A lot along Dillon Road in Louisville was where many of the businesses destroyed by the fire stood. Some were there for years, others for just a few days.
LOUISVILLE, Colo. — More than 1,000 properties were destroyed in the Marshall Fire last December. Just eight of them were businesses.
A lot along Dillon Road in Louisville was once a small commercial property. While some owners have moved on to other locations, others are still recovering and figuring out their next move.
Meadow Tarves lost so much during the Marshall Fire, but she will tell you she gained even more.
“It really becomes obvious of all the time you kind of waste on things that don’t matter,” she said as she stood in her kitchen.
“This year has put all of us in transition and turned us inside out, and so I think everyone is just kind of trying to find their next chapter,” she said.
Tarves’ next chapter looks a little different since the Marshall Fire spared very little.
“This is our driveway right here,” Tarves said as she stood in a burned lot in Superior. “There was not much to see. It was a really a hot fire. We couldn’t recognize anything.”
Tarves and her family were on vacation when the Marshall Fire came through. She and her family flew back a day later. One year later, her neighborhood still looks unrecognizable.
“It feels literally like a warzone. Like, everything is just leveled. It’s not one thing that’s familiar,” she said.
Tarves and her family have been diligently working on the rebuilding process. Their permit was recently approved, but her home is not what she misses the most.
“I think for us it has been the business, because the business is what sustains your home. Without a livelihood you don’t have a source of rebuilding,” she said. “I feel grief over the home. I feel completely knocked down by the business.”
Like her home, Tarves’ medical spa never stood a chance.
“The old shop was right on the corner,” she pointed out at the location on Dillon Road. “The fire came up on that side and those trees. From what I can tell, everything was lost here.”
One year later, as she stood at the business she visited every day for five years, she didn’t feel pain.
“It’s been a while. We haven’t really come over here. Not by trying to avoid it. There’s no reason to come here now,” she said. “It feels like it’s a clean slate. It’s a nice location. I hope they do something with it. But it just feels like a closed chapter. I’m ready to be at the next spot.”
Tarves waited a year to do just that. The business owner moved her Louisville business to Superior, where construction was completed in December. Youthbar is now in a medical office building and brings a glow to Tarves she never had before.
“I love this hall because there’s so much light,” she said with a smile on her face. “I love how open it is here.”
As she walked around her new location, it was difficult to remove the smile from her face. Even when contractors complained of how much of a mess it still was, she had a different perspective.
“Nothing’s happened for so long. To finally see progress is amazing,” she said. “I see progress. I see success. I’ll deal with s***show. My life’s been a s***show the last year, so it’s that perspective again, this is nothing,” she said with a laugh.
Scott Boyd watched his business, The Rotary, burn to the ground from his phone. The fire was captured on the restaurant’s surveillance cameras before they were engulfed in flames.
“It was a passion project. This is our next step. This is the next step of what we’re doing,” he said of the restaurant that once stood next to Tarves’ medical spa. He owned the business with his brother.
The Rotary, a fast casual restaurant, was only open for 15 or 16 days when the Marshall Fire destroyed it. When 9NEWS spoke to Boyd a year ago, he said while the business being destroyed was painful, he was thankful everyone was OK.
“It feels like this is an empty lot that a business is going to be built on, not this was a business that burned down,” he said in December.
Boyd and his brother still own the original location of The Rotary in Denver near Cherry Creek. Over the last two months, Boyd said, they began talking about the idea of a second location again.
“It wasn’t maybe until like nine months [after the fire] where we were like, ‘OK, we’re ready to see what’s out there,” he said. “The place we’re looking at now is almost a hybrid between a food hall and a stand-alone, so that’s what we’re looking at to try and get the best of both worlds,” he said.
Boyd stressed how grateful he was to have the initial location to fall back on. While he does not know what that future holds, he’s excited to take another leap of faith.
“If we didn’t have this, it would have been brutal. It’s been hard with COVID and labor shortages and cost of labor and supply chain stuff, but it’s like coming back and having our thing still here, it wasn’t like we went from something to nothing,” he said.
“It’s been a minute without some kind of disaster, and yeah, fingers crossed that continues,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s next.”
Boyd said they plan to announce their second location in the coming months.
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