Colorado

Feb 25, 2011 7:37 PM by Zach Thaxton

Pinon Truck Stop owner: "We're not able to do this anymore."

Unable to hold back the tears, the owner of the Piñon Truck Stop says the decision to close his business after nearly a half-century is as devastating as it was inevitable.

"It's a sad day for us," said Grant Koury, owner of Rocky Mountain Travel Center, best known over the years as the Piñon Truck Stop.  The venerable business off I-25's exit 110, ten miles north of Pueblo, shut its doors Thursday morning after 47 years as a family-run business.  Koury says he ran into a perfect storm of soaring costs, declining profits, and banks leery to lend.  "The banks in those days would loan you money based on a dream," he said.  "Today, banks loan you nothing, even if you are solid and established."

The decision to close what most locals refer to in short-hand simply as "Piñon" leaves around 40 people without work, some of whom have worked there for 25 years or more.  "A lot of good people, fine people, are out of work," Koury said while choking back tears.  "They have kids to feed."

Koury says he and his business simpy ran out of money as fuel prices and other expenses soared.  "When you can't pay your staff, it's unfair to keep working them and I knew I couldn't meet the last few days of payroll."  Koury says he is considering setting up a donation fund to help cover the cost of final paychecks.

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