Adapting becomes new business model for Fort Collins barbecue restaurant

Posted at 4:47 PM, Aug 07, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Adapting has become the new business model for a local barbecue restaurant in Fort Collins.

Located inside of Munchie's Market near Colorado State University's campus, JoJo's Colorado BBQ and Sandwiches opened on March 20, just days after Governor Polis's order for restaurants to shut down.

They were able to secure all the permits and paperwork with the health department as well as a business license the day before the office closed.

“Just a lot of hope and heartbreak," said Sabrina Hulm, co-founder of JoJo's. "You see a lot of the businesses around you, a lot of restauranteurs are having to shut down their business, and really regroup and figure out how to do it in COVID, but we really got to shape it around this pandemic."

Hulm and her husband, Craig Henry, have dreamed of owning a restaurant together since both have years of experience in the service industry.

The namesake of the restaurant is the couple's 5-year-old child, and Hulm said they wanted to create a family-oriented place that serves quality food at an affordable price.

JoJo's makes everything by scratch, along with a menu designed specifically for Colorado's dry climate.

“We really wanted to coin ‘Colorado BBQ,' because we feel like anything you do here it has to be at high altitude,” Hulm said.

She said that social media was key in getting the word out about their business and attracting new customers.

"We couldn’t hand out fliers, and there was no marketing to be had when all of this first started," Hulm said. "So we really just had to shout it from the rooftops we’re here and we’re open we’re ready to serve you.”

As a restaurant located inside of a convenience store, their business was already going to be geared towards take out and delivery. "We didn’t have to shut our restaurant down, and redo everything and fire a bunch of people," Hulm said. "We had a lot of disadvantages but we also had a lot of advantages because we could really shape this concept around what it needs to be for the time.”

“One thing I’ve learned I guess through all this is we’ve heard all the stories of all the loss and struggle and heartache but there’s some really great ones mixed in as well of strength and perseverance," Craig Henry said. "Small business may not be, but we believe the human spirit is pandemic-proof.”