Posted: September 01, 2011
Colorado cool stuff: Amazing rake, Robin’s chocolates, trucker hats, Frisk jewelryBy Eric Peterson
Lyle Ethington came up with the idea for the Amazing Rake while raking up his barn. "I thought, ‘There's gotta be a better way, without bending over,'" he says." He came up with a clamshell design strong enough to pick up a bowling ball, had it made by a Fort Collins contract manufacturer, and started selling it in 2007. QVC picked up the Amazing Rake in 2009, and the company shipped the TV retail giant more than 20,000 in 2009 and 2010. "This year, we're double that," Ethington says. $25.95 suggested retail.
Made by R & R Group LLC., Windsor/Granite Bay, Calif., www.amazingrake.com.
DEDICATE BRAND COLORADO
Tommie Williams and Brock Hovey started making hats screen-printed with images from state flags in 2005, and today their Dedicate Brand covers nine states. Their Colorado flag hats remain their top seller, inspiring copycats and cheap knockoffs.
"There was instant demand for more local product," says Williams, who says every design is a limited edition.
Dedicate's hats range from fitted trucker hats to knit beanies, and the company makes a Colorado T-shirt as well. Hovey handles distribution and Denver, while Williams has lived "a transient life" in recent years, with stints in Boulder, New York, L.A., and Jackson Hole, Wyo. "It's definitely a boutique, small, indie business," he says. Hats: $22 to $30 retail.
Vintage jewelry has long been a passion in the Rubino family, and the mother-daughter-daughter team of Donna, Jessica and Amanda "went pro" in 2004. "We just started making our own designs out of vintage jewelry," Donna says.
The trio collaborates on every design, incorporating components from multiple old pieces into one new one. "A lot of it is glamorous and some of it is earthy," says Donna, citing a catalog that includes Bohemian earrings, pearl necklaces, and charms of all descriptions. In 2008, the Rubinos opened Frisk Jewelry in Boulder to sell their own jewelry as well as original and vintage items of all descriptions. Most pieces $40 to $130 retail.
Made by Frisk Jewelry, Boulder, (303) 449-3030, www.girlsforfrisk.com . Also available at the Frisk store at 1144 13th St. in Boulder.
Robin Autorino left Sun Microsystems in 2006 and professionally pursued her longtime love of chocolate-making. "You need to have passion for what you are doing," says Autorino, and the proof is in her chocolates, ranging from PB&J to Mexican Molé Caramel with habanero.
Premium works of confectionery art, Robin Chocolates look as good as they taste. "It's the whole thing of quality over quantity," Autorino says. "I don't think I'll ever get bored with chocolate because there are so many factors. It can get pretty crazy." About $2 per individual chocolate retail.
Made by Robin Chocolates, Longmont, www.robinchocolates.com. Also open at the company shop at 600 S. Airport Road in Longmont, slated to open later this month.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com