Steamboat Springs Merrily's, a restaurant tucked into the Routt 66 building in west Steamboat Springs, closed earlier this year because of staffing shortages.
The breakfast and lunch joint had been open about a year and shut down March 30, co-owner Ulrich Salzgeber said. He owned it with his wife, Janet, and Manager Merrily Waldron.
"Let's just say that there are some other reasons, but primarily it was that we had a hard time getting employees and someone who could staff it so that it could be open appropriate hours," Ulrich Salzgeber said.
The restaurant had been open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The equipment still is in the building, and Salzgeber said the owners probably would aim to lease it out to someone. The Routt 66 building adjoins Alpine Taxi on U.S. Highway 40.
"I still think there's an opportunity for somebody on the west end of town to put in something," he said. "As long as they can get the staff to run it, I think it would do really well."
The restaurant did OK, he said. TIC ordered a couple of times a week, and Merrily's had several regular customers.
"It was just putting too much of a strain on Merrily," Salzgeber said. "She felt like she had to almost live there."
Salzgeber said he owned a restaurant about 40 years ago in the Lakewood area. He was able to draw from a labor pool of high school students. Steamboat is much more competitive, which made hiring tough, Salzgeber said.
"The labor market and then trying to find somebody reliable" were the challenges, he said. "They have so many options that they can look elsewhere."
Those job opportunities create a decent scene for his college-age daughter, however, Salzgeber said. A friend of hers headed to Steamboat from Fort Morgan to find a job for the season.
"Up here, you can make really good money in the summer season," he noted.
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