Current Issue

April 2014 Issue

Cover Story

Ready Foods: A Colorado success story

By Mike Taylor

In 1972, Luis Abarca had a notion that only in retrospect seems obvious: Mexican food would become mainstream in the U.S. the same way Italian food had, and restaurants were going to need help preparing it. That was the impetus for Ready Foods, a Denver-based food processor that has expanded its product line well beyond Mexican fare over the years and now sells to more than 1,000 restaurants in Colorado as well as to clients in 35 states. “The idea was that there would be a lot of people wanting to serve Mexican food but they didn’t know how to cook Mexican food,” says

Read Full Article

Articles

WINTER SPORTS 2014 @ the Snow Show

Sports brands gear up for annual event

By Gigi Sukin

For the past four years, a mass migration has made its way from the mountains to the Mile High City for the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) annual Snow Show, where retailers explore stock for the upcoming season, manufacturers peddle their latest and greatest innovations, and likeminded athletes, reps, media and more convene. Now going on year five at the Colorado Convention Center, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2 marks SIA’s 60th anniversary, and David Ingemie, president of the nonprofit, member-owned trade association predicts a “booming sense of optimism” at this year’s Snow Show, after a few slow years. “It’s all attributed to early snow,” Ingemie says. “I think the buyers are going to be less conservative than. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Sports biz PRO-file

Colorado doctor goes the distance

By Gigi Sukin

6,368. That is the distance in miles it took Dr. Gloria Beim to get to work from her hometown of Crested Butte. As chief medical officer for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Beim is willing to travel near and far for her “love of taking care of athletes. Their energy, their spirit — it’s quite amazing,” she says. Since a February 2013 phone call from Dr. Bill Morea, medical director of the United States Olympic Committee, during which Beim learned she would lead the medical team at the 2014 Winter Games, she has thrown herself into the role, ordering the Pimsleur Approach the day she found out and studying Russian an hour a day in her car ever since. “I want to be fluent. I think it will help the. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Rooftop solar debate

Xcel proposes less pay for power fed back to grid

By Eric Peterson

While Xcel is breaking new ground buying from centralized solar farms in Colorado, the company is less interested in buying solar-generated electricity from residential rooftops. Xcel currently pays Colorado customers 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for feeding surplus solar power back into the grid but has proposed to slash the payment by more than half to 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Why? Xcel spokesperson Mark Stutz calls the difference of 5.9 cents a “hidden subsidy” paid by customers without rooftop solar to support those who do. “If you put a 10-kilowatt system on your house, your system benefit to the utility, in our opinion, is about 4.6 cents,” says Stutz. He says the proposal doesn’t eliminate the 5.9-cent difference, just pushes to call it what it is. “We need to recognize there is a hidden incentive. The other side doesn’t want. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Real Estate Roundup: Reclaiming Brighton Boulevard

Projects in the works to transform corridor from I-70 to downtown

By Margaret Jackson

Long eyed by Denver planners for its potential, the Brighton Boulevard corridor is attracting the attention of developers and businesses wanting to locate in what once was a tangle of rail yards and large industrial plants. Though slow to evolve, the renaissance started with the early vision of urban pioneer Mickey Zeppelin, whose 20-acre mixed-use project TAXI was catalytic to the development of River North (RiNo) – a neighborhood north of downtown that Brighton bisects. Firm believers in the area, Zeppelin and his son Kyle recently opened The Source, an urban artisan market on Brighton. They’re also planning a 50-unit family housing project expected to break ground this spring. “The next chapter is really thinking. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Financial literacy 101

Local organizations teach kids the rules of personal finance

By Jamie Siebrase

Robin Wise believes knowledge is power when it comes to money matters, and that’s why she’s determined to help the next generation become more financially literate. “Not understanding the rules of personal finance is what keeps people poor,” says Wise, president and CEO of Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain Inc., a nonprofit that provides in-school and after-school programs focusing on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. Wise’s organization has more company than ever in its quest to improve financial literacy. Educators and industries across Colorado have joined in, a reflection of a new economic reality that has made career changes commonplace and shifted retirement funding. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Made in Colorado: Blockworks, bacon jam, counter couture, vibrant juice

By Eric Peterson

BLOCKWORKS Living in cramped apartments in L.A. and New York, James Hixson regarded floor space as a prized commodity before a move to Denver in 2012. In these "very small spaces," Hixson found inspiration for his modular furniture. "I was trying to figure out furniture that could change," he says. A table was great, for instance, until entertaining guests; then it would be much better if it could shape-shift into seating. Hixson's vision evolved into Blockworks, which he launched in July after two years of R&D and prototyping. Made of furniture-grade plywood, the sturdy modules are sold in sets from two to eight pieces. "They all fit together and they all work together,” Hixson says. “It's really sturdy but you can just pull it out by hand." The. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Renewables rising

Xcel ups ante on wind and solar

By Eric Peterson

A sea change in electrical generation is underway in Colorado. Xcel Energy has received approval to add 170 megawatts of solar, 450 megawatts of wind and 317 megawatts of natural gas generation, while phasing out a coal plant in Denver earlier than originally planned. It all adds up to a major shift in the company’s resource portfolio for electricity in Colorado. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the plan last December. PUC Chairman Joshua Epel called the approval “an historic moment” for its impact on carbon emissions and a sign of price parity between renewables and fossil fuels. The decision is effective through 2018. But the move isn’t just about going green. Gabriel Romero, Xcel. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Sportsbiz: For this rising Colorado company, success is a sticky subject

By Stewart Schley

If you’ve coached youth sports, chances are you’ve had this problem. You hustle to the practice field, hit “mute” on a chirping cell phone, unload a duffel bag full of equipment, greet your early-arrival players, and then realize: You don’t have a clue what to do next. Something like that happened to Greg Waldbaum. He’s a father of two and a lacrosse enthusiast who hit the coaching wall when he realized he had little more to offer to his son and his recreational lacrosse team. “I knew I was at my coaching capacity,” he says. Rather than feel resigned, Waldbaum was energized. The entrepreneurial founder of Denver-based Firehouse Animal Health Centers recognized lacrosse was riding a growth wave. He sensed there was something interesting brewing within a combination of rising popularity, a shortage of talented coaches and a highly. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Tech startup: Wimbo Music Inc.

Inspired by playing with the band

By Eric Peterson

COMPANY: Wimbo Music Inc., www.wimbomusic.com, Highlands Ranch FOUNDED: 2009 INITIAL LIGHTBULB: A longtime musician, Denis Oullette would play guitar along to his favorite Eagles and Eric Clapton records, when inspiration struck. "I wanted to play with the band, not over the band," he says. The 30-year commercial real estate veteran and co-owner of Design Repeats, a consigned furniture store in Highlands Ranch, saw an opportunity to make an iOS app that would make "playing with the band" possible. But after founding Wimbo Music in late 2009, Oullette soon discovered that most major labels had eliminated their multitrack masters years ago. Then in 2012 he connected with Digitrax Entertainment, a company based in Tennessee with a library of 4,000 digital multitrack songs. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

KC Mathews: It’s sequel time

UMB investment chief talks new year numbers

By Mike Taylor

UMB Chief Investment Officer KC Mathews has dubbed this year the “The Sequel” in terms of what he expects from the economy and the markets in 2014. That is, an extension of the slow to moderate growth seen in 2013 – with a chance of improving on that. “We’re thinking about 2.4 percent real GDP growth in 2014, a little bit better than the 1.8 percent growth in 2013,” Mathews said in mid-December. Keeping with the cinematic theme, he added, “The sequel’s going to be better than the original – a better ending where you have more growth and activity in the economy. The only thing I don’t know is if you can beat the (2013) returns in the stock market.” Mathews headed up a roundtable discussion last October that included CEOs of ColoradoBiz Top Company winners. UMB, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

State of the state: Retail

Small businesses bruised by mobile tech

By Margaret Jackson

Specialty retailers across the state are grappling with customers taking photos of their merchandise – including bar codes – then shopping the Web for a lower price. They say the practice, known as “showrooming,” results in decreased sales, and some fear it could mean the end of small retailers that have been in business for decades. Roxanne Thurman has posted “No Photos” signs throughout Cry Baby Ranch, a Larimer Square mainstay for 25 years. She also ran a sale during the holiday season to attract customers who are increasingly turning to online retailers in search of bargains. “We had a guy come in and take a picture of a book,” Thurman said. “He came back the next day to buy it.. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

The Economist: Looking to 2014

The end of the old, the start of the new

By Tucker Hart Adams

It’s that time of year, when we clean out the old to make way for the new. As I go through my ColoradoBiz files, I find things I never got around to and supplemental reflections on subjects I’ve already covered. First, the endless complaints that the rich get richer and the rest of us suffer. I ran across the fact that it takes the average American household about 25 years to earn a million dollars. That’s hardly poverty-level income. I got no response to my column that advised if we surveyed the richest 1 percent in the world, it would include most Americans. Since I tend to hear from half a dozen or more of you per issue, I’m not sure what spurred that silence. It’s true that inequality of income and wealth has widened in most of the Western world for the past 30 or so years, and that now it’s happening in emerging markets such as China,. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Rundles wrapup: Long hours may be hazardous to your health

And your happiness

By Jeff Rundles

Over Thanksgiving, I was talking with a young couple I know, pretty much fresh out of college and a little more than a year into the working world. The odd thing that came forth in the conversation was how much harder their chosen-career jobs were than they expected. A lot of hours, very demanding, little time off; they didn’t say it overtly, but it was clear that the jobs themselves were getting in the way of their lives. It struck me that this could be a good commentary on higher education not preparing people for the real world. I think back to my own time in my 20s, when my friends and I were just beginning our careers. The hours were very long (just ask any new lawyer associate or intern physician, for instance), and when you spend that much time each and almost every day at work, it’s hard to have “a life.” On the other hand, I know that those first. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

25th Anniversary Colorado Business Hall of Fame

Milestone event is cause for recalling stories of laureates who helped shape the state

By Maria Martin

Look through the list of names that make up the Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureates, and it’s hard to miss the big picture. No history book could better illustrate the history of the Centennial State. The stories of the 136 honored over the past 25 years give readers a glimpse of the grit, creativity and generosity of the men and women who help shape Colorado’s business community. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement- Rocky Mountain Inc., co-sponsors of the event, award only those who have truly changed our state for the better, says Robin Wise, CEO of Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain. “When you look across the landscape of Colorado, there isn’t much that you can lay your eyes on that. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

From just over the hill: Today is always the beginning

Modern business must grow, transform and better serve to survive

By Pat Wiesner

One thing I can claim without challenge is that I have been around business for a long time. I had my first job in 1951 as a soda jerk in Benson’s drugstore in Buffalo, N. Y.; the first president I remember is FDR, and the first one I voted for was JFK. My first real job out of college was as a sales engineer for a company selling laminated phenolics, and my first car was an old yellow ‘53 Plymouth I bought in ‘58 after graduating from college in ‘57.  For me the most fun part of those 60 years in the work force has been the constant change. The line in the title of this column, “Today is always the beginning,” is painted on the tunnel wall of the Castle Rock rec center, at the entrance to the track – a place I frequent to help deal with some back problems. (I wonder if the rec center knows that the line is attributed to Mary Shelley,. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

2014 Colorado Economic Oulook

Housing market, jobs outlook are keys to expected ‘decent’ year

By Tucker Hart Adams

Illustrations by Shaw Nielsen Over 35 years in the forecasting business, I’ve learned that no one can consistently predict the future of the economy. So I’ve developed a series of rules to keep me from making some common mistakes. The most important may be: There is no new paradigm. The four most dangerous words in forecasting are, “This time it’s different.” The end of 2013 was a time when many pundits on the national and international scene were wringing their hands and saying: “This time it’s different. The world is mired in endless recession and/or slow  growth. Everything has changed and the future is grim.” Luckily Colorado economists aren’t falling into the trap. Their outlook for 2014, while cognizant of the challenges we continue to face, is generally upbeat. Our six economic forecasters – Tom Binnings,. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

Executive Edge: Nicole Singleton

Black chamber leader moved by stories of enterprise

By Lynn Bronikowski

Nicole Singleton last spring was named president and CEO of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, heading up an organization that represents 300 companies and 1,000 individuals. Prior to joining the chamber, she was president of The Third Eye, an association management company serving national and international professional societies and trade organizations. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Singleton, 41, studied business on a full scholarship at the University of Michigan, earned her MBA from Regis University and a master’s degree in applied communication from the University of Denver. We sat down for a chat. Q. What’s the best part of your job? A. The support of the community. It’s required that I get more …. . .

Read Full Article^ Back to top

ColoradoBiz TV

Loading the player ...

Featured Video