Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
It is no secret that Elizabeth area is currently experiencing rapid growth and development. It is likely that the area will see similar development for decades to come. One concern among many Elizabeth residents is how the influx of new chain businesses will impact small “mom and pop” shops, some of which are long-standing local institutions.
Recently, the Elbert County News caught up with Barbara Riggins, owner of Cowgirlz Coffee Company located off Highway 86 across from Sonic. During a July 11 interview at her coffee hut, Riggins talked about several aspects of her small business, including how she feels it may be impacted by the incoming development.
Her one-woman business will face new competition when Ziggi’s Coffee, a fast-growing, Longmont-based regional coffee company, opens in the developing Wild Pointe Marketplace. The new coffee shop is currently under construction directly next to the Taco Bell east of Walmart and will likely be completed by the end of 2022.
Riggins is confident that businesses like hers can thrive, or at least maintain their level of business with the influx of new development. She says small businesses that place a lot of emphasis on the community will be the ones to survive and do well.
Riggins and her Cowgirlz Coffee Company have been serving the people of Elizabeth for six years. She also lives in the area and has two children who attend local schools.
“We have a really great community here. I have been very fortunate and blessed to be a part of it. I definitely couldn’t do this without them. With small businesses, community is vital. It’s important to keep everything personal,” said Riggins. “I really get to know a lot of people that come through here. Some are longtime customers that I see nearly every day. I also still get new customers all the time too.”
When asked if she had any concerns regarding the incoming competition, Riggins stayed firm that she believes her business will continue to thrive.
“Honestly, it is what it is. Growth is everywhere and I’m really OK with it. What I’ve found is that if you take care of your customers, they will take care of you,” Riggins said. “I work to keep costs down and I also use a lot of locally sourced products and items from locally owned businesses. People like that.”
Riggins also says her business has one big benefit that Ziggi’s Coffee doesn’t have: space. “For a lot of people, getting coffee is all about convenience, timing, and location,” said Riggins. “Because of the large open space surrounding Cowgirlz, I get the tractors, the buses, and things nowhere else can take. Luckily, no one has hit the building yet.”
Toward the end of the interview, an extensive line of cars was making its way around the coffee hut. Riggins had detailed conversation with each patron as she made their drink, and the Elbert County News asked patrons their thoughts on Cowgirlz Coffee Company.
“She brings life to our town,” said Drenda Herrick, local resident. “Even the people who don’t live here, she brings a smile. I could be having a really rough day, and she’d always touch my heart.”
Only time will tell if sense of community and personal allegiance will be the elements to allow small business to thrive and survive with new development. For now, businesses like Cowgirlz Coffee Company are succeeding and the people of Elizabeth will decide what happens next.