For some time now, a sign has been hanging in the front window of The Golden Cavvy at 538 Yampa Ave., letting patrons know that the business would be back soon. This week, another sign in the spot told a different story.
The Colorado Department of Revenue seized the assets of Craig establishment the Golden Cavvy Restaurant & Lounge on Monday morning in order to collect on the business’s unpaid taxes. A sign in the building’s front window, placed by a Department of Revenue representative, informs passersby of the site’s status.
The total due from sales tax and wage withholding tax is $7,313. The Cavvy, which abruptly closed its doors last fall, was purchased in 2009 by Craig resident Charlotte Gariner and her husband, Glen.
The Gariners have until Aug. 14 to pay the debt, at which point the assets will go up for sale at auction to satisfy the tax lien. The Gariners could not be reached for comment.
Also unavailable for comment was Harley Guess, the current owner of the building, who last November attempted to revamp the restaurant as The Baker House Bar & Grill, a venture that continued for about three months before shutting down, supposedly temporarily.
Although a note from Guess placed at the front entrance promised that the eatery would be back this spring, people downtown have yet to see any life there.
Guess’s son, Bill, who also was involved in the business, declined to comment.
With the likelihood of either the Cavvy or the Baker House returning now less than ever, longtime customers and neighboring businesses are unsure what to make of the situation.
Craig Mayor Terry Carwile, owner of Downtown Books across the street, said the Cavvy’s absence created “a huge void” last fall that still is having a ripple effect.
“Even when it was not in good shape, it still attracted a stream of traffic,” he said. “We still see people stop there who are looking for a place to eat and then walk away disappointed.”
The Cavvy’s early morning hours were a draw for the hunting crowd, as well as a number of regulars. Carwile said his late wife, Carol Jacobsen, used to refer to the morning crowd as “the blackbirds,” gathering to socialize over breakfast and coffee like a group of birds on a telephone line.
However, these loyal supporters were forced to flock to other restaurants, taking a good amount of business with them.
The Cavvy “really stimulated a flow of traffic,” Carwile said.
Several downtown business owners noted the lack of people at points during the day when customers would just be exiting the restaurant. A year ago, people would be ambling around downtown after eating, but aside from those eating at Chinese restaurant The Galaxy, that number now is much smaller.
“It’s just dead here now in the mornings, especially on Saturdays,” said Sandi Mansfield, co-owner of KS Creations.
Mansfield also bemoaned the loss of the Cavvy as an institution of the town around for decades as Craig’s ever-present diner.
“It was just good hometown food,” she said.
Liz Davis, owner of The Giving Tree, said she sympathized with the effort the Gariners and the Guess family went through keeping the Cavvy and later the Baker House going.
“The last thing I’d ever want to do is own a restaurant,” she said. “It’s a tough business.”
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.