Meeker businesses offer mixed reviews on holiday shopping |

Meeker businesses offer mixed reviews on holiday shopping

Josh Nichols

A lagging economy and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds have been a concern of many in Northwest Colorado in the past year.

The holidays are here, and some Meeker business owners say they felt the impact, while some say business is good.

“We had a good hunting season despite everything that was going on and was said,” said Bonnie Kracht, an employee at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce. “With all the media bull that goes on, we were worried but hopeful and everything turned out great.”

But Rhonda Bartucco, manager of the Meeker Hotel and Cafe, said everything was not so great this hunting season.

“We weren’t as full as usual,” she said. “The hunters weren’t coming. It could be chronic wasting disease, it could be the draw and it could be fee increases.”

Jewell Kindler, owner of It’s a Rocky Mountain Christmas in downtown Meeker, agreed that business has been slow.

“Summer wasn’t as good this year and hunting season wasn’t as good,” she said. “And now we’re seeing it through Christmas.”

She attributed the slow down to the lagging economy in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

“It just started to pick up a little,” she said. “But I think the problem is people just don’t have as much money. Hopefully, it will pick up. We have three weeks.”

But Avis Loshbaugh, owner of Avis’ on the Corner in downtown Meeker, said business has been good in her restaurant.

“We really haven’t seen too much, in fact, we haven’t seen any kind of a slowdown,” she said. “We weren’t ever really concerned.”

Loshbaugh, whose cafe connects with the store Wendll’s Wondrous Things, said she benefits during the holiday season from shoppers that go into the neighboring store.

And Wendy Kiser, owner of Wendll’s Wondrous Things, said business was good during hunting season and has picked up this

week with the start of holiday shopping.

“We’re seeing a real effort made by local people who want to shop locally,” she said. “They feel it’s important that people know where the money is going to.”

Kiser said the talk of chronic wasting disease before hunting season had her a bit concerned.

“We scaled back a little,” she said. “But our numbers were the same as previous years. There was so much press about chronic wasting disease before the season but I didn’t hear any complaints. For most it wasn’t a concern.”

From her perspective as a chamber of commerce representative, Kracht said she thought Meeker businesses had everything people needed.

“We have some really reasonable prices locally,” she said. “I don’t believe I’ve gone out of town to shop at all the last few Christmases.”

If a shopper wants it, Meeker has it, she said.

“You can wander up and down Main Street and find everything you want here,” she said.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or

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