Craftwood Inn suddenly closes doors

IMG_5214CCThe Craftwood Inn, a longtime staple of the Manitou Springs community, closed suddenly Sunday after more than 70 years in business.

Owner Dave Symonds, who purchased the eatery at 404 El Paso Blvd. in 2003, was noticeably distraught Tuesday after shutting the Craftwood’s doors for what might be the last time.

“It’s a real shame,” he said. “We’re heartbroken over this. … hopefully there will be another Craftwood Inn.”

Symonds said that the once-successful business had been bleeding money as of late due to two long, tough tourist seasons.

“When you own a business, you just think that around the corner will be what makes the difference,” he said. “It’s just been two summers of really difficult times affecting the money we make. There is no money in the winter because this is a tourist town … [then] the fires and floods kept them away. It eventually just caught up with us.”

He and his wife Kathy had been trying to sell the property for the past six months in an attempt to save the dying business, Symonds said. The 7,228-square-foot building, which sits on about 1.13 acres, is now listed for $1.45 million on the RE/Max Commercial website.

“The Craftwood Inn offers fine dining, banquets, weddings and receptions for up to 175 guests,” according to the listing. “Historic Arts and Crafts Building and English Tudor Mansion in a magnificent setting with panoramic views.”

Symonds said the couple plans to continue running the Stagecoach Inn at 702 Manitou Ave. — for which they paid $1.15 million in 2006 — until a buyer is found for that property. That 6,748-square-foot restaurant and .65 acre lot in downtown Manitou are listed are also listed online by RE/Max Commercial for $1.35 million.

“This English style pub has a creekside patio and cozy fireplace,” according to the listing. “Steeped in Colorado history the facility is large enough for receptions, banquets and bus tours with seating capacity of 150 inside and an additional 90 on the patio.”

Since opening in 1940, the Craftwood Inn had become known as one of Manitou’s premier spots for fine dining and was awarded Best Restaurant by the Colorado Springs Independent just months ago.

But despite a five-star reputation in the local community and beyond, Symonds said that it became impossible to attract guests — some days seating no customers at all.

“I’ve been in this business for 30-plus years — it’s just mind-boggling,” he said.

As for what is next for Symonds, after the Craftwood and Stagecoach, Symonds isn’t sure.

“This is a very stressful time, and this is uncharted territory,” he said. “We’re just scrambling to find places to find places for the weddings that we’ve had booked … and get the Craftwood Inn settled down.”

8 Responses to Craftwood Inn suddenly closes doors

  1. Wow, very sad. Where’s the support from local government for small business owners? I know let’s raise taxes, that should help. (Sarcasm)

    Taves Maciel
    March 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm

  2. We are a new wedding venue 40 minutes west of Colorado Springs. We will offer a 50% discount to any couples effected by the closing of Craftwood Inn. Google ‘Tihsreed Lodge’ to find out more information about our wedding venue and call us at 719-839-0660 to schedule a time to come out and see the lodge, barn reception area, and hideaway apartment. We understand how upsetting this must be to the couples and how difficult it is for them to have lost their deposit money. We will do all that we can to help these couples! It will be a great way for us to start off our new business and be able to help others out of a bad situation.

    Our lodge sleeps 20, has a reception barn (1200 sq. ft) and comes with the use of 70 chairs and 14 tables. We have an on site officiant and can help couples with photographers, bakers, florist, and caterers.

    Toni Blackwell
    March 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

  3. The historic Antlers Hilton is also giving discounts to help brides, grooms and families that have been displaced by the closure of the Craftwood Inn. Please contact me at 719-455-6251 or amber.kerkman@hilton.com. I look forward to assisting you and helping make your wedding day perfect.

    Amber Kerkman
    March 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

  4. Unbelievable. We’ve been going there for over 25 years, I am truly heartbroken. My favorite dining establishment of all time… TRAGIC!

    Clyde Smith
    March 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

  5. The owner, Dave Symonds, has been a tumor on Manitou Springs. Do not let him make a fool out of you. He owns the Stagecoach as well, so his financial straights are all smoke and mirrors. He is doing this to get rid of the massive amounts of debt he has irresponsibly amassed. He is the “house flipper” of restaurants.

    Any business person knows the condition of their business long before they go belly up. For him to take honest people’s money for weddings he most likely knew his business wasn’t going to be around for in deplorable. I call this fraud.

    The Stagecoach needs to go under as well. A boycott is in order.

    Frank Rizzo
    March 14, 2014 at 7:54 am

  6. Briarhurst is just a a few hundred feet away and has twice the capacity of the Craftwood has hosted more weddings than and other venue in the Springs, with one exception; the Broadmoor Hotel. Our banquet staff is experienced and professional most of which have been here for nine years or more and our baker makes extraordinary cakes. Please call us for availability. 719-685-1864

    Ken Healey
    March 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

  7. My husband and I have been going to this restaurant for the last 16 years for our anniversary and birthdays. The last 4 years, the food was just “ok” but the ambiance was nice.

    We went to the Craftwood Inn this past valentine’s day and what a joke that was. A majority of the items that were advertised for this dinner were not available. The scallop appetizer was 1, yes 1 medium scallop on a plate! The manager was dealing with so many complaints that night, that we just paid our bill and left, without complaining. We disputed this bill with our credit card company and did get a refund.

    For anyone who has paid the large deposits for weddings, etc, please file a police report! This information will eventually get to the District Attorney’s office and maybe you can get some satisfaction BEFORE the owner files bankruptcy. Good Luck to the people who gave deposits.

    Debbie Parr
    March 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm

  8. The Outlook Lodge wants to help couples whose weddings have been displaced by the sudden closing of the Craftwood Inn in Manitou Springs. We are offering 50 percent off our normal buyout rate of $1,475 per night for any couple whose wedding was scheduled to take place between now and the end of April at the Craftwood Inn. For this rate, the couple will have exclusive access to our six guest rooms (sleeping up to 16); kitchen; living, dining and event space (ideal for intimate rehearsal dinners, cocktail parties and receptions); laundry room; and outdoor entertainment space, including a large wraparound porch; dining area with a grill; and gas fire circle.

    Our onsite wedding coordinator can also assist couples with locating ceremony space at the nearby Gazebo on the Lake, Church in the Wildwood, Mountain Road Corner, the Holy Rosary Chapel and other scenic locales just a short distance away, as well as secure one of the local caterers for pre- and post-wedding events.

    For more information, contact us at (855) 463-2557, or visit http://www.outlookgmf.com. Valid through April 30, 2014. Minimum two-night stay. Based on availability; some restrictions apply.

    Outlook Lodge
    March 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm