Kiowa County businesses adapt to order from Gov. Kelly

Hannah Brown
Haviland children of Justin and Shelbey Kendall enjoy treats from Origins Coffeehouse at their home, courtesy of free to-go and delivery service now available to customers in the local area.

Several businesses in Kiowa County, Kansas are changing the way they operate after Governor Laura Kelly announced a stay-at-home order for all of Kansas. The order took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30.

Origins Coffeehouse in Haviland started curbside service and free local delivery on Monday in response to the orders. Owner Katie Anders said the delivery service has been very popular so far, allowing residents to stay home.

Anders is mostly concerned with elderly people in the community, and it’s hard to know where customers have traveled before entering the coffee shop located just off Highway 54 on Haviland’s Main St.

“I’d love to continue offering delivery. If we hadn’t been forced to go that route, we may have never tried offering that and I think that could be huge for Origins in the future,” Anders said.

“I’d like to hope things go back to the way they were, but who knows. It’s in God’s hands.”

As many families in the area adjust to online schooling from home, Shelbey Kendall contacted Origins to provide a special boost for her three young scholars.

“They were very excited to get a sweet treat to kick of this schooling from home adventure,” Kendall said.

The best part was staying safe and still being able to support a local business during these times of change.

Another Kiowa County business adapting to the new state order was the Big Well in Greensburg. The museum and popular tourist attraction has temporarily shut their doors to visitors for the health and safety of their employees.

“It has been a little bit of a challenge adjusting to not having visitors coming into the Big Well on a daily basis and I am looking forward to the day we can open our doors again,” said Caitlin Matile, Greensburg’s Convention and Tourism Director.

Normally this would be a very busy season for the Big Well as many families on spring break and school groups visit the Big Well for field trips.

Matile said she anticipates it will take some time to get back into the normal routine after the order is lifted and it is safe for employees and visitors alike to visit the Big Well.

“Hopefully, everything will be up and running for a busy travel season come summertime,”she said.

So far this year, The Big Well hosted 1,165 visitors. The week of March 13-19, 175 people came from 14 states and Germany before the museum closed.

Another popular attraction point in Kiowa County, the Greensburg Twilight Theatre and Community Auditorium, has closed for the time being, despite economic repercussions.

“We are closed for now to protect our community from this pandemic,” said manager George Ryan. “All our scheduled events will be rescheduled when it is safe to do so. Many tickets have been sold for these events and they will be honored for the events when rescheduled.”

Ryan said that being a boss has never been tougher than when he had to lay off all his employees, including himself, as he did last week.

“That was one of the most painful decisions I have had to make. All small businesses fighting to survive, with no money coming in and monthly expenses still coming in we are all in need of funding,”he said. “I am searching the new government programs for a way to get The Twilight back up and ready to open when it is safe to do so. We are a great team and our Twilight family makes the theater come to life each day. We will all be back together soon. We Still Believe.”