“SBDC was invaluable for our Poor Richards businesses during COVID. An incredible resource not only for Patricia and I as small businesses owners, but for many other small businesses in our City that were going through this crisis. I know, because I am the City Council representative for the most small businesses in our City (downtown and the Westside). I heard SBDC referred to and complimented literally dozens of times. Many of us would not have survived without them.”
That’s Richard Skorman, co-owner with his wife Patricia Seator of Poor Richard’s Restaurant, Little Richard’s Toy Store, Rico’s Cafe and Wine Bar and Poor Richard’s Books and Gifts in Downtown Colorado Springs. Richard is a former two-term City Councilmember from 1999 – 2006, former Vice Mayor from 2003 – 2005, two time Board Chair of PPACG, former CS Park Board Member and Pikes Peak Regional Director for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar.
Their space has evolved over time. Poor Richards Restaurant, Little Richards Toystore, Ricos Cafe and Wine Bar and Poor Richards Books and Gifts began as Poor Richards Feed and Read at its same location in downtown Colorado Springs in 1977. Originally they were also Poor Richards Cinema and Books, the country’s first and only bookstore/cinema combination, and the Country’s smallest Independent Movie Theater (55 seats) from 1982-1994.
Settled in the northern area of Tejon, Poor Richards is the perfect landing space for locals and travelers. Their space boasts of quaint greeting cards, gently used books, journals, thoughtful gifts and local artesian jewelry. One can grab a book and an iced mocha or a glass of wine while enjoying their outdoor space.
A man who continually knows the value of community values and customer service, Poor Richards boasts of reviews like this – “Variety of book selections. Plenty of locations to find a chair and peruse the books. Staff were friendly and helpful on finding subjects I was interested on. There is a cafe shop in between the book store and the toy store. It’s a cozy place to spend some time. I would recommend this place to everyone.”
2020 proved to be disheartening and stressful for many small businesses, especially those in a customer facing industry. With PPP loans and grants beginning to surface, Skorman knew the SBDC would have answers to questions regarding best practices and how to apply for funds.
“As with many other small businesses during COVID, we had to go through tremendous upheaval, laying off most of our 55 employees (many of whom had worked for us for decades), closing our Restaurant/Cafe for over a year and limiting our Retail operations significantly to keep our employees and customers safe. SBDC was invaluable. There were weeks when I would call or email with urgent questions about rules and protocols a dozen times. We were lucky to get a PPP loan, and SBDC was invaluable answering our many questions in order to get that loan forgiven.”
Slow to open and yielding to advice from El Paso County Public Health, Skorman was quick to shut down and slow to reopen to ensure the safety of his staff and customers. The space is difficult to physically distance so all entities offered curbside service and delivery during 2020. The restaurant is still not open but they have plans to bring back everyone’s pizza and salad favorites by November 2021.
As for advice he would give to business owners starting out or in maturity, “You aren’t alone out there. Use SBDC for anything that you need. They are up on everything and they give prompt advice that you can count on trusting.”