Aurora, Colo. — Months after an explosion and fire disrupted families living at the Parkside Collective Apartment Complex, the collective eatery right across from it is trying to stay afloat.
"We're really struggling" said Gina Di Tullio, the owner of Gina's Kitchen, one of the restaurants inside of the eatery, "All of us here at the eatery, we're afraid that we're not going to last the year."
The Parkside Eatery was supposed to be a place where the hundreds of Parkside Collective Apartment residents could go, and it was, until an explosion back in September of 2022.
"I had to evacuate within a week and so 500 of our clients were gone in a week," said Di Tullio "It was very disheartening, it was sad, because I had gotten to know a lot of the clients."
For months now, Di Tullio and the other small business owners inside of the eatery have tried getting more and more customers through their doors. They've organized trivia nights, karaoke nights, and have even tried to have events held inside of the eatery.
Di Tullio says these efforts have brought bumps in customers but never enough to keep them afloat longterm.
"There's a lot of people in Aurora still and we just weren't expecting to have to cultivate that other business. We were going to grow with these guys, and then reach out to the surrounding neighborhoods and we had to stop everything, when that happened, and start reaching out to all the other neighborhoods and completely change our marketing strategies," Di Tullio said.
So, for Di Tullio and the others in this building it's a chase for customers, before it's too late.
"It's just a matter of whether or not we can financially sustain ourselves until it gets full again," she said.
With their fingers crossed the apartment complex that sits right in front of the eatery, and was supposed to sustain it, reopen soon.