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Gardiner business owners ready for summer tourism

Gardiner FOLO .jpg
Posted at 8:01 AM, Jan 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 12:44:28-05

Local businesses that dealt with the closures all summer long, and continue to be closed for the winter season, are optimistic but scared of what's to come this summer.

“I’ve ran restaurants for 14 years with nothing happening and then all of a sudden, it's one thing after another,” said Sharon Gilbert, owner of Cinnabear Bakery.

Gilbert had just finished her renovations at Cinnabear Bakery in Gardiner last year when things took a turn in June.

“We had just gotten into a good routine and the flood happened," said Gilbert.

Like many of the businesses in Gardiner that rely on summer tourism, the season came to an abrupt end.

“We didn't even have a chance to even make any money,” said Gilbert.

As Gilbert overlooks the same river that caused her business to shut down, she says she considers herself lucky to be staying afloat while her business remains closed.

“My husband still has his job but it's like I haven't gotten paid this year,” said Gilbert.

On the other side of the river, Rebecca Stoneberger quickly fills coffee cups with espresso shots. The owner of Bears Brew is one of the few businesses open during the winter season.

“Stressful. So I've had to be really creative on what I'm doing,” said Stoneberger.

She brews one cup at a time for the locals who she greets on a first-name basis.

“To really cater to everybody that is in our community. That's from locals to high school students to tourists,” said Stoneberger.

The countdown is on for summer but following Covid, a fire, and a flood in the last three years, they are optimistic but holding their breath.

“I am kind of a little scared about as long as we open up we get our employees and we don't have a natural disaster, or something happening to us again. I really feel that we're going to have an amazing summer,” said Gilbert.

In the meantime, Rebecca is looking forward to people walking and driving into the park

“I also am ready for the tourists that are going to come. I feel like the tourist activity is more at the end of the week. But nothing's guaranteed. So we're kind of all just taking it a day at a time,” said Stoneberger.