By Judy Lehn
In September of last year, in the middle of the recession, two strong women along with their families took on the ownership of a restaurant that had fallen victim to the downturn in Berthoud’s economy. Sharon Dowling, Shari and Bob Nixon, and Ed and Shelly Munholland, (Shari and Ed are Sharon’s son and daughter) are running J.B. Clymer’s Restaurant on Mountain Avenue and are pleased to be able to say that they see a sunny future in store. After teaching for 12 years, Shari is working on a Masters Degree at UNC in Greeley, and Sharon has a background in floral design and events planning. Sharon has some restaurant experience from Denver which has been vital to the success of the business. Somehow, they feel that fate has put them in the right place at the right time.
They thought long and hard about getting involved in the project, running numbers for weeks and watching the customer activity in the previous environment before making a commitment. Their good business sense, sunny disposition and faith in the future has paid off, because they report that they have been growing steadily since opening on September 1, 2009. They hit the occasional plateau, but their revenue has not dropped. This is good news for a business in a town that has seen business closures all along Mountain Avenue.
Shari and Sharon have a “can do” attitude about the daily activities of their restaurant. They want to fix problems rather than “band aid” them. For example, when faced with the water problems of last fall, they installed water filters in both the house and ice machine so that the ice would not reflect the odor or taste of the water. When the men in the group were too busy to install a garbage disposal, the ladies got busy researching the different disposals and did the installation themselves.
The family loves the Berthoud community and listens carefully to any suggestions or complaints from their customers. They want to make sure that they are serving good quality home-style food. They serve a zero trans-fat menu and want to add healthy choices as well for their customers who have requested them. They stress this fact, because they know the importance of customer satisfaction and because they are developing good relationships with their customers and want to maintain a warm and comfortable atmosphere.
Clymer’s participated in the 2009 “Christmas in Berthoud” campaign, offering free hot chocolate for residents to sip while they watched the parade. Just this week a couple came in for breakfast because they remembered and appreciated the gesture. Another advantageous event for the business was December’s “Jingle Mingle,” a progressive dinner co-sponsored by the Berthoud Economic Resources Business Retention Team, with the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce and Citizens First. The event brought in new business as well as old customers who were not aware of the management change.
Changes for the future are bringing excitement and anticipation. Plans include an expansion of the deck so that smokers will have their own section away from the entrance to the restaurant. When all is said and done, these are business owners who have enthusiasm about being a part of the community. They say “they need to know where they need to go” and what they have to do to get there. Right now, they are getting by on faith, looking forward to each new day. Their recommendation to other business owners is to “keep your spirits up.”
Good advice for those of us who are tiring of the status quo. These women and their family are definitely a light in the community. Maybe there is a lesson here for the rest of us.Print This Post