Rocky Mountain Roastery by Seattle Brittain

rocky mountain roastery

In Fraser, Colorado I discovered the perfect coffee shop, Rocky Mountain Roastery. They serve a variety of drink styles at a marginally higher price than a typical coffee shop, however create an atmosphere of comfort, relaxation and provide originality in flavors and types of coffee. Being that they are one of the only small coffee shops in the small valley of Winter Park and Granby, they generate great business, yet still face many challenges daily. One of the main challenges they face is globalization. Starbucks is one of the leading coffee companies that are spreading throughout the United States and Worldwide. In 2018, there were 14,606 Starbucks stores in the United States alone. This means that there were 676 new Starbucks stores opened in 2018.

The convenience of familiarity and standardized pricing effectively drives small coffee shops out of business. Rocky Mountain Roastery is competing with two Starbucks stores within ten miles of each other and within ten miles of their business. Winter Park, Colorado is built to enhance the greatness of their long and harsh winters. There is a ski resort, the YMCA of the Rockies for families to stay and participate in winter programs, and many seasonal apartments and houses to rent to those who only stay in the Rocky Mountains for the winter season. The season between winter and summer is referred to as “Mud Season” or as most know it: spring. During mud season, a number of businesses close because it costs more money to stay open in comparison to their loss of business due to the loss of people staying in the valley.

With climate change, the winter in the valley is shortening thus resulting in businesses closing for a longer portion of the year. Rocky Mountain Roastery loses business throughout the spring, yet reopens in the summer and winter, however if winter is shorter, they are forced to close for a longer portion of the year. A large challenge that I believe they may face is having enough staff to run the business. Being that most of the property in this area is for seasonal renting, there is a small population of locals in the county. In 2017, there was a documented population of 15,321 people. Grand County has an area of approximately 1,869 square miles. On average, people will travel 11 miles for work. This leaves a surface area of approximately 380 square miles thus the population of workers available being 3,115 people available for work not counting other business that are in the area near the roastery. This leaves Rocky Mountain Roastery with little options for staff in the local aspect forcing them to involuntarily hire seasonal employees knowing they will have to replace the help in a short span of time.

I believe that running a small business is hard and specifically a business that is so common worldwide. Rocky Mountain Roastery is fantastic in their efforts at keeping a successful business despite the challenges they face daily.


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