A camera-toting Channel 7 News cameraman came to the July 8 Wellington Town Board meeting, as did many Wellington residents interested in learning why the shelves of Bella’s Market — the town’s only grocery store — are nearly bare. But Bella’s Market owner, Sam Mancini, who had promised to speak, didn’t show.
The board’s agenda listed Bella’s Market as discussion item under new business and Mancini had agreed to explain to the board exactly what was going on. When the item came up for discussion and Mancini was nowhere in sight, the board postponed discussion until he showed.
With time running out and Mancini missing, at about 9:30 p.m. Brinkhoff shared what he knew of the situation.
He explained that he believed Mancini was in Fort Morgan consulting with bankers in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. In a conversation with Mancini, Brinkhoff learned that Mancini would consider selling the store.
Wellington resident Chuck Mayhugh said that the current condition of the grocery store was “hurting the town.” He believes the issue needs to be solved immediately.
Trustee Larry Noel said, “The problem is, two stores have failed in that location. The community failed to step up.” He indicated that the past history makes the business tough to sell.
“That’s only part of the story,” Brinkhoff added. He pointed out that Mancini owns grocery stores in several small Colorado communities and all of them appear to be struggling.
In addition to Wellington, Bella’s Markets are located in Akron, Gypsum, Haxtun, Limon, Stratton, Walden and Wiggins.
Community activist Eric Sutherland was critical of county tax breaks that were a part of Mancini’s purchase of the real estate.
“His failure to appear speaks loud,” Trustee Travis Harless noted.
Channel 7 News left without a story to tell.