The Sweetest Bear In Colorado!
By: Kris Hazelton
Last week a young black bear broke into The Estes Park Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and had a heyday eating himself silly with chocolate treats from the candy shop.
Owner of the store Jo Adams came into work like any other day and something struck her as odd, a candy tin and one cellophane wrapper on the floor and dirt on top of her check out counter.
Jo thought, “Oh darn, one of those pesky ground squirrels has gotten in the store and upset a few things.” Jo called her son Eric Adams to come and help her find the critter and clean up before she opened the store.
The two searched and searched but they couldn’t find the offender. Jo has recently put in four survellience cameras in the shop and Eric decided to check the cameras. At first glance, they noticed a shadowy figure in the video and couldn’t quite make out what it was. Soon however, the figure stood up next to the front counter and Jo could begin to make out the shape of the body and then noticed some black fuzzy ears on top if it’s head. Jo blurted out, “That’s a bear!” Sometime during the night, a young black bear had gotten into the shop and made himself at home, enjoying lots and lots of chocolatey treats! It’s a bear with good taste!
The video is entertaining to watch as the bear takes mouthfuls of candy from the display rack at the counter and then walks out the door and eats it on the sidewalk. As soon as he finished, he’d come back in for another mouthful and take it back outside chomp it down and come back for more. All in all the bear went in and out of the shop seven times in a matter of 20 minutes! At one point, he came back in and placed his paws on the glass candy display case, leaving nothing but footprints, doing no damage at all. At one point, he even hopped over the counter and walked behind the candy case which was sealed and he jumped up on the back counter and traipsed along, stepping over items, not disturbing a thing! Jo was amazed at how gentle and polite this bear was. Not a thing was damaged in the entire store and he left twenty minutes later on a sugar high!
This bear certainly satisfed his sweet tooth. Apparently, the bear’s favorite things were the chocolate covered Rice Krispie Treats, peanut butter cups, a special Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory treat called Balls of Joy, English Toffee and no surprise here, Cookie Bears!
Jo stated, “That little bugger ate a lot of candy!”
After discovering that the bear had been in the store, Jo enlisted the help of family members and employees to clean, disinfect and throw out anything the bear had any contact with.
Apparently, the bear was able to get in due to a faulty lock on the door which didn’t latch properly. He slipped his claws underneath the door and was able to pop the door open. That is a bruin who is smarter than the average bear!
The lock was immediately replaced and the bear has not able to break into the store again. The following evening the bear came back as evidenced by some muddy paw prints left on the door yet he left disappointed since the door had been repaired.
As word gets around about the bear break-in, customers come in and want to hear the story and after listening, they want to order the same treats the bear enjoyed. Jo said, “At least five times a day people come in to order the exact same things the bear ate, I love it, we’ve been making extras of these particular treats just to keep up with the demand!”
Jo doesnt’ want any harm to come to this bear. She said, “He was just doing what bears do…eat! He was hungry.” The entrance to the shop has been dealt with and he will no longer be coming in to help himself to more chocolate treats. Jo did all the right things to protect this bear by immediately fixing her door which discouraged the bear from coming back again and again. This kept him from becoming a “problem bear.” If other businesses and homes would all do the same, secure their dumpsters, trash or food sources, our bears would have a better chance to live long, healthy lives. We can learn to live and coexist with our mountain black bears.
This little Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory bear came in, ate to his heart’s content and left without any damage whatsoever. We think he’s the sweetest bear in town!