Business owners in Fort Collins brace for winter weather impacts

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FORT COLLINS, Colo.— As of Friday evening, predictions hold steady that regions north of the Denver Metro will see the brunt of the winter storm and city officials in Fort Collins are urging residents to stay home.

“Residents are encouraged to avoid driving this weekend if possible. If you must travel, ensure your car is prepared for winter weather and carry an emergency kit,” a statement on the Fort Collins government website says.

The city’s underground electric lines mean power outages are less of a concern, but that didn’t stop business owners from preparing for potential impacts.

“If we lose power, there will definitely be challenges. Everything that we have is hooked up [to] electrical to keep the coffee hot. We’re innovative, so we’ll probably wrestle up a generator if it’s necessary,” said Amy Snider, owner of Cups Community Coffee.

She and her husband plan on keeping the business open through the weekend.

Carol Cochran of Horse and Dragon Brewing spent the better part of Friday preparing for any potential outages.

“If that [power] goes out, we’re in a little bit of trouble this weekend, and we’re hoping it doesn’t,” Cochran said.

Cochran said the quality and taste of their beers depend on a glycol chiller machine, which stabilizes temperature.

“I’ve got a crash course in how to reset the glycol chiller if we have a brown out or a black out, and that’s our biggest concern this weekend,” Cochran said.

While the city’s decades-old, underground electric lines spare most residents from hours-long outages, Cochran said their brewery’s location on the city outskirts makes them vulnerable.

“For our product, a rise in temperature during fermentation would be a little bit of a disaster. We would have to dump those beers.” Cochran said. “We all need a better 2021, but, again, we’ll go with the flow. This is nothing compared to 3 months of wildfires. This is a single storm and, hopefully, it’ll be milder than they anticipate, but it is just one more challenge.”

Fort Collins has activated its emergency weather shelter plan from Friday night through Monday morning. Anyone seeking overnight or daytime shelter should click here for additional details.