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BROOMFIELD, Colo. — From behind the counter of their mom and pop shop, Burritos To Go, a Broomfield couple has served food with a side of wisdom and love to those who need it.
Now, Mark Lamontagne and his wife, Cindy, are in need of the community as they fight to keep their business alive in a time where customers are few and family problems seem frequent.
"This is all we've done for this long, to have it fall apart, you lose everything," Lamontagne said.
He and his wife have owned and operated Burritos To Go since 2004. The couple runs the business with their three sons, one of which has special needs.
"We were thinking it would give him a place to always be able to work," Lamontagne said.
That hope is now clouded with uncertainty. The ongoing pandemic created a steep customer decline for the Broomfield business.
"It used to be about 100 a day, and now it can be just a handful," Lamontagne said. "We'd have 30 or 40 credit card transactions, and now we have like seven, so it's really dropped. It's not just slower, it almost seems to be getting worse lately."
The Broomfield restaurant is known for its unique burrito combinations, but even more known for friendships that Cindy developed with high school customers that frequented the business over the years.
"If anyone had troubles at home, they could come to Cindy. If anyone had troubles with a boyfriend or girlfriend, they could come to Cindy," Lamontagne said.
Restaurant walls plastered with customer photos are a testament to Cindy's loving nature.
"One day, one of them brought in a graduation picture and gave it to Cindy, and she put it up on the shelf... and the next day someone brought one, and someone else brought one," Lamontagne said.
During the past year, Cindy's health declined, and she couldn't spend as much time in the business. Lamontagne believes his wife's absence and ongoing health problems, which have required sporadic but temporary restaurant closures, have contributed to some of their losses.
"Cindy knows exactly what they eat, she knows their name, she knows their whole personality, their whole life," Lamontagne said.
For the past year, the family has also been dealing with their son's brain cancer battle.
"You just wonder, you can't understand why. You can't understand the timing of anything," Lamontagne said through tears.
Last year, Ben Lamontagne was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma only ten days after he turned 27 years old.
"The best part about it, if there is one, it can't spread cancer into any other part of my body," Ben said.
Throughout his own healing process, Ben still spent time working at the family business to make sure it stayed afloat.
"It's not something I want to think about it," Ben said about the business potentially going under. "It would be one of the worst things that our family would go through."
The Lamontagne patriarch remains hopeful things could turn around.
"We're at a low, we're at a very low point. We made it this far, but there's really not much left to you know. There's not much further to go down," Mark Lamontagne said. "Hopefully, things will turn around soon. We're going to stay here as long as we can."