Dulcimer Shop looks to web for hope

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Erin Ford and others dealt with a major woodshop cleanup after the Manitou flood last summer.

Erin Ford and others dealt with a major woodshop cleanup after the Manitou flood last summer.

After 40 years in business, the Dulcimer Shop in Manitou Springs has closed, and the Ford family is doing what they can to keep the adjoining woodworking shop falling into the hands of the Internal Revenue Service.

A profile on the popular crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.com surfaced Feb. 26 notifying the community that if its $25,000 goal was not met by March 8, the IRS would seize its assets — ending Cripple Creek Dulcimers, the production wing of the family business.

“The Dulcimer Shop is done, however our woodshop is not and right now we are trying to stop the vintage wood mill machinery from being seized at pennies on the dollar,” Bud Ford III said on the webpage.

The younger Ford explained on IndieGoGo that the shop that his father Bud Ford Jr. founded in the early ’70s closed Feb. 2 as a result of last summer’s Waldo Canyon flood, which severely damaged much of the tools and inventory.

He went on to explain how the troubles that started then led to the family’s current troubles with the IRS.

“Post flood we paid our employees rather than laying them off and didn’t have enough left over to pay the taxes to the IRS due to decreased business,” Bud Ford III explained on the page.

“In the past 40 years we have put on music festivals, sponsored and volunteered at the thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for 18 years and have brought countless hours of folk music and culture to the Pikes Peak region. As of December 31 we have ceased operations as a business and are under an IRS inventory and seizure.”

He did not indicate the cause of the debt, or whether it is in fact incurred to the IRS or the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Bud Ford III said on the site that upon meeting the goal, the company’s inventory would be distributed to those who made online donations.

“All funds raised here will go directly to paying this IRS bill and everything helps,” further explains the page. “Even if we can’t reach the $25,000 goal it helps us to make the bill that much smaller.”

Bud Ford Jr. and his wife Donna, a member of Manitou’s City Council, declined to comment on the issue, but said that they were not involved with the creation of the IndieGoGo account.

“There’s really nothing to talk about,” said the Fords’ attorney David Kelley, who declined to comment further.

According to data from the El Paso County Assessor’s office, the property is currently owned by Bud Ford III. The page indicated that the family had raised $22,316 toward their goal as of Wednesday afternoon — donations as small as $5 and as large as $1,000 from almost 300 folks — with less than three days to go.