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Indian Hills businesses worried Xcel outage will detour tourists at start of leaf peeping season

Colorado businesses prepare for leaf-peeping season
Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 01:07:07-04

INDIAN HILLS, Colo. — Coloradans and tourists alike will head to the mountains this weekend to peep the changing fall foliage. While businesses hope to take advantage of the increased traffic — one business feared it wouldn't be able to open its doors due to a scheduled Xcel outage.

"We gear with staff, we gear up with inventory," said Kiki Frisbie, owner of Mac Nation Cafe in Indian Hills.

Mac Nation Cafe is en route to one of Colorado's prime leaf peeping spots — Guannella Pass.

"Last year, this weekend was one of our busiest weekends of the entire year. We have to anticipate a big Saturday and Sunday this weekend," Frisbie said.

The business owner's anticipation was almost overshadowed by doubt.

Frisbie said around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, she received a voicemail from Xcel Energy notifying her of a planned outage from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for power line maintenance.

“To complete this work safely, we will need to interrupt electric service to your area," an automated voice said.

Xcel Energy confirmed to Denver7 the outage will affect Kittredge, Evergreen, Morrison and the Indian Hills area.

"I pretty much panicked because we gear up, we do the inventory, we prep and we bring staff on," Frisbie said. "You know, it affects a lot of people. All our staff, they anticipate tips and their their hourly-rate wages ... and just to have to close down on a Saturday this time of year is not acceptable."

Xcel Energy told Denver7 the maintenance was scheduled for Saturday due to crew availability.

Wednesday afternoon, Frisbie began calling county leaders and Xcel to see if a new maintenance date could be accommodated.

"I started calling around. I started calling the chamber of commerce, I started calling other businesses in the area. And I kept calling Excel," she said. "I got on Instagram, and my husband got on Facebook."

Come Thursday afternoon, Xcel offered to provide her restaurant with a generator.

"They said they would send an electrician and hook it up to the board," Frisbie said. "I'm anticipating we should not have any trouble, but I'm very anxious about it because if it doesn't work, we're back to square one."

Amber Hope, owner of Sit N Bull Saloon, located up the road from Mac Nation Cafe, told Denver7 she's hoping Xcel will provide her with a generator, too.

"We have to close most of the day on Saturday, but I still will have to pay my band and my staff," she said. "Restaurants have already been through enough."