“We have fun running our business. And because we have fun as a team, we can keep serving our customers year-round.” The enthusiasm that exudes from Nancy Yandrofski as she talks about owning and operating the iconic Stage Stop in downtown Westcliffe is enjoyable and is likely the source of the business’s success as it enters its third year in operation.
The Stage Stop is one of those little miracles that give Westcliffe its small-town charm. Owned and operated by husband-and-wife duo Nancy and Joe Yandrofski, the Stage Stop has evolved from a shuttered ice cream stop into a bustling eatery. Serving coffee, breakfast burritos, and other fresh morning foods, the Stage Stop has continued to attract both locals and travelers. One of the notable features of this business is that they have managed to stay open year-round, a feat that was always impossible for former owners of the location. Besides having fun, a glance at the menu and the smell of the fresh food cooking has enthralled locals, and this author, regularly.
“We make everything fresh and to order,” explained Joe. “And because of the freshness and reasonable quickness of the process we have developed, we now offer breakfast and lunch.” And, of course, they still offer a great selection of soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, drinks, and much more.
Of course, the path from where they started to now has not been a linear walk in the park. “Right as we got going, COVID hit the nation, and we had to decide if we should open at all,” Joe stated with a look of reflection. “But we took a gamble that locals might want some good coffee and food to brighten up the otherwise quiet Main Street during the off-season.”
That gamble has paid off as a stream of locals order burritos and coffee to-go throughout the winter months. In the summer, the patios surrounding the stop are always full of guests enjoying frozen treats with family and friends.
“We had not necessarily planned on running the business when we bought the building. In our minds, we thought as we moved into retirement that someone would operate the business, and we would lease the building out.” Nancy recounted. “But during the Fourth of July, we decided to fire up the ice cream machine and see if we could sell some cones.” Those few cones quickly morphed into a full-time business open seven days a week during the summer.
It’s hard for outsiders, and maybe even locals, to fully understand the importance of having the Stage Stop open and operational. The location of the stop is one of the best in town, and all the years that it has been closed detracted needed vibrancy from downtown. Now, with the promise of a fresh brew, the Main Street of Westcliffe has more life than ever before. So, make sure that the little miracle that is the Stage Stop is on the top of your list as a visitor or a local. The freshness and fun of the place won’t disappoint.
– Jordan Hedberg