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As small businesses continue rebuilding, some are renting out parking spaces to RV travelers for extra cash

The Front Range Inn joined a platform called Harvest Hosts
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Posted at 8:30 AM, May 18, 2023

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Over the past couple of years, many businesses have had to get creative to make ends meet. The Front Range Inn in Lakewood is no different. But, instead of trying to make extra cash inside of the restaurant, they're doing it outside.

"Every little bit helps," Kevin Carpanini, one co-owner of the Front Range Inn, said.

The Lakewood spot has been around for more than five decades, but Kevin and his sister have only owned it for about one year, opening it back up in the past 10 months.

"It is a community spot," Carpanini said.

A spot that, despite its long history, needed clientele and cash when it reopened.

"It was closed for almost two years. So we reopened it and we had to rebuild the reputation of this place, we had to get people to know that it was open again," said Kevin.

Cooking up food and serving drinks were the obvious solutions. Renting out the parking lot was not.

"It's a really great opportunity for us to bring in some people that wouldn't normally come and stay and enjoy the place. So it's been a really awesome program for us to have these people and just get to know people that aren't in our community, that are driving through and to know where they've been, where they're going," Jen Rugh, the other Front Range Inn co-owner, said.

So in order to make some extra money, Carpanini and Rugh made the Front Range Inn a part of Harvest Hosts.

The platform allows RV drivers from across the United States to park their home on wheels in parking lots overnight.

Those places include restaurants, churches, even drive-in movie theatres. All drivers have to do is contribute to the business or place they park in overnight.

"They're just asked us come in and spend at least $20 in our business for the night that they stay. But it's usually more way more than $20 and they spend a couple hours in here and they do spend quite a bit of money and we enjoy having them here," Carpanini said.

Those overnight visitors bring in revenue, they also give Carpanini and Rugh new memories at the Front Range Inn.

"As somebody that values relationships in my life, I just think it's so cool to get to know people from all over the country and all over the world that you normally wouldn't get a chance to," Rugh said.

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