Crown King businesses facing steep drop in customers following Gladiator fire

CROWN KING, AZ - Businesses in Crown King are desperately seeking customers as they have seen a steep drop in revenue following the Gladiator fire.

While businesses have reopened since the town's evacuations, the tourists haven't yet come back.

"It's tough on my end and it's really tough on the employees' end," said Sandy Baker who runs the G & S Crown King Café.

Baker said local residents have returned to the area, but without the large amount of tourists that normally visit Crown King, business has suffered.

"People need to know they can come up just like they always did," she said.

Baker fears there is a misconception that drivers cannot get to the town. Currently, roads are open to Crown King, except along Senator Highway.

Other businesses have also felt the pinch, as the owner of the Bradshaw Mountain Guest Ranch told ABC15 she usually is booked full on a nightly basis, but has received just two reservations in recent weeks.

"The fire has basically devastated us," said Taryn Denyce, who runs the ranch. "Our town is a ghost town again. "

Denyce fears she won't be able to cover all the bills if more tourists don't return to the area. That fear is also shared down the street, with Baker, who said every business will suffer the longer visitors stay away.

"There will be businesses that will close and Crown King won't be what it has been," she said.

The Gladiator fire is currently 90 percent contained and has burned more than 16,000 acres.

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