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VinylWorks: Cultivating Greatness One Client at a Time

Someone once said, “Don’t wait for opportunity, create it.” When Scott walker, owner of VinylWorks, arrived in Wheat Ridge he immediately saw the city’s potential.

Talented from a young age, as a reward for good grades in high school his parents bought him his first screen printer. After finishing a marketing degree at college, he secured a job with Miller (before it was MillerCoors) where he found himself managing over 25 employees who were installation technicians. Fast forward eight years and one company merger later where he found himself laid off. That’s when Scott decided to buy his first vinyl cutting machine.

His idea was to sell businesses vinyl cutouts of their addresses if they didn’t already have it posted. Starting by working out of his basement, he ultimately didn’t feel successful until his second year, but he loved every minute of the job. People may say that owning a business comes with risks, but what they don’t tell you about is the learning curve, and how it affects your business individually from others. Once in the flow of things and as business grew, he expanded by getting his own shop, getting more machines, and eventually had a large enough clientele base that required hiring a few employees.

VinylWorks has a wide array of services, but that’s not the only draw for clients. Mickey Blackwell, Scott’s right hand man is a very gifted graphic designer and adds an incredible amount of value to their products. While only some businesses might be able to afford design firms separate from the printing process, others can be left with limited choices when printing companies don’t have a designer. VinylWorks is the ideal choice and closet thing to a boutique signage store in Wheat Ridge.

Tell me about VinylWorks – What got the business started? How did the idea for your business come about?
It kind of all started off, I guess going all the way back to my high school days, where I was really into making logos , t-shirts, and screen printing – I got my very first screen printing kit in High School for getting good grades and in college I studied marketing with an emphasis in advertising. Later I was in the beer industry for 8 years, and I had experience hanging banners, signs and neon’s. I actually managed 25 guys that did that kind of work all along the Front Range for a Miller Brewing company before it merged with MillerCoors.

I had that great experience but unfortunately that was the first job I had ever lost. So afterword’s I bought my first vinyl cutting machine because well honestly… I love stickers! My friends were like “we love stickers you should start a sticker/sign shop” and I knew about it from being in the beer industry. Once I bought the machine, it’s the classic tale – I started working from out of my house for the first two years in the basement. I had sales experience so I literally went around knocking on every door to businesses here on 38th Avenue. The first year was rough with sales, then the second year I was actually able to make a living off of it. From there, I mean yeah, we’re in year 8 now with 3 full timers, and one part timer in addition to me. It’s really just my love for stickers, that’s all it was [laughs]

Do you guys vinyl wrap cars?
We do wraps for cars, Right Coast pizza for example. We’ve done tons of food trucks and other types of vehicles. We just did a full vehicle wrap for Yamaha,which will be driving all across the US. The largest fleet we worked on was with 30 cars. We’ve also worked with Google up in Boulder at their new location. As mentioned earlier we just got done doing the installation with Visa. Gusto is a really big job that we did down town, also for MapQuest we did a ton of graphics for them. I mean we do stuff for UPS, like their distribution centers in Denver where we made their interior signage and whatever else that need that fall under our services. It’s really cool stuff, we LOVE what we do and appreciate the positive feedback we’ve gotten throughout the years. We are lucky to be able to get the big contracts, but we also love working with locals like mom and pop shops. I also know I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now without my team. They’re all incredibly gifted and I feel very fortunate to have such great employees.

When I started, I just looked around. I thought to myself, “ how many businesses are out there that just need store hours?”. I was like, “If I could just do 10 sets of decals a day, to make a living off” and that turned into where we are now.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays? What do you find most enjoyable?
My typical workday starts pretty much when I wake up and get in the shower. My mind starts going 100 miles per hour with every job, like every busness owner, as with every job, you know you’ve got to do pretty much everything. You have to get the things done from the day before, so I start my day with that, then it’s coming in and sitting down and seeing what’s due for the day and seeing what orders came in. I let Mickey run the shop, than I do all of the sales and installation. So managing that, you know I think at the end of the day my job is typical marketing, accounting and book keeping – reviewing all business information and taking care of things behind the scenes that I think a lot of people don’t know about. In a typical day, I get to step away from running the machines and equipment because my staff is here to handle that.

Does your organization have any big plans for 2016/2017?
I have a pretty big goal, I’m actually working on the business plan right now, my first goal was originally on target for this year but we’ve had a lot of work to do with a larger account, but we’d like to get a second shop open in the Boulder area which would enable us to focus on Boulder and Longmont. We have a lot of clients already in Boulder that we deal with but my long term goal, really, is to have a solid business plan and model so that we could have 5 locations. But really just to take the idea of this small shop because really we only have 3 machines We do so much for small business, we have the big accounts that don’t always know what they’re doing and they need more creative shops like ourselves. There something about us being a young group of independent people that love what we do and work really hard. We don’t just put out designs to collect paychecks, we’re more creative and like boutique shop, versus just a sign or banner shop.

So that’s our future! We’re really looking at getting a new location and to see if that works. I do really love supporting our community and our street because it’s really how these whole things started. Everyone taking care of everyone else – I’ve been in every one of these other businesses and I’ve gotten to know all the owner and yeah, that’s why I support Wheat Ridge I mean I love over there, that’s me [points to his house walking distance from his shop]. It’s a unique community and it’s very tight.

What has been your biggest challenge for your business?
The biggest challenge is understanding how to handle and manage your customers, manage your accounts and that break down pretty much in two ways, one you need to manage your orders because there is such a quick turnaround in the industry now- I mean sometimes we only have days when we get stuff in because they need. So that’s been tough, learning how to manage your consistent orders and then getting the quick turnaround down. I mean learning this is basic but I think the most important thing for small businesses is learning collections, especially when working with bigger accounts , people don’t teach you about how manage working with large accounts that take 30-60 days to pay you. That’s something, you know, I don’t think all small business owner are aware of immediately when starting out. I just think it’s really interesting and important to stay on top of. We have an accountant now that can help as needed; the begging was a different story. Cash flow is so important for a small business. We don’t have bank loans, we’re a small operation and working with those accounts so we’ve changed the way we do our billing through the years and that was a struggle initially because you need people to pay you. That said we’re growing though and we’ve almost doubled our business every year.

How long have you been located or have lived in Wheat Ridge for? Or why did you move/relocate to Wheat Ridge?
I’ve lived here since 2012, but I’ve been here since 2006. When it came time for me to move, there was no question, I didn’t have a single doubt – I wanted to move to Wheat Ridge, over Denver. I like the street for some reason. It was really under developed when I first moved into this building, it was really at the beginning of all the change. There was something about this street that I liked. I saw a lot of opportunity and to be honest the price point was right, I just see the potential.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
I’m a typical Colorado, I love my outdoors. I play soccer twice a week; I’m really into wake boarding and snowboarding, in my younger days I was a competitor semiprofessionally in snowboarding in border cross. I used to race BMX bikes, I was always kind of an action sports guy, I think that kinda works with stickers a little bit and that is maybe why all of that was there. But yeah I’m super active and honestly. I love working on my house and I love gardening. I just love doing home fixing up projects, like tearing out walls, adding new bathrooms and counter tops… I like being at home to relax when I’m not at work.

What is your favorite thing to do while in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I love running around the city and love checking out the growth, wheatear it’s people moving her or redevelopment of homes or just running down 32nd street or Fairmount park, that and all the restaurants here that have slowly been coming into town. I frequent Colorado plus and Right Coast Pizza at least once a week.

If a young entrepreneur walked up and asked for your advice but you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Anyone can run, and start a business, but you have to work hard at it. It can be done, it’s not magic but you really have to be willing to put in that extra effort and time into it. You have to really care about it, it’s not something you can just think will run on its own. I think that’s the basics, if you’re willing to put the time into it, you will be successful.

If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
Eliminating people debt, I know that’s kinda first world problem, but I think it’s hurt a lot of people. That’s not from my standpoint that’s just watching people around me, it’s such a difficult thing for some people to deal with. It can destroy families and ruin homes by putting people in a bad place. BUT if I had to choose a second option, I think honestly fixing our pollution problems. We waste so many materials in our society that we don’t even think about. I wish there were more resources for recycling or reusing things as simple as ziplock bags. People use them once then throw them out, you can actually wash or rinse the bag out and reuse it, you know things like that. The sign industry is not a green energy, they’re doing what they can but green products aren’t durable, they don’t hold up as well or last which is a difficult thing to be faced with. You know, with our products there’s a lot of waste – sometimes because of production there can be up to 50% waste. The vinyl is oil based, we have many products that aren’t made with paper, that feature petroleum based products. Personally I feel really guilty sometime and I wish there was more we could do, again I wish there were more resources. We get a lot of cardboard that we keep, and we try to go recycle it once a week, or once every other week.

If you could high five one person, living or not, who it be? Or who is or has been your biggest inspiration?
My most inspirational person, by far is my Dad. There are two people locally, Tom Schmuke from Quality auto care, has been a great person to talk to. You know just to sit down and talk quick business, I mean they’ve been quick conversations but they’re been so influential. And my dad, I me and my dad is the most important figure, I mean I talk to him almost every day. He cares so much about this business, even though he’s retired and lives in Florida, I bounce ideas off of him and ask for advice. He ran the world’s largest mushroom farm in Pennsylvania, with over 1300 employees. I mean it’s all underground in mines, but he ran mushroom farms his entire life and that was what he did. He was always a great manager; he knew how to hire really great people and treated people really well. When he retire he got letter from people saying they still wanted to work for him and would help out if he needed anything. He always believed the best managers and the best business owners have all capabilities whether they’re being a good people person or being authoritative, they can do all of it when it’s needed because they’re well rounded people. He raised a good family, my mother and him are still married and madly in love to this day. Yeah, I just thought he was a great father and person to look after. On his sixtieth birthday I had to give a speech in front of, you know, like 20 family members and close friends, I had turned 30 right before and I was serious when I said to him that day, “I always said if I could be half the man you were, I’d be happy growing up. And now that your 60 and I’m 30, I am half the man.” I was serous; I mean I was joking but I he is my biggest inspiration for sure.

Scott’s business has been going well, and ultimately he would like to expand to additional markets. To date they’ve worked with big name clients such as Google, Visa, UPS, and Yamaha. If you decide to work with the team at VinylWorks, you’ll experience their amazing abilities first hand. When 5 people can consistently put out amazing products, the friendly service and approachability is just the cherry on top.

 

Call 303.351.6963 or visit their website at: http://www.myvinylworks.com/ to learn more about all of the services they offer, to get a project quote or to set up a meeting.

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Brewery Rickoli, Wheat Ridge’s First and Original Microbrewery

If you’ve had the opportunity to order and enjoy a craft beer in the state of Colorado within the past 15 years, chances are Rick Abitol had something major to do with brewing it. He begins by explaining that the road wasn’t always easy in the beginning; he has worked multiple jobs at the same time as owning a business, at multiple times throughout his career in order to become successful.

A computer technician by trade, Rick started brewing beer back in the late 90’s. He says that he was bit by the home brewing bug severely early on. After gaining a few years of experience brewing for Golden City Brewery and Twisted Pine, by 2001 Rick was a brewmaster working for Rock Bottom Brewery, a position that lasted eight years until the company was then bought out by Craft Works.

Growing tired of working so hard for others while having to constantly readjust to always changing rules, 2012 is when Rick decided to be his own boss again by opening Wheat Ridge’s first microbrewery, Brewery Rickoli. He knew he had an original idea; make gluten free beer that tastes good so everyone can enjoy. Their trick is using a special enzyme, available to all brewers, which when added during the brewing process breaks down any gluten without affecting the flavor of the beer.

It wasn’t long before Rick found himself working with arguably one of the oldest, best and original brewing companies in America. In 2013, Brewery Rickoli was selected for Sam Adam’s Brewing the Dreams program. To be eligible, they filled out all required paper work as well as submitted a 300 word essay. Once they sent in their application, within a few weeks, they received a response that they won! They were flown to Boston, Massachusetts to meet with the brewmaster at Sam Adams where they created a collaboration beer and received additional advice on brewing.

Tell me about Brewery Rickoli – What got you or the business started, and how did the idea for your business come about and when did you start?
I started brewing in the 90’s, and then by 2000 I became a professional brewer. I used to be a computer tech at my own computer rental business but once I found beer, I just kind of… Well I don’t know, I just ignored the business and then lost it [laughs] because I became so busy brewing beer. In 2001, I had already started working part time as a brewmaster, and I was declaring bankruptcy at my own business at the same time, so it made it cheaper to work actually, I didn’t have to have so much money to pay my bills. So that’s when I started working odd jobs as a brewer. I worked at Golden City Brewery, for 3 years, I used to help out at the twisted pine, and I used to live in pueblo for a couple years. When I was working in golden city I started working part time at the Denver Chop House and the Chop House is owned by Rock Bottom. I eventually got on with Rock Bottom and became a head brewer for them which lasted about 8 years, and then when they sold the business to a company called Craft Works, which I saw as kind of my exit point because things like the culture was changing, so that’s when I started my own brewery, only to realize that we had no money, but it was a great idea!

So my spark for wanting to start and what I’m doing is basically I didn’t want tow rok for other people anymore. I didn’t like how people kept coming in and changing the rules and I wanted to work for myself. So I knew how to brew great beer and I wnted to share that. I’d also been kind of keep9ng this thing under my head where I’m using an enzyme that breaks down the glutin in a lot of beers, so it might sound like quite the process but I can still make my great beer and add this enzyme to it and not change it, therefore making it more accessible while keeping the quality high.

With 300 breweries in the state, you have to do something that’s going to differentiate you. There are a lot of folks out there who can’t drink beer because of the gluten and they don’t want to drink cider or hard liquor, and they really miss beer, so that’s what we’re here for.

In 2013 we won the Sam Adams brewing and business experience ship. They took us under their wing for a year and we got to get graded and received help and guidance, as well as did a collaboration beer with them. I can’t say anymore, but I did just get back from Boston last week so it’s very possible that there may be something in the future but I can’t say what it is at this point.

How long have you lived or have been located in Wheat Ridge for? Or why did you relocate to Wheat Ridge?
No, it was just an empty spot here. We opened in November of 2012. We have been doing really well and growing since.

Was their anything in particular that attracted you most to Wheat Ridge?
There was kind of a void and a need in this town. When we opened up, you know, we were the first brewery in wheat ridge. When we came and looked around, we didn’t see anyone else. It was also close to my house and I was working at park meadows, so it helped my commute every day. It was really attractive to find a spot that was so nice, off a busy street, with no brewery in sight. We though, “we should open up here!” We really love the community here, the people that are from here are very proud and you don’t get that from people in Arvada and wheat ridge or even Denver, people can be all about themselves and here =, we’re a lot more community minded. It really shows, our regulars are awesome, they make us feel necessary.

What has been your biggest challenge for your business so far?
Just our small size. We have to really hard to keep up and it’s sometimes hard for people to take us seriously because we’re really small.

And what has been the biggest success?
We’ve gotten a few medals and we won 2nd place for our beer ‘The static’.

What has been your most successful strategy with Marketing?
Social media!

Could you describe one of your typical workdays? What is it that you find most enjoyable?
Well I wear a lot of hats! So typically when I come in, I see what needs to be done and that dictates my day. So whether it’s brewing beer or transferring beer, or getting beer kegs shipped off or cleaning the tap lines and that’s what I love about it. I love the variety of things that I can do in a day, and that I get to say what it is, because it’s up to me to turn the wheel.

Does your organization have any big plans for 2016?
Actually, they’re all for 2017 [laughs]. I can’t explain or say much, but we may be looking for a bigger spot some place in Wheat Ridge but we’re in the middle of trying to figure out a way to make that work for us.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Or what are some of your favorite things to do while in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I visit other breweries pretty regularly and last month I did some hiking and camping. Really just anything in the outdoors, I love Colorado!

If a young entrepreneur walked up and asked for your advice but you only had a minute to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Make money, don’t spend money. That’s what Jim Cook told me and that was my biggest takeaway.

If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
Definitely equality.

If you could high five one person, living or not, who would it be?
Jimmy Carter, because he legalized home brewing for everybody and I don’t think we’d be here without that.

Despite the success, it has required a strong work ethic, discipline and a lot of long hours, to which Rick says he wouldn’t have any other way. Once he discovered his love for brewing, there was no looking back, and everything else is history. Brewery Rickoli is open Monday from 3pm to 9pm, Tuesday through Thursday from 3pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 8pm. Stop by Brewery Rickoli’s today to try some of the best tasting, gluten free beer in the country.

For more information, Call 303.344.8988 or visit their website at: www.breweryrickoli.com/ to view their craft brews and food choices in preparation for your visit.

Catching Up with 2015 Criterium Winner, Julie Emmerman

Eliminating prize disparity between genders is still a relevant issue throughout sports, especially pro cycling. This year, the Ridge at 38 Criterium will be issuing equal purse prizes for both men and women, which is something not as common as you might expect. With that in mind, we wanted to check in and follow up with last years’ winner, Julie Emmerman, but first a short introduction.

Julie is equally as much an intellectual, as she is a thoroughbred athlete. A practicing psychologist by day, and fearless cyclist by weekend, she enjoys spending time with her family while taking advantage of Colorado’s beautiful outdoors. When asked about the purse differences, she said the cyclists feel the implications of the prize differential, “it’s definitely frustrating when you’re doing all the work, putting in all of the effort, and being trained just like the guys… It’s hard to keep racing when the purse money is significantly less.”

So tell me a little about yourself:
Where should I begin haha – I used to race mountain bikes professionally and then I “retired”. I already had my doctorate degree so I built up private psychotherapy practice. After a short while, I really missed being around athletes so then I decided to specialize in sport psychology. Soon thereafter, I was hired by Garmin- Slipstream (at the time that’s what they [cycling team] were called) to be the sport psychologist for their Pro Tour riders. Eventually, I just missed being in the mix of competition as well as the social camaraderie so in 2009 I decided to race again. I dabbled mostly in local road racing at first and kept developing, honing fitness and skills. I have come a pretty good ways- I am not getting any younger and recently competed in the USA Pro National Championships where I finished 9th in the Time Trial. It’s an Olympic year so everyone is on superb form, which makes it super exciting.

Do you have any hobbies or things you’re passionate about besides cycling?
I love trail running in the fall and winter. In general, I love hanging out and spending time with my family while enjoying Colorado sunshine whenever and however I can.

What brought you to the Criterium originally or how did you hear about it?
The Criterium is part of the BRAC [Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado] Series, so our team was trying to get points for the series overall. I knew that it would be important to win so that way we could accumulate more points. I also just like to go out and support local racing whenever I can. The woman’s fields tend to be kind of small, so I figure the more I can race, the better. It’s a great course and atmosphere.

How did it feel winning last year’s Criterium?
Haha, winning is always a good feeling! I enjoy the challenge of coordinating physicality with strategy. It was hard; I remember being exhausted afterwards!

Do you do any special training in advance for it or anything different than normal?
No, not really, because most of the races that we enter into professionally, the categories pro 1 and pro 2; there’s road races, criteriums, hill climbs, time trials, so we train pretty much all year round and for all of them. I am sure some people train specifically for crits, however.

That said, will you be returning this year to defend your title?
I hope so!

what would you tell others about the Criterium if they were interested?
It is a completely family friendly place. There’s that huge park in the middle where they always have food vendors and fun stuff set up for kids. It’s really invigorating and fun! The race itself is on a great course where people can spectate from a lot of different corners to see the action happening. It’s a relatively short loop so there’s not much down time between when the racers will come around again. The course also lends itself to break aways and attacks which means that some riders will try to separate from the main peloton. That usually makes for a very exciting race. I would sum up the event as lively, fun and inclusive.

Traditionally Criteriums don’t have equal purses and we’re trying to change that, do you have an opinions or thoughts on that?
It’s awesome that this year’s Criterium is offering equal prize money. Personally and on behalf of all women I want to say thank you. I’m all for trying to reduce that disparity. I understand the common local argument of, “Well there are so fewer female racers, why should they have equal prize money?” But at National events the women’s fields are 80+ strong. I don’t have a quick answer or an easy solution to offer but having equal prize money makes a strong positive statement. Hopefully, sponsors see the market value of putting their money behind women athletes and improve their strategies for reaching target audiences, whether it is pro cycling, soccer, etc. I am very proud of the Ridge at 38 and Wheat Ridge Cyclery for offering equal prize money this year. So, again thank you!

Julie, thank you very much again for your time this evening. Was there anything you wanted to add?
It is an awesome event and I hope women show up in all categories because it is really a great course and a great opportunity.

Join us June 12th from 9:00am-7:00pm for The Ridge at 38 Criterium Bike Race & Brewfest. This is a FREE event for the whole family!

For more information visit the website event page at: http://ridgeat38.com/play/criterium/ or you can also go to our Facebook event page at:https://www.facebook.com/event/1754611138092396/

Flesher-Hinton relocates its prestige to Wheat Ridge

Flesher-Hinton, Wheat Ridge’s newest addition, has over 60 years in the business and is the second oldest music store in the state of Colorado. With a grand opening currently being planned for the summer, Flesher-Hinton sells instruments, sheet music, and accessories while providing affordable private music lessons, rentals and instrument repair.

Located off 44th Avenue just west of Sheridan, between Fenton Street and Gary Street, you’ll find this music sanctuary, now exclusive to Wheat Ridge. Originally just starting off repairing music instruments for local schools, Mel Flesher and his brother in-law Carl Hinton opened for business in 1951. Shortly after passing away in the 80’s, Mel’s wife Geraldine took over, until eventually handing it down to her two children and current owners, Herve and Kristi Flesher.

Colorado native Dave Sampskins, who works at Flesher-Hinton, sits down and we start sharing stories about music classes in college. Dave, who grew up and still plays the bass, reminisced about getting his first instrument in third grade at Flesher-Hinton. Although the freshest staff member, he says the average employee has worked at Flesher- Hinton for over 20 years.

Ecstatic about their new location, which offers more space in a less compact and sophisticated layout, he says another big factor was choosing the right neighborhood that had a strong sense of community much like where they were previously located. They particularly enjoy their new straightforward storefront and parking lot, opposed to the confusing and difficult situation they had before. It didn’t help that teachers and customers found their old location to be arduous to get to. Despite that, their success has been a unique combination of a expertise, experience, professionalism, and affordability, topped off with friendly customer service. After the interview, Dave was handing out stickers and Jeff offered me a free t-shirt from a stack they had left over from an event.


Tell me about Flesher – Hinton – What got you or the business started, How did the idea for your business come about and when did you start?
It started as a repair shop in 1951’. Mel Flesher, started the company with his brother in-law, Carl Hinton. They started out by just fixing band and orchestra instruments for local schools. That’s still a large part of our business, but we’ve branched out to retail sales, sheet music and instrument and the like, as well as lessons and instrument rentals. He ran the company with his wife Geraldine for many years, and now their children, Herv and Kristi Flesher, own the business and live here in Wheat Ridge.

That’s great! You guys have been open a very long time…
We are one of the oldest in the state, so yeah, we’ve been here doing this for a long time. I’m the new guy, actually… and I’ve been here 15 years I think, so…(we both laugh hysterically).
(Still fresh meat huh?) Yeah, they’re still hazing me. But seriously, most of the technicians in the repair shop have been here 20 to 30 years, so we have a lot of experience under our belts here.

That’s incredible employee retention to say the least…
Well, it’s a family business so we try to treat everyone like we would our family, so it’s worked out well.

How long have you been located or have lived in Wheat Ridge for? Or why did you move/relocate to Wheat Ridge?
Our business moved here in February, so that’s about 3 months now? Tennyson was just very crowded, and customers found it to be an endeavor just to get there. You couldn’t just swing by on your way and drop a horn off, or get a couple reeds, you’d have to plan an afternoon around it. So we were hearing more and more, especially from teachers, that it was really burdensome to get to the store. Say you have a truckload of tubas that need to be repaired, you can’t park two blocks away and walk them over. So Tennyson was very nice, it’s fast paced and it’s growing, but the rapid growth was making it a lot harder to do what we do. Out here, it’s a little smaller than our building was there, but we’ve got a parking lot which is so much better, it’s just a more functional space. We’ve got space for deliveries, pickups, and our customers now. Our location is overall just much easier to get to get to and more accessible off the highway.
We miss some of the quirks from our old building though, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that store? It was an old renovated theater from the turn of the century, really old movie theater turned into a music store. A very cool building, it had this gigantic marquis signs hanging over and above the street. We were doing everything spread out over 3 floors though, floors that had been forced into a movie theater over a hundred years (laughs). But yeah, we’re settling in here at the new location nicely, and it’s really starting to feel like home now.

How do you like it so far?
It’s great so far! We’re starting to meet the neighbors, we’ve signed on for the Rumble on 44th, and met some folks from Shop44th, the neighborhood group. It seems like it’s a nice neighborhood community. Coming from Tennyson street, there used to be a lot of the sense of community, but it felt like a lot of that was getting lost as the older businesses either moved or closed up shop. But a lot of those businesses have been moving out here across Sheridan we’ve noticed. There’s a little more room for us to do what we do.

I think the secrets getting out about Wheat Ridge…
A lot of the musicians I know, that grew up in north Denver are now moving out to places like Wheat Ridge because you can still afford to live in a house for a Musicians income.

What has been your biggest challenge for your business?
Getting the word out that we’ve moved, you know, we try to do our social media, update all our listings, get in touch with the press and things like that, but people drive by our old location, and see the signs down and windows papered over, and think that like so many other small, local music stores do, we’ve closed. We’ve been trying to fight the rumors that we’re closed rather then moved which has been fun. We want to let everyone know that we’re still doing what we love, just a little further out west.

What has been the biggest success?
Getting here and getting the doors open, it’s been a very busy couple months but we’re doing great. It’s also been tough getting all of the teachers transitioned in, and it was a challenge getting through all of the inspections and construction while we were still open, but it seems that we are running at full speed now so the big success has been getting back up to normal operating speed (laughs). Who would have thought moving a business from the location they’d been in for more than 60 years would be so much work?

Could you describe one of your typical workdays? What do you find most enjoyable?
The thing I enjoy the most is when a kid comes into the store and wants to play an instrument, and doesn’t know where to start – so you let them hold a violin, then let them try out a clarinet or trumpet, and then they find something that they really like. We do a lot of student rentals here, and we try to make it easy and affordable to get an instrument, because a good instrument can be expensive, and we don’t want that cost to be a barrier to a child, or even an adult, discovering that passion. We also see a lot of parents whose kids have tried soccer or gymnastics or whatever it may be, and now their child wants to join band or orchestra, and they ask “how long are you going to be into this for?” Again, you don’t want that kid to miss out on what may be their passion because of the cost of an instrument. but you know when you get an instruments in a kid’s hand and you see them fall in love with it, that’s fantastic.
Some of those kids, I’ve seen start now, and you watch them come in over the years for lessons and repairs, and eventually they come in and get their first professional instrument or they’re going off to college to play. If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve seen kids go through their own journey, and eventually you’re out gigging with those same kids. It’s really amazing to see it all come full circle. I came here with my family in third grade actually to get my first instrument, so same thing. It’s just really fun to connect kids to instruments and watch them fall in love with it, which is the most rewarding part of any day I’d say.

Does your organization have any big plans for 2016?
Rumble on 44th – we’d like to do a grand opening but we just don’t know when yet. We’re still putting some things away before we get to that point but we’d like to do a big grand opening party in the summer at some point, get some bands and just have a fun time with it. Maybe we’ll do it in July? We’ll get the word out to everybody we can.

If a young entrepreneur walked up and asked for your advice but you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Do it because you love doing it, not because of the money. When you have lean times, its nice to do be doing something you enjoy.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? What is your favorite thing to do while in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I have a croquet league – we play in a lot of parks located in Wheat Ridge. Every week the winner calls the next park, so Apel-Bacher and Randall Park here on the corner, are some of our favorite parks to play in, so we certainly enjoy the facilities. I’m here every day, so I’m trying to learn all of the businesses, my new spring hobby has been to go out walking and try new places, or discovering the local options for lunch. When you get over to 38th, Colorado Plus is really cool; I went there the other day. Grammy’s Goodies is fantastic. Wheat Ridge Lanes is my favorite place to bowl in the city too; I mean cheap beers and no black lights?

If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
Hunger. When people can eat, they have time to pursue their passions.

If you could high five one person, living or not, who would it be?
My son. I hug him and high five him every day, and it’s the absolute best thing in the entire world.


The old adage rings true; Age ain’t nothing but a number at Flesher-Hinton, so stop by if you need to get your trumpet fixed, someone in your family is in the market for an instrument, or you just need to pick up some reeds for your son’s sax. Located at 5890 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80212, they are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9am to 6pm. They’re also open Wednesday 9am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm and closed on Sundays. Join us in welcoming them to the neighborhood because after all they’re not just the 2nd oldest music store in Colorado,they’re a local tradition.

Call 303.433.8891 or visit www.FlesherHinton.com to browse their online store, get rental information, see upcoming events or view their private instructor list, and more!

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Ridge at 38 Criterium Bike Race and Brewfest Volunteer Information

Ridge at 38 Criterium Bike Race and Brewfest

2016 LogobrewfestNEW

CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER!

Volunteering Information:

WHO: You!

WHY: To help with a great event for a great cause. The mission of Ridge at 38 is to be a hub of positive growth for the community by hosting events like the Ridge at 38 Criterium and Brewfest, promoting local restaurants and shops, and supporting close relationships between community.

WHERE: The Ridge at 38 ride starts and finishes in front of Wheat Ridge Cyclery.

WHEN: To volunteer you must be available for:

1) Brief Volunteer training meeting: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 6:00pm (If you can’t make this date please volunteer let us know)

2) Ridge at 38 Criterium: Sunday, June 12, 2016 Shift options include:
Morning (Times vary by assignment. Approx. 4-5 hours between 7:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.)
Mid-Day (Times vary by assignment. Approx. 4-5 hours between 11:30 a.m. & 5 p.m.)
Afternoon/Evening 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
All day 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Are you available Saturday, 6/11 to assist with event preparation?
* Early volunteer positions include set-up help, and late volunteer positions include tear-down help

WHAT: Volunteer Positions include:
Information table and Registration: Help register cyclists and provide information to attendees
Road Marshal: Warn cyclists at intersections and other locations on the ride
General Assistance
Main-stage entertainment: Help assist with band and performance set up on the main stage
Brewfest ticket sales
Vendor ambassador
VIP tent or kids area ambassador
PERKS OF VOLUNTEERING INCLUDE:
VIP tent access with food
VIP bleacher access with great views
2 beer tickets with commemorative cup
Tee shirt

CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER!

Elixir Pilates & Wellness calls Ridge at 38 home

In the fit state of Colorado, wellness business owners can find it hard to distinguish themselves from the competition. That’s not an issue for Elixir Pilates & Wellness, which continually strives to give clients safe, effective, challenging, and fun workouts with world-class instruction.

Owner and instructor Kathryn Shelton isn’t just a certified Pilates teacher, she has trained under some of the most well-known and respected Pilates masters in modern times. Originally an athlete, she graduated from the University of Michigan and soon thereafter began Pilates training.


Tell me about Elixir Pilates & Wellness. What got you or the business started? Tell me about its roots.
Well, I received my Pilates certification in 2001 with the long term goal of owning my own studio. When I relocated to the Front Range, the opportunity to own Elixir presented itself. The previous owner of the studio and I worked together for a year so I could learn the business, get to know the clients and make sure that it was a good fit. And after that time, the ownership was transitioned over to me. That was almost two years ago. Elixir will celebrate 10 years in business in 2017.

Has it always been at this location?
Nope, so it was originally at 32nd and Lowell and then as the Highlands went through a “re-gentrification process” I’ll call it, rents got out of hand and a lot of small businesses had to relocate or close. Unfortunately that is sometimes what happens when areas go through resurgences, but we moved the studio to Wheat Ridge and it will be 4 years at this location in July. And it’s been a really good fit! We’ve enjoyed being over here. Most of the people who do Pilates at Elixir live within a two mile radius of the studio and some even walk to classes, so we truly are serving the local residents. I’m hopeful that with what’s happening with Ridge at 38, we’ll be able to manage the good, positive changes without the congestion that the Highlands is experiencing. I’ve talked with people about how we can make those positive changes without squeezing out locals; I think we can do it.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?
Every day is different, absolutely – running the website, scheduling, answering questions, helping new clientele get started, managing staff and the studio space. For example, we share space with the Kinjo Akido Dojo four evenings a week after the Pilates classes are completed, and also in a separate area we offer massage therapy. Occasionally we do offer workshops, you know, just depending on people’s interests. Sometimes the workshops might speak to people’s diet, or another may teach clients a how to have a home practice. For instance, do you see those foam rollers back there? Recently, we had a foam roller workshop where people came to the studio and learned how to use the roller at home on their own to stretch and strengthen their muscles. Ultimately we want people to consider their health and wellness, while empowering them to make positive changes that help them continue to be active.

What do you find most enjoyable about your work?
Well for me, I’ve always wanted to do something in the healing arts because I find that it’s personally more fulfilling. I feel like what I do is actually changing people’s lives in a positive way. I think I make a positive difference in my client’s lives by providing safe, effective, challenging, and fun workouts. Sometimes clients come in dragging but leave feeling energized, which helps make it all worth it for me at the end of a long day.

What has been your biggest challenge for your business?
I would say it’s probably that it’s all on me [laughs]. I wouldn’t say that I’m doing everything, but it feels like that some days [laughs]. Obviously I do have help, but it’s kind of like the buck stops here, so if anything or everything does happen, it’s all on me.

What has been the greatest success? Or what are you most proud about?
Well I’ve been involved in the Pilates community for 15 years now, so to be able to continue to find joy in teaching and to know I continue to give really great classes and private lessons is a success. And to be a younger person, and a woman at that, owning her own business, is something I’m very proud of.

Does your organization have any big plans for 2016?
A couple things come to mind. I’m looking into implementing a teacher training program. I’ve had people show interest in wanting to have that at Elixir, which would be great because there isn’t a studio close to here, that I know of, actually training teachers how to instruct Pilates. I’ve also been in contact with the IES Wheat Ridge Greenbelt project. I’m volunteering to be a tree steward, and I will also be doing some fundraising here through the studio. I’m not sure what it going to look like yet. It’s still in the works.
It is something I’m excited about because I don’t actually live in Wheat Ridge, but I am involved in the Wheat Ridge community because that’s where my business, so when I was contacted by IES I thought to myself, “ You know what? I’m a good environmentalist so this seems like a great way to partner up with a good cause and make a difference.”

What is your favorite inspirational quote, or what advice would you give someone?
Gosh, that’s a hard one! Um, I’m trying to think of what I would say to my son…I always tell him that it’s okay to make mistakes, but to make sure to learn from them and move on. I was just reading something on Thomas Edison, about how many times he failed – I’ve heard it was as many as 10,000 times before he created the light bulb, but whether it was 1,000 or 10,000 failures, what’s most important is that he continued to try. I feel that when something has gone wrong in someone’s life, they can get kind of latched on to that and start to identify themselves that way, as opposed to just saying – “You know what, that’s a mistake and it doesn’t define me. I can move on from this, I can learn from this, and leave it in the past and move forward.” That’s advice I give my little boy, so [laughs].

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? What is your favorite thing to do in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I like to go to Crown Hill because I like to use that open space a lot, and there are some really great restaurants over here too. I really like how it’s 15 minutes to anywhere, you know what I mean? It’s very convenient to get downtown or to get to I-70 to head to the mountains. I love that Wheat Ridge has open spaces that have been preserved, and we come here and use the parks and the playgrounds. We’re big outdoor people. I mean obviously because we live in Colorado, right? [laughs]

If you had the power to solve only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
The environmental issues we’ve created. Like I said, that’s kind of my touch point, making sure that we have open spaces , and clean water, and that we’re not ruining animals’ habitats, and that we’re being respectful as human citizens, thinking of ourselves as being connected to the water, being connected and not separate from the wildlife and the trees. I probably sound like John Denver, [laughs] but I think as humans we are stewards of the earth.

If you could high five, shake hands, or hug one person, living or not, who would it be?
It would have to be Joseph Pilates. right!? [Laughs] it would HAVE to!

Anything else you’d like to say about Pilates?
There are misconceptions about Pilates – that it is for elite athletes, dancers or women only, and Joseph Pilates was a man. So there is that big misconception that it’s not for everybody but it can be as gentle or as challenging as it needs to be for each individual. And there is a misconception that Pilates is too easy or too hard but Pilates is broken into beginner, intermediate and advanced work. The work is so highly adaptable to each person that anybody can start at any age and at any physical shape that they’re in. So really ‘the work’ is about starting where you are currently and then lifting you up from there as you get stronger. I can’t say enough good things about it.


Elixir Pilates & Wellness specializes in Pilates classes, private instruction, senior fitness, pre and postnatal instruction, and injury rehabilitation. You can maximize your health and wellness by also utilizing additional services they offer, like Aikido classes, massage therapy and workshops. Their studio can be found at 7047 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. They are located in the Ridge at 38, along 38th Avenue just east of High Court and available seven days a week, with classes beginning at various times between 7am to 6:30pm. Elixir wants to benefit your life, while being flexible and making it as comfortable as possible to achieve your goals.

Call 303.594.9508 or visit www.ElixirDenver.com
to view and make appointments online.

Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market: Making it Easy to Buy and Support Local Goods

Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market is a gem worth discovering, less than a minute and tucked just a few blocks away from the intersection of Wadsworth Boulevard and 38th Avenue. Inside you’ll find an amazing collective of all natural, farm fresh and artisan goods – vegetables and fruits, dairy, eggs, butter, meat products, baked goods, paintings, jam and fruit butters, handmade soap and lip balm, honey, painted greeting cards, handmade jewelry, clothing, and even customized drink coasters – all sourced from local Colorado vendors.

At the center of this haven for local merchandise and food are two very committed and humble owners who are providing a place that will give local farmers and artists a platform to share and profit from their trade.

Extremely passionate about agriculture and education, Dick and Margaret Barkey come from a generation that believes in hard work and taking action to make a positive change in their community. From a long line of pioneers, their dream began when they first bought their farm in Weld county years ago. Margaret reminisces about the day they went out to California to trade a rare-breed boar they had bought. Now they own 25 hogs, 125 rare Soay sheep, and roughly 500 chickens that produce over 40 dozen eggs each week. “The abundance of eggs is actually what got us to join a farmers market in Denver before opening our own market,” says Margaret. When the Denver market closed, the Barkeys and their friends lacked a place to easily sell their fresh goods in the Denver metro. Dick and Margaret decided they wanted a place for people to go support their local community.

What got your business started?
Margaret: It was a process of evolution. At first we bought a farm in Weld County – eventually we wanted to have a place that went back to our farming roots.

What has been one of your biggest challenges?
M: It was difficult navigating all the various government permits required for our business and the improvements we made. The City of Wheat Ridge left me the nicest voicemail after explaining my frustrations.

What has been the best thing about opening Four Seasons?
Dick: The neighborhood has been very welcoming.
M: A city councilwoman was here the first morning, she’s not the council woman for this district but she still stopped by within the first 15 minutes of opening.

If you had the power to solve one problem in the world, what problem would you solve?
D: I think it would be poverty for me..
M: We see that in Weld County, it’s a big deal in urban counties and northern Colorado. I don’t think people really see that despite it being a problem throughout the entire state.

As a community of vendors at Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market, there are 25 indoor spots total with just a few current openings. Their location also features an education area where they are planning to have classes throughout the year, in addition to hosting a Bee Keeping series.

Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market can be found at 7043 W 38th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. They are in the Ridge at 38 along 38th Avenue just east of High Court. Full of unique and local art, food and clothing – they are open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 3pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm and closed on Mondays. Whether you’re looking for some fresh goat’s milk, some really cool mittens for a niece’s upcoming birthday present, or you want to impress your boss with some amazing honey, Four Season Farmers and Artisans Market is the spot to find something special and local.

To learn more about Four Season Farmers and Artisans Market, please call 720.560.6648 or visit their website online at: http://www.fourseasonsfam.com/

Vitruvian Fitness is the Solution to Living a Happier, Healthy Lifestyle

Along with the New Year, many people are making resolutions to live healthier lifestyles around this time and that’s where Vitruvian Fitness comes in. But as Vitruvian Fitness owner Tom Wigginton explains, owning a business is hard work.

Being a master of your craft is not enough; you also have to master the art of running a business while seeking out a support system that will help you improve your business for the better.

Originating in the corporate world, and after being laid off, Tom went back to school and searched within himself to find something that he found personally meaningful. “After a lot of soul searching, I decided that I wanted to get into personal training. I went back to school and got an education to become a trainer” he said. After making this big life change, he still felt something was missing. After being unsatisfied with his experience in big-box gyms, that is when his dream of Vitruvian was born. “…I realized that the big-box approach to fitness was very generic, not personal and more about building their revenue and less about the clients’ experience and personal improvement, so I decided to open up my own studio…” Tom said.

Vitruvian Fitness opened its doors in Wheat Ridge on August 1st in 2015. Originating in lower Highlands in 2010, the location was a busy street corner which gave them great visibility but Tom said that eventually they ran out of space. When the lease was up, it was the perfect time to relocate Vitruvian. “It’s been a phenomenal experience and a phenomenal ride,” he said. They open at 6 am and feature customized individual workout plans and group workouts that run throughout the day.

Tell me about Vitruvian Fitness – What got you or the business started, how did the idea for your business come about?
After being laid off after many years in the corporate world, it was time for me to find something that was much more meaningful and impactful at an individual level rather than in a big corporate type of environment. After a lot of soul searching, I decided that I wanted to get into personal training. After a couple of years in ‘big-box’ gyms, I realized the big-box approach to fitness was very generic, not personal and more about building their revenue and less about the clients’ experience and personal improvement, so I decided to open my own studio and I’ve never done anything more difficult in my entire life [laughs]… Running a business and also being a personal trainer is a lot of work. 80 percent of what I do is not being a trainer – it’s the business, marketing, management, accounting, it’s community relations – all of that stuff, you know? It doesn’t matter if I’m making pie or if I’m making cars, 80 percent is the same in any business you go into. So, that’s been a big eye opener and one of the biggest challenges.

At Vitruvian, we specialize in getting people back to their previous active abilities. Our target clientele is 35 to 70 years old. We’ve had great success with people who’ve had some type of injury or chronic disease, hip replacements, should reconstructions, or people who’ve had sedentary lifestyles due to their commitment to their careers and families … That’s our specialty and we do it in a semi-private environment for people who need that focus or in a group environment for people who prefer a larger setting. And by large I mean 12- 16 people total.

We had wonderful success and a great location in LoHi. The space was just too small. When our 5-year lease was up, we decided we wanted to expand and among the reasons we choose Wheat Ridge was the cost of commercial space being significantly less than it is in the Highlands. We got our new place, which is 3 and a half times bigger and has better amenities for less rent than we were paying before. The unfortunate part of the move is many of our previous clients didn’t follow us so we were starting over again at a level less than we projected. Now we’re 6 months in and we’re back on track.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays? What do you find most enjoyable?
We open up at 6am for personal training and group classes. Training clients work on programs that have been designed specifically for their needs and goals. Group classes are a little less individualized but the groups are small enough that everyone gets a lot of attention. We train until around lunch then we take a break and it starts back up again around 3pm through the evening.

The most rewarding part about this is when somebody presents us with a problem and we help them solve it. For example, when a client’s bone density improves and is able to stay off the meds, or watching a client with a joint replacement begin to thrive again, or when a client is able to continue going to concerts at Red Rocks, or is able to run pain-free . . . I love that. It’s the most amazing thing. So getting to share in those experiences with our clients, getting them newly capable of something they couldn’t do before, that’s amazing.

How long have you been located or have lived in Wheat Ridge for? Or why did you move/relocate to Wheat Ridge? Why do you stay?
I’m a Denver native and moved to northwest Denver in 2003. We moved the business to Wheat Ridge after 5 years and opened August 1, 2015.

How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful for you?
Our old address in LoHi was good for about 25 to 50 percent of our new business. We were highly visible on a corner where people were walking by all day long, biking and driving cars by all the time. It was a very vibrant, pedestrian and bicycle friendly street corner so we had a lot of activity based on our address. Here, we have an awesome parking lot but we are set back from 44th Avenue and our street exposure is greatly diminished, so we still need to solve for that.

We’ve had great results getting new clients from professional referrals such as physical therapists, chiropractors and other medical professionals. Many people also find us via online search on Google and Yelp.

One of the things we know will be good for business is by engaging with Localworks, engaging with the Wheat Ridge Business Association and getting involved in other community events so people can see what we do, recognize the value to them, before they actually come walk through the door.

Does your organization have any big plans for 2016?
We have 3 events planned so far and we’re working on more. We love riding bikes and so we like to help people experience the awesomeness of going on big long rides. Our first event is a June bike ride called the MS150 which is a benefit for multiple sclerosis. Participants ride 150 miles over 2 days and it’s a fun, great community event, and phenomenal cause . Our second is the Courage Classic which is a benefit for Children’s Hospital. Our third one is the Copper Triangle and that’s a benefit for the Davis Phinney Foundation which has programs for Parkinson’s Disease. All three of those events have some personal connections with staff or clients.

If a young entrepreneur walked up and asked for your advice but you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Being a master of your craft is not enough; you also have to master the art of running a business and to seek out a support system that will help you run your business better. I totally encourage people to own their own businesses, but it’s not easy.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? What is your favorite thing to do while in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I have 3-year-old twins who have enriched my life more than anything. So, every opportunity I have to be with or play with them, that is what I enjoy doing the most. I also love riding bikes, fly-fishing, playing golf and sailing.

If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
I don’t think that we as a global community are happy and I would love to change that.

If you could high five, handshake or hug one person, living or not, who would it be?
I will go with Robin Williams playing Patch Adams. [laughs]

Ready to start living a healthy lifestyle or maybe you have a new or old injury that needs some attention? Whatever may be holding you back, Tom and Vitruvian Fitness have the solution. Vitruvian fitness is open Monday through Thursday from 6am to 8 pm, Friday from 6 am to noon, and Saturday from 8 am to noon. Stop by to see Tom and his team, we think their future is bright in Wheat Ridge and we can’t wait to grow along with them.

To learn more about Vitruvian and to see their class schedule, please visit their website online at: http://www.vmfit.com/

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Wheat Ridge 2020 is now Localworks

logo-01For more than a decade, Wheat Ridge 2020 has been an integral part of Wheat Ridge’s culture, working as a catalyst for revitalization and community connection. Now, as the city continues to grow, the Wheat Ridge 2020 organization will evolve as well.

Introducing Localworks, the all-new, rebranded Wheat Ridge 2020. Localworks will carry on the same mission and values of the organization, advancing a vibrant and sustainable Wheat Ridge while becoming an even stronger force for connection and development. Localworks shines the spotlight on what really makes the community great: The impassioned and committed residents.

Defined by three pillars of action—Connect, Volunteer, Create—Localworks puts the power of change in the hands of citizens, empowering all residents to take part in the future of Wheat Ridge. By connecting, volunteering and creating new opportunities, Localworks ensures everyone has a role and a voice in the future of our great city.

Why I am involved in Wheat Ridge 2020 – Janeece Hoppe

I am the President of the Board of Directors for WR2020 and one of Wheat Ridge 2020’s events is the reason my family has invested so much in this community.

In 2010 my husband and I were looking for a new office for our company Compass Construction; we had literally grown out of our office space on 44th and Tennyson. We went from 2 of us sharing an office to 4 of us in a matter of a few months. We had looked into several places around the Denver metro area and found one that we sort of liked. Then we were doing some work for The Family Tree Treasure Trunk and saw the broken down, half built, leaking roof, and mushroom growing building across the street. A nightmare to some, but a contractors dream!

So we started to ask around about Wheat Ridge, the unfortunate story we heard was that the city was hard to work with. Then I asked our friend, a real estate agent, his opinion of Wheat Ridge. He had just gone on the Realtor Tour with WR2020, he said prior to that tour he really had no opinion on Wheat Ridge, but that the tour convinced him that Wheat Ridge would be the new “hot” market in a few years. He shared with us the insight he gained from the Realtor Tour with WR2020; he also shared the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy(NRS). After I read the NRS, I decided to do a little more digging into Wheat Ridge, and I contacted Britta at WR2020.

Britta met with me, gave me a little history on the building I was looking at and helped me set up a meeting with the building department to answer some of our “can we do this” questions. This is all work we did before we decided to buy the property. When we were thinking about the purchase, there were 7 vacant, for sale or lease properties within a few blocks of us. I wish I had a picture, it was very sad looking.

After doing our due diligence and speaking with the building department we decided to purchase our building. We decided to purchase our building, even though the street was looking pretty rough at the time, because we knew the city had a plan for future prosperity for Wheat Ridge via the NRS.  The City also had some good incentive to take the risk, the Building Up Business Loan Program from WR2020 and the Grant Programs from Wheat Ridge Business District (WRBD).  After we purchased our building and worked in Wheat Ridge for a while, we decided to move from Denver and make our home in Wheat Ridge.

Because I agreed with the work that WR2020 was doing, and had experienced it firsthand, I applied to be on the Board of Directors. I was soon asked by the City Council if I would accept an appointment to the WRBD Board of Directors. What have I brought to the community since? I am one of the 3 founding members of Live Local. Live Local Wheat Ridge was created by Wheat Ridge 2020 to help connect community members to each other in person and one on one, and to support our community of small business. The monthly Live Local Dines to meet up at the dinner table together, yoga in the park to connect in nature, cruiser crawls for good times on our bikes, food and film, sharing stories and food, harvest swaps…. It is a long and successful list.

My husband and I also are the ones who spend a weekend in September cutting out giant pumpkins to give to the business on 38th for free, so that we may have an interesting , fun and united (in one thing) holiday spirit in our town instead of having to go to another town to feel that sense of community.  And love them or hate them I was also on the 4 person committee to beautify the repurposed planters from over 30 years ago. The planters were going to get used, and I loved the idea of repurposing them but wanted to help give them a little flair with art panels sponsored by local residents and businesses.

I don’t tell you all this to toot my horn, I tell you all this to demonstrate how what may seem a small program like the Realtor Tour, it is the pebble that started the ripples, that turned to waves of positive change and contribution.  This would not have happened without WR2020. I tell you this because it is my testimony about the good things WR2020 does for our community.

I hope you will consider joining us advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community.