FARMINGTON – Three Rivers Brewery, open since 1997, has announced it will temporarily close because of the unstable business environment and strict regulations stemming from the coronavirus response.
The Three Rivers Brewery Block comprises a corner restaurant, taproom, pizza parlor and craft cocktail lounge on Main Street in downtown Farmington, and has been a staple of the community as home to one of the few breweries until recently.
“We have tried our best to remain open for the past few months, but have reached the point when considering all of the various government restrictions required to conduct business during this time, and with regard toward the safety of our employees and customers, we have made the difficult business decision to stop providing carryout service for now,” the establishment said in its announcement.
The owners, Bob and Cindy Beckley and John Silva, hope to reopen “when we feel the time is right,” possibly toward the end of summer.
The block of businesses, which was expanded over time with the most recent addition of the cocktail lounge, employs about 75 people. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the area and restrictions were placed on businesses, the pizza parlor and restaurant transitioned to providing carryout service while the dining rooms sat empty.
But the owners said its business model was “based on a social atmosphere and we cannot imagine being open without the camaraderies among our friends and customers.”
“I am sorry to see that they are closing temporarily, and we very much look forward to seeing them reopen as soon as possible,” said Jamie Church, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.
Before New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a statewide stay-at-home order and public health emergency in March, Three Rivers was already facing economic obstacles and a slowdown in business.
In January, the city of Farmington began work on its downtown revitalization project, which involved widening the sidewalks and transitioning from a four-lane road into a two-lane road.
The owners acknowledged the additional economic stressors, including “the complete Main Street project downtown destroying access to our businesses by their poor planning and execution.”
Construction for the downtown project shut down a large portion of Main Street to vehicle traffic and placed a chain-link fence within 5 feet of businesses’ front doors, making it harder for foot traffic to access businesses in the construction zone.
“It has been very difficult to navigate this perfect storm and to ride it out,” the announcement said. For that reason, the owners decided to temporarily close the business block with the hope of opening when the restrictions are not as severe.
Currently, state health regulations require restaurants to keep a record of the names, phone numbers and email addresses of customers and employees to help track the possible spread of the coronavirus. There are also restrictions on occupancy levels and game rooms are banned.
While not cited as a reason for its closing, businesses throughout the state were also faced with the initial phase of the minimum wage increase this year.
“We have shared so many memories, with great times, and we want that to be the case again in the future,” the owners said.