy, and it feels great to be able to bring happiness to so many.
7. Finally, if you were sending an invite to the entire LoCo community to stop by Scrumptious, what would it say?
Come take a break from the crazy world with us! We have all of your favorite treats to take your mind off of everything! Escape into a cup of home made ice cream or your favorite candy!
A city is only as good as the pizza it serves - and Longmont, we're in luck because Rosalee's on Main Street lacks for nothing. As noted by the crowd waiting for a seat or their takeout order on almost any give night of the week. I got to ask some hard-hitting questions about pizza and it's a job I took seriously because I take pizza seriously.
Q: First, let’s start with the name: Rosalee’s. Where does it come from?
A: Rosalee was a famous cow from Wisconsin that was known to have some of the best milk in the state...or was it that Scottish fiddle player that moved to California to grow some of the finest tomatoes?
Q: How and when did Rosalee’s begin? Did you always have a desire to establish and operate a neighborhood pizzeria?
A: We opened in 2014, although the pie shop really started years before in our home. We knew we wanted to open a pizzeria, a place that was dedicated to great food, energetic and fun environment backed with awesome service.
Q: What’s your personal connection to Longmont, and why did you choose this community?
A: We have lived in Longmont since 2005 and have loved being part of the community and watching it change over the years. We are so happy to be part of such a welcoming and loyal community.
Q: If you had to describe Rosalee’s to someone who has never been, how would you do so?
A: Rosalee's is the kind of restaurant where you go to celebrate everything from closing on your first house to just the fact that it's Wednesday. You can reflect on the day's events surrounded by the flowers on the back patio or have lively conversation at the bar with someone you just met while having a great slice and cold local beer.
Q: Let’s talk about the pies. What makes a Rosalee’s pies (round or square) a thing of beauty?
A: A raging hot oven. Mozzarella shredded in house. Quality ingredients, starting with dough that's naturally fermented, killer plum tomatoes, and every pie is finished with aged Pecorino Romano cheese. Brings it all together.
Q: Other than your own pies, who makes a killer pie/slice? Don’t feel geographically restricted here — we’re talking anywhere in the world.
A: Modern in New Haven probably has our favorite plain cheese pie. So many places though. No pie is the same. Never grow tired of searching for the next favorite. Pizza is life.
Q: As small business owners, what’s been one of the great challenges and one of the great successes of operating Rosalee’s?
A: I'd say one of the great challenges is right now. COVID times have made us go from primarily a seated pizza restaurant to a predominantly take out pizzeria, while still operating out of 2 relatively small ovens (and no room for another). One of the great successes is meeting so many people in the community and being a part of their lives. Being here close to 6 years, has made that possible. It's definitely a big circle.
Q: Finally, if you were sending an invite to the entire LoCo community to stop by Rosalee’s, what would it say?
A: Do you love to spend some quality time hanging with family or friends in an environment that's crackling with good vibes and energy? You say you're into food made with love and intention? You're a lover of crisp, chewy, and cheesy pizza pies? It's on then! Let meet at 461 Main Street, ( Awesome Downtown ) Longmont, Colorado.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store shoppers throughout the U.S. saw bare shelves for the first time. They also had the misfortune of witnessing disruptions in agriculture, which affected supply chains nationwide. The problem at distribution centers and with outbreaks at meat processing plants, grocery stores suffered considerably. This may be the first time that many in Colorado saw first-hand what food insecurity felt like.
Some didn't suffer as much as those who depend on local grocers. These are the people who purchased food from Colorado ranches and farms, where they bought honey, grains, meats, eggs, dairy, flowers, and more items.
Having community-scale growers allows the farmers and ranchers to get to know the consumers who shop with them. They meet them and start to develop trust through their support. However, these local Colorado growers have a price to pay. They do not receive the same level of cost efficiencies that large manufacturing plants offer.
Since farmers grow such a diverse variety of items, it calls for a different way of meeting the needs of those whom they sell to. The land has to be worked by people. Local growers place put the environment and humans, over profit.
The sacrifices include such things as leaving areas on the edge of their fields for pollinator habitat and also to encourage ecosystem health. This gives them less harvest volume. They have fewer pasture-raised animals, but the animals have more room for roaming. With less production volume and fewer animals, this doesn’t offer them as many distribution choices and even fewer customers.
This is why farmers markets are so critical at such a time. They act as a bridge between the community and local growers. The markets are a great way of seeing just how direct access to food can benefit everyone in the community, made up of local ranchers, farmers, community, and food artisans. All share the same level of integrity and enthusiasm.
During the current pandemic, the farmer's markets, like every other industry, has suffered. Since many of the food stalls are close to each other, the configuration of the markets has to be rearranged and social distancing protocol has to be put into place before the markets can completely rebound.
In a recent survey, 74 percent of farmers' markets have earned less due to the pandemic with 93 percent reporting higher costs. This is a very toxic situation. It is predicted that many farmers’ markets will go out of business this year. If the survey and recent predictions are true then Colorado will not be spared.
Area growers will lose thousands of customers and support. Some farms will sell direct, however, they will lose revenue in the process of pivoting from selling to local markets. Farmers will have to create other types of income-generating ideas to survive. If this occurs then those who frequent the markets will have to rely on an anonymous food system, with no access to high-quality nutritious food items.
Some of the challenges we face during a pandemic while campaigning for politics is that fewer people will answer when they come in contact with campaign volunteers. Signature gatherers find it almost impossible to get people to pick up the pen to sign anything. Political parties are arguing about whether they should or shouldn’t cancel or modify conventions and assemblies. This is the scene of politics during a pandemic!
A major part of campaigning is canvassing and unfortunately, door-to-door contact seems all but, shut down. No one knows this better than Diana Bray, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who had to receive 10,500 signatures throughout Colorado. Her candidacy depends on the number of signatures she receives.
Many people don’t even want to hold the pen and if they don’t already have one themselves, they won’t sign the petitions. Some even want to know if they can sign online and unfortunately, they can’t.
The Governor of Colorado had to declare a state of emergency, which made the process of collecting signatures nearly impossible.
One of the ways that they have had to get creative when collecting signatures was to go to the person's home and allowing them to sign with his or her pen. The volunteers have gone to the houses of those willing to sign and they remain outdoors and allow them to sign without even touching the clipboard. While this is not an ideal situation, it is better than not collecting signatures at all.
Another problem that many experiences are the inability to get older volunteers, as they are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Many local campaigns have always relied on older volunteers, they are the most politically inclined of the Colorado population. Some senior volunteers are willing to take the risk but many politicians are not, in good conscience, willing to allow them to take the risk.
There are even younger volunteers with compromised immune systems who have had to be pulled off the campaign and replaced. Volunteers have been given the tools that they need to remain safe while working on the campaign, such as face-masks and hand sanitizer. Keeping these things with them not only helps to protect themselves but also protects those whom they come in contact within the community.
Colorado Democratic Party officials reported lower turnouts during caucuses and even those who were in attendance didn’t shake hands they bumped elbows instead. Gathering signatures and local caucuses are the way to get Democratic candidates on primary ballots. This was not an easy task to do, and even further disturbances are expected in the coming months, as we get closer to the presidential election.
How the future of campaigning will occur, as we approach the upcoming election, one thing is for sure, it will be unlike anything that we have seen before. In some instances, it may be better and in others, it may be far worse. At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Many in Colorado who are familiar with theater-style dining will be happy to hear that Boulder's Dinner Theater is opening back up with its cabaret-style shows. The Barton Brothers and Members of Face Vocal Band will be the first to premiere at the playhouse since closing in March.
Unfortunately, the theater industry has been seriously affected by the current pandemic. This includes the infamous New York Broadway theaters and the small-town playhouses. Many actors and actresses have suffered from loss of work.
Boulder’s Dinner Theater has been entertaining visitors since 1977. Also, being featured in their first show since closing will be The Stephen and Cody Show, which features Cody Qualls and Stephen Ross.
The theater's artistic director of Boulder's Dinner Theater said that the guidelines for having the performers 25 feet away from the audience and making sure that the performers remain at least six feet apart have altered what they can do on stage. Therefore, they determined that a cabaret-style act would work out just fine given the amount of space they have.
The show performance is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at noon, and an evening show later on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, pianists Dan and Jack Barton will perform. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, depending on the time and show.
With everyone being indoors and distancing themselves from each other, it has been challenging. Performers have suffered financially and creatively, as they have to rethink how they will perform. Now, they have to create new shows to comply with safety guidelines that help keep them and others safe. The performers are excited to be able to come together again to entertain.
While there have been some concessions made, which allowed performers to still perform via Zoom and similar platforms, entertainers thrive when they can perform in front of a live audience, which the Boulder’s Dinner Theatre seems very happy to help them do.
Qualls, who is one part of a duo, said that it will be their first time performing since the pandemic sidelined everyone. He admits that he is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and is sure to be inspired by those who came out in support of them.
Another local performer was scheduled to perform at New York City's Carnegie Hall for the first time. However, due to the pandemic, this didn’t occur. However, this didn’t prevent them from performing, as they invited fans to a virtual performance.
Now that the state is opening back up, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation of what is to come. The performers have been working hard to horn their skills. They will perform new sets and some old, familiar songs will be performed. The performers want to provide the audience with something that they have been long awaiting. The theater is hoping that they can offer open-air concerts in their parking lot soon. Stay tuned!
With all that we hear in the news about COVID-19, it’s easy to believe what you hear about the real estate crises, especially since so many are unemployed and unemployment benefits have stopped for many. Many are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see how much of a stimulus payment they may receive to tie them over until the next mortgage payment is due.
It has been reported that more than 400,000 Coloradans are at risk of being evicted. Many are indeed hurting, however, this claim is not true. The formula used to create this narrative is by taking the number of eviction lawsuits that have been filed during low levels of unemployment and rent rates, then exaggerate higher levels of evictions based on increases in unemployment and rental rates. The problem with this formula is that there is no relationship between the number of eviction filings, unemployment rates, or rental rates.
There are 5.8 million people and 627,000 rental units in the state of Colorado. Eviction filing rates are typically less than 0.5% of the state's rental transactions, which accounts for up to 3,000 eviction lawsuits filed every month even when we are not experiencing a pandemic. The number is stable.
There have been 38,353 filings in 2001 and 38, 183 in 2019, despite Colorado's population growth of 1.2 million during that time. Eviction filings have never been below 36,500 in a single year no matter what the economy is like. On record, the high was 50,220 cases in 2007, which was 37% above the state's all-time low.
Again, there is no connection between eviction filings and changes in unemployment rates. The eviction rate has remained stable despite the high unemployment rates. 2007 to 2010 saw unemployment rates escalate, and eviction filings fell. In 2010, while unemployment was at 8.7%, annual evictions fell and were 42,689, which is a big decline from 2007. However, unemployment was at 3.7%.
There have been some significant improvements in the unemployment rate between the years of 2010 and 2019 with a small decrease in eviction filings. The number of eviction filings will not increase with an increase in rental rates. Colorado’s rental rates have only increased by 2.2% since 2001, which is consistent with overall inflation rates.
If it exceeds inflation then it will reflect fewer housing units built to keep up with the population growth. On record, the highest eviction filings in Colorado were in 2007 with 50,220 eviction filings when the average rent was less than $900. When the average rent was over $1,000, there were 38,143 eviction cases filed. Over the past decade, rental rates have steadily increased and eviction numbers have been flat.
While evictions are probably, they are not as likely as most would believe. Simply put, it is not always in the best interest of the property owner to file suit. It is often too tedious and expensive.
After Meals on Wheels in Longmont, Colorado resumed services for hot meal delivery, they also began the process of recruiting volunteers. While we are still dealing with a pandemic here in Colorado, they are eager to see their clients face-to-face. When they stopped delivering meals in March due to the coronavirus, they knew they would need to make some drastic changes to protect the clients and their staff and volunteers.
They went from delivering hot meals to one-day drop off frozen meals. Even this took effort on their part, which required them to partner with local restaurants to create the frozen meals that would be delivered. A spokesperson for Longmont Meal on Wheels, Katie Wiser, admitted that she is eager that they are closer to things getting back to normal.
Longmont Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that offers affordable meals to people who are homebound. The cost of their meals is based on a sliding scale. The nonprofit provides approximately 500 meals a day, five days a week, and currently serves those living in Longmont and Niwot. They also help out the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund, a human services nonprofit. They provide meals to residents in Lyons and those in Hygiene.
Since providing them with assistance, the demand for help has increased. Just in March and April, the organization received 100 new clients who need free food services. The demand has only risen since then. With the increase in people in need of food and the fear of COVID-19, it leaves them in need of volunteers to make the food deliveries. Currently, the organization needs at least 10 delivery drivers to commit to delivering meals at least once-a-week. Volunteers are not required to work any set amount of time, they can help as often as they would like; once a week or monthly.
Reaching out for volunteers only became possible once the Centers for Disease Control and Boulder County Public Health released its guidelines. This meant that Meals on Wheels could put the proper protocol into places, such as temperature checks, face coverings, and social distancing, to safely go back into the building where nonprofit meals are prepared. Since allowing them back into the building, two kitchen volunteers have been allowed to cook and assemble the meals for delivery. So far, only these two Longmont Meals on Wheels volunteers have been allowed back into the building.
Volunteer delivery drivers will be permitted to stay in their cars, and the meals will be brought to them for delivery. The drivers will be required to use hand sanitizer after every delivery. In addition to offering food to those in need, Meals on Wheels volunteers offer some connection between the clients they serve in isolation, knowing someone is checking on them. The clients are excited to have Meals on Wheels back and look forward to their visit, as much as they look forward to the hot food they are delivering.
Businesses have suffered in Colorado college towns the hardest. Those who once had so much business that they had to outsource it to others, can barely get by due to the lack of business. Since May, one shop in the Campus West area saw sales drop by 80%. Without the students attending Colorado State University, it hasn’t proven beneficial to keep the doors of most businesses open since there is no one to use or buy their services. Without students or their family visiting and no graduations, the businesses have suffered tremendously.
Since the city of Fort Collins receives a portion of sales tax revenue, it has also suffered right along with many of the merchants in the college areas. Since there is so much uncertainty about whether or not the students will return to campus, there is no way of knowing how the economy in these areas will hold up. A lot will depend on whether there will be another COVID-19 surge in cases and whether or not students will be forced to resume classes online this fall.
The coronavirus has undoubtedly turned lives upside down. People have suffered as a result; businesses have suffered. The cities of Greeley, Boulder, and Fort Collins used to have a thriving and bustling entertainment and restaurant scene. When the University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Boulder, and CSU students were dismissed in March, the economy in their cities have suffered tremendously.
The cities had a combined university student population of roughly 83,000. Since those students have not returned to classes. Sales taxes in April have dropped more than 21% from the previous year. Although not every city in Colorado has suffered, they too have seen a significant economic downturn. Loveland saw a reduction in sales taxes of only 11.3%, with Longmont only falling to 12.1%. Although these are all significant losses, they are not as much as those experienced in the college towns.
A diverse economy that a university is capable of offering is usually a good thing. However, when at least 16% of the town's population suddenly leaves the marketplace, this means that thousands of students are not there to spend money in the local stores, shopping for goods and services, or ordering takeout from nearby restaurants.
Unfortunately, the restaurants and bars that are in and near these college towns receiving the biggest shock due to the sudden closures and lack of business. Unfortunately, many will not and cannot survive the current pandemic.
Even though the exact amount of students who had to leave is unknown, it was a large enough number of them that the economy shifted quickly and without warning. There has been a sharp decline in student enrollment, even for remote classes.
Many cities in Colorado have a mix of businesses that contribute to their economy, unfortunately, those cities that are primarily made up of students, have suffered the most. There is no ‘business as usual’ in a small college town, at least; not for now.
Many who are tired of being shut up in the house are starting to go outside but not too far, as the coronavirus is still very active. However, fresh air is essential to one's well-being. Even though many are staying close to home, it doesn't mean that they can't enjoy being outdoors in their backyard or on their terrace. If you are spending more time at home then you may finally have time to start that garden you've never had time to start.
Everyone can start a garden, whether they are in a house or an apartment. All you have to do is open the seeds, put them in soil, and start enjoying fresh herbs, flowers, plants, vegetables or fruit, in no time. There are other benefits to gardening other than enjoying the results of your labor. You benefit from being outdoors, breathing in the fresh air. While you’re working on your garden, you are also getting some exercise, likely moving muscles that you otherwise wouldn’t use. You could burn up to 300 calories per hour, gardening.
Garden retailers are saying that they are noticing customers who are visiting them for the first time. They have a lot of new customers who are learning how to garden for the first time. They are planting anything from houseplants to herbs and vegetables. Gardening is also something that can be done with other members of the family.
A manager at The Flower Bin in Longmont said that what we are experiencing today is similar to what was experienced during World War II when the government was encouraging gardening. People feel good about what they are doing, spiritually, and emotionally. Another garden retailer in Aurora says that gardening is great therapy and less expensive than a therapist.
Like anything that you are successful in life, you have to plan. You can start small with a few containers for flowers, fruits, vegetables, or herbs. Consider what you want to grow. Once you’ve figured out what you want to grow, find the right location so that you can receive maximum benefits. All plants require sun and some require more sun than others. All plants also require soil that can encourage roots to grow and moisture to drain. Without it, the roots can die. The containers will need a drainage hole.
Also, keep in mind that the outdoor growing season here in Longmont is roughly 160 days. When you're first starting, you may need a quick lesson from a local retailer. Most of them are very passionate about what they do and are happy to discuss what you need to do to grow whatever it is that you have chosen to grow.
A local retailer can also tell you the optimum time to plant. They can advise you of the type of soil to use and other important things. You can also go online to find out how to start a garden. The key is to just get started.