Manitou is a heavy tourist area and the local businesses depend on the tourist high season months to keep their doors open. Due to the congestion our town receives from tourism and with Local First Grocer Cooperative’s (LFG) limited amount of parking spaces, we received a smaller amount of local traffic than we had anticipated. Thus, we discovered that over the course of the year our centrally located, lean inventory, progressive model could not compete with the easy access, diversely stocked super markets nearby. Our business model relied heavily on having wide spread community involvement, and sadly, we did not reach enough people quickly enough. LFG made huge strides to correct many of our unforeseen issues, but with being a start-up cooperative and lacking adequate capital to provide for unforeseen contingencies when the doors opened our uphill battle was ultimately lost. This winter had been especially hard with the extra snow and cold days, making shoppers few and far between. Without consistent daily sales, having less local produce available, and no reserve capital, new product could not be ordered, creating the quick downward spiral that has led us here. Please keep in mind that sadly even many well established Manitou businesses are struggling. To save our Manitou stores we need to make the effort to shop, support, and spread the word about our locally owned and operated businesses. After much deliberation, and exhausting every known opportunity to stay open, LFG’s board of directors has made the very difficult decision to close the doors of LFG. To those of you who shopped there, we thank you. To the many who regularly volunteered, we are truly grateful. For almost a year we helped support local farmers, backyard gardeners, and local producers who started with LFG selling their product to the public for the first time and now have grown beyond our store, and we have received so much thanks and appreciation for being the change we all wish to see in our markets :-D! We came to this decision with a heavy heart, and wish the outcome could have been different. Many lives were touched and many bridges were built.