Tamale Town ends short time in Craig business scene | CraigDailyPress.com

Tamale Town ends short time in Craig business scene

Owner: ‘Misjudged’ customer volume

Tamale Town at 351 Ranney St. in Craig officially closed Tuesday following less than two weeks in business. This is the third restaurant to shut down operations in the location in the past year.

Another Craig dining establishment has closed its doors, this time after being open for business less than two weeks.

Tamale Town, 351 Ranney St., officially shut down operations Tuesday, only 12 days after its soft opening on Aug. 27 providing tamales, tacos and quesadillas to Northwest Colorado.

While owner Rachel Cook said she and her husband, Adam, had high hopes for the establishment but said she "misjudged" the type of community response there would be.

"My husband and I put a lot into this, and the volume wasn't there coming in the door," she said. "We chose to get out while we could to take care of our obligations to our employees and vendors who we owe money to. We still feel very happy with the feedback we got from the community."

The restaurant had a dozen people on staff serving up the menu of delicacies, and though the turnout from customers was positive, the exact numbers were far different than what the Cooks expected.

"My background is in accounting, and we needed to have sales of about $1,500 a day to break even and our average sales were just about $800 a day," Rachel said. "That's a pretty big shortfall when you average that out."

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The business was not a long-term goal for the couple, but it was a project they were excited about trying in a time when the circumstances seemed in their favor with tamales a hit at the local farmers market.

"We had a product we thought would do well, and we figured nothing ventured, nothing gained," Rachel said.

The decision to close was an abrupt one, she said, but one that had to be made before the financial situation became drastic, requiring a sizable loan just to stay afloat.

"Everything was in line, but that's all predicated upon volume of people coming in the door," she said.

Rachel said she believes a different environment might have had a different result and that the type of restaurant she had in mind would have worked better in a resort town.

"Someplace like Glenwood Springs or Avon or Silverthorne or somewhere where there's a little bit larger population and definitely a larger population of visitors, I think it would have been more successful," she said. "The economy here compared to other parts of the state is still a little depressed even with the good news about Colowyo, which is wonderful, but I think Northwest Colorado is its own animal."

Having her 3-year-old daughter temporarily hospitalized with complications from an autoimmune disorder shortly before Tamale Town opened was also a factor though more a personal one than business.

"It certainly contributed to my stress level," Rachel said.

With two small kids — the older one is on the mend after a trip to the Emergency Room — Rachel plans to devote her energy to being a full-time mom.

The closure of Tamale Town comes about after another business in the Ranney Street location shut down earlier this summer, Stacks Smokehouse, which ended its run in Craig in June after opening in early 2015, with owner Steve Fulton choosing to close citing a downturn in customers.

Prior to that, the building housed Double Barrel Steakhouse for more than two years before Pat and Ann Marie Roberts opted out of the game for family reasons.

From 2001 to 2012, the spot was the home of Mexican eatery Casa Loya, and the property is still owned by the Loya family.

Stephanie Etzler, co-owner of Carelli's, weighed in on the latest closure, saying the news shocked her after sampling Tamale Town's food and seeing the effort put into the business.

"It's crazy, I didn't believe it," she said, noting that she would have liked to see the Cooks stick it out for several more months.

A greater amount of local businesses is something the area can always use, Etzler added.

"The more the merrier, right?" she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

Timeline of 351 Ranney St.

February 2001 to July 2012 — Casa Loya

August 2012 to December 2014 — Double Barrel Steakhouse

February 2015 to June 2015 — Stacks Smokehouse

August 2015 to September 2015 — Tamale Town

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