Fort Collins is saying goodbye to one of its oldest restaurants.

According to the Coloradoan, Pobre Panchos, an iconic Mexican eatery on North College Avenue, shut its doors for good on Thursday (March 31) after a long-term financial struggle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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U.S. Navy veteran Frank Perez opened the restaurant with his mother in 1969. After being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2020, Perez sold the eatery to family friend Asher Haun before passing away later that year.

Facing low profits amidst the pandemic, Haun struck up a deal to turn Pobre Panchos into a Raising Cane's. He told the Coloraodan that he intended to find a new location for the eatery but could not afford one, stating that "it was just time to quit."

While the closure seemed inevitable to Haun, Denver7 reports that it shocked the Pobre Panchos staff.

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Perez's daughter Monica Bird told the station that employees didn't know the restaurant was closing until someone came to change the locks last week.

"I wish it would have been handled better so that they would have been able to prepare and we could have said goodbye, had a last meal as a family here, and said goodbye to some of our patrons instead of a noted," she said to Denver7, noting that she's started a GoFundMe to help the former staff members. "I want them to be able to be okay, and I feel my dad would want that."

So far, the campaign has raised nearly $1,500.

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