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Local restaurant owner takes a look back at preparing for the 2017 eclipse

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The total solar eclipse of 2017 was an event the Idaho Falls community took seriously.

Between community planning meetings for business owners, to packing grocery stores ahead of time, the City of Idaho Falls was prepared. The community learned a lesson as well - sometimes it's not as bad as you think it's going to be.

"I remember that it was very cool to be on the roof to actually see it unfolding. Very, very, very fun. But it wasn't fun as far as being the restaurant owner, because everybody leading up to the eclipse was like, 'the toilets are going to overflow, the infrastructure isn't there for all the people that are going to be coming in,' so you kind of bought into that," said Ken Despot, owner, and operator of Garcia's Restaurant in Idaho Falls for the past 33 years.

Ken ordered extra food ahead of the 2017 eclipse.

"So we rented a refrigerated truck out back, you know, for the extra food and kegs and soda, everything that it would take, even though at the time it felt weird doing it," he said. "You didn't want to be the only one being caught, you know, unprepared. And it didn't materialize like that."

Many cars stayed on the highway and didn't come into town.

"What we think happened," says Ken, "and what we know happened, is everyone packed a lunch from Utah and, you know, places north, places south. And they drove up the freeway past Idaho Falls, where they went, 'I'm not sure, man...' and we were stuck with thousands and thousands of dollars of food and beverages in a truck out back."

Ken was able to use all of the food, but it took some planning.

"We can keep the truck for up to about a week. And what we were able to do is we took every inch of our coolers and just stacked the food in the freezers and in the coolers, as much as we could. So it was kind of just inconvenient [was] all it was for a few weeks until we used most that product."

Ken has advice for restaurant owners in the path of an event like a total eclipse.

"It could be really a boon for people, for restaurants in the right places, and it could be nothing for another town. So, you know, I would say, though, probably just not to overdo it because an eclipse lasts for an hour or two. It's not an event that lasts for a day or two or a week."

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Stephanie Lucas


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