Small Business Owner’s Fears: Denver Mother Jill Chen Navigates Homeless Shelter Construction Amid Economic Concerns

Owner of Denver Asian Restaurant Concerned about Impact of Aurora Homeless Shelter on Business

When Jill Chen moved from China to Denver and became a U.S. citizen 10 years ago, she opened Zume Asian Cuisine near Chambers Road and Interstate 70. “I said, ‘I’m young. I can own the business, I can get some money,'” said Chen. “To support my family, the kids and my parents. It is very important to me.”

The single mother of three says her customers love to come in for a succulent Chinese meal. “The people, they are very nice and they help me a lot,” said Chen. Recently, she learned the City of Aurora bought the Crowne Plaza Hotel across the street from her restaurant to build a shelter for the homeless.

Initially, Chen thought it was a great idea. “Oh, obviously, of course is very good for the homeless,” she said. But then she started thinking about how it might affect her livelihood. “I’m worried about my business going bad or something,” she said. The City of Aurora says they will work with residents and business owners near the site to create good neighbor plans and ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

Chen hopes that she doesn’t lose the business she spent a decade building. “I hope the government can help me somehow,” she said. “And if they don’t…okay, I cannot do this restaurant here anymore.”

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