VAIL – You can tell what Friday night was like by the Saturday morning lineup inside Covered Bridge Coffee.Bonnie and Scott McDonald spent about a half dozen years waiting on customers, making new friends and greeting old friends in their coffee shop. It’s a small business in a small town.”Small local businesses are what the village is all about,” Bonnie said. They sold Covered Bridge Coffee a few weeks ago to Becky Magoon and her daughter Kim, who haven’t changed a thing, including the intergalactally famous Fat burrito.”It’s the world’s best-known hangover cure,” Scott said. Covered Bridge Coffee has been serving up java since 1964, right on the Vail Village-side of the Covered Bridge in Vail Village – hence the name. July Fourth is the busiest day of the year. The Teva Mountain Games are also big.”We’ll have people hit the store three times a day,” Scott said. “You get so you know the customers and the customers’ kids.”
It’s not a complicated business. “If you treat ’em right on Friday, you’ll see them again on Saturday and Sunday,” Scott said.Brother Scott, 30, and sister Bonnie, 28, aren’t leaving the Vail Valley and say they’ll likely be among Covered Bridge Coffee’s best customers.”We just wanted to say thanks for the great, great times and the great support,” Bonnie said. “Our staff made it so easy. Most of them were with us four of the five years we owned it. We told them to run it like it was theirs, and they did.”They say they had it all and loved it all. They worked with their best friends, they waited on their best friends as customers, and the tourists re great.They got along with everyone, except maybe for the guy who was harshing on the New England Patriots during Super Bowl Sunday, or any New York Yankee fan during the World Series. They are, after all, from Boston.And sometimes each other.They’re open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 365 days a year. That’s a lot of togetherness, even for people who were raised together and love each other.”There was some sibling rivalry,” Bonnie said laughing. “If you saw us in there together you knew we’d had some sort of scheduling conflict.”
“I became the town’s best barrista,” Scott boasted.”Second best,” Bonnie countered.They’re all about the businessBonnie landed in Vail six years ago as a ski bum. To support her habit she went to work in Covered Bridge Coffee.After a while you can tell were people are from by the coffee they order. For example, a six-shot latte is usually someone from the east coast who needs a little time to decompress.Inside of a year she was the manager and not long after that she convinced brother Scott to quit his job in the Boston night club world on Lansdowne Street and head west to help her buy it and run it.”We weren’t looking for a business to buy, it just fell in our laps,” Bonnie said.
He had his moments of doubt, like when he’d walked away from everything he knew to come to Vail and his car broke down in southern Illinois. “Everything I owned was in there and I was stranded in the middle of nowhere.””He called and started yelling, ‘What am I doing? I don’t even know how to make a latte!'” Bonnie said.But once he was here, he knew he was home.”I took one look at the place and knew we couldn’t go wrong,” Scott said. “It’s a great business. It’s been profitable every year and was profitable with the sale.””It takes a lot of energy, but it also generates a lot of energy,” Bonnie said. “You’re married to it, which works out well because neither of us are married to anyone.”Vail, Colorado