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Entrepreneur turns pizza shop into free farmers market to help feed ski town

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 10:50:26-04

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Crested Butte, Colorado is a ski town with aggressive ordinances now in place to help in the fight against coronavirus.

“I ended up getting laid off from the job that I had,” said single mother Lizzie Corbin-Blackburn. “I know so many people that got laid off. I’m still waiting for the unemployment and I have two kids.”

These new laws cost Corbin-Blackburn her job and left her searching for ways to put food on her table.

“I normally would not need the help but a lot of us do right now,” she said.

Now, a local entrepreneur is answering the calls for help.

“A lot of people are scared. A lot of people don’t want to reach out. They’re embarrassed that they need help,” said Kyleena Falzone, who owns two restaurants in the resort town. “I want to squash that stigma.”

Falzone says Crested Butte relies heavily on tourism dollars. And when the strict locals-stay-at-home and tourist-stay-away orders went into effect, she had to lay off 130 employees.

Despite the lost revenue, Falzone did not lose hope. Instead, she transformed her pizza shop into a free farmers market.

“I was broadcasting live every single day at 4:30 on Facebook asking for donations,” she said. “Asking for people to help feed our community. Then the donations started coming in.”

Donations from people like Paul Adams.

“If you can afford to help these people now the question is why wouldn’t you rather than why would you,” he asked.

This semi-retired legal consultant and others are now making it their full-time mission to help this community overcome this adversity.

“I think we can assume this or a tweaked version of this will carry on for as long as there’s a need,” Adams said.

The free farmers market is open every Saturday at Falzone’s Secret Stash Pizza location where hundreds of people stock up on free food.

Falzone plans on expanding her efforts outside of the area and stretching donor dollars as far as she can

“I’m not waiting for government checks,” she said. “I’m hustling.”

Hustling to feed her community while inspiring others to do the same.

“People should not wait for the government to bail you out,” she said. “Stop waiting around. Get creative, start brainstorming with your friends.”