New soda fountain to sweeten things up in Craig |

New soda fountain to sweeten things up in Craig

Lauren Blair
Cindi Crabtree stands in the new drive-through window of what will soon become Bear Coal Soda Fountain
Lauren Blair

— Amidst all the talk of economic development and business recruitment, one local business owner is getting to work on making Craig a sweeter place for residents and visitors alike.

Cindi Crabtree, owner of The Laundry on Ledford St., is preparing for a May grand opening of Bear Coal Soda Fountain. The business will offer ice cream, old-fashioned sodas, cream sodas, Italian sodas and some healthier fare, too.

“It’s a nod to my coal mining heritage,” Crabtree said. “It’s so sentimental for me.”

The name derives from her grandfather, Tony Bear, who homesteaded in the North Fork Valley near Paonia and started the Bear Coal Company.

The soda fountain will be housed in the back of the laundromat, complete with a stainless steel counter, bar stools, and a drive-through window for those just passing through.

“We will have truly everything that old-fashioned soda fountains used to offer,” Crabtree said. “People I talk to are so excited about it. Everybody I talk to has a soda fountain story.”

In addition to 13 flavors of Dreyer’s and Blue Bunny ice cream, the soda fountain will offer at least 26 flavors of syrup for sodas.

“I think Craig is pretty limited when it comes to going out to dessert with your family,” said Becky Smith, a local zumba instructor who will be dishing out scoops behind the counter once Bear Coal Soda Fountain opens. “This will have quality, a nice appearance, it will be delicious and will have that healthy alternative for moms who are like ‘I don’t know if I want to go out for ice cream.’”

With protein shakes, sandwiches and the addition of soups in winter, the menu will have something for everyone.

“I think it’ll add a healthy alternative and something completely different, which Craig just doesn’t have,” Smith said.

Craig resident Jeanette Gille has been another supporter of the project from the outset.

“Cindi has put her heart and soul into the new fountain in Craig. We are so excited to get Bear Coal Soda Fountain open!” she said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

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