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Posted: October 01, 2011

Colorado cool stuff: Gorilla suits, skincare, Loyaltees and hot sauce

Eric Peterson

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HORSETOOTH HOT SAUCE
"My Mom got us started on hot sauce when we were little," John Comeau says. "She always had a bottle in the fridge." Now he and his sister/business partner Michael Ann Comeau are making hot sauce for a living, and business is booming. Their Horsetooth Hot Sauce, launched in 2008, now makes six sauces, two Bloody Mary mixes and two barbecue sauces, as well as small batches of stuff like bacon-flavored hot sauce and sauce spiced with jolokia, or ghost, peppers, the hottest peppers in the world.
"We grew them ourselves," John says. "They're supposedly 16 times hotter than a habanero, but it had a really great flavor, really fresh." $4.99 to $7.50 a bottle retail.

Made by Horsetooth Hot Sauce LLC, Fort Collins, (970) 217-5754, www.horsetoothhotsauce.com . Also available at Whole Foods and Sprouts stores in Colorado.

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LOYALTEES SHIRTS
Andrea Burns turned a business-school project into a business with her husband Todd Culter. They approached "legendary hotspots and holes-in-the-wall" around Colorado and asked if they could design a T-shirt based on the establishment, and then sell them and return a share of the sales.
"Each gets a percentage back and the shirts are free marketing," Burns says. "We've only heard a couple of no's." Launching earlier this year, the nine-shirt LoyalTee line includes wearable tributes to such local landmarks as Johnson's Corner, Rocky Flats Lounge and Stella's Coffeehaus, as well as top seller Mile High Stadium. Says Culter: "It's grown into a passion - it's addictive." $23 retail.

Made by LoyalTee LLC Denver, www.loyalteeshirts.com

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LA ISHÁ SKINCARE
Sharon Gnatt Epel's son Aaron was blistered by polluted water in 2005, and clinical essential oil therapy helped mend his skin. Inspired, Epel jumped into the field and developed her own La Ishá line of skin-care products after moving to Colorado in 2007.
"I felt like I had died and gone to skin hell," she said. Her line includes Breast S.O.S., one of the only skin-care products embraced by the breast cancer survivor community, and several products aimed at anti-aging, sun damage, and other common skin maladies for women. $35 to $110 retail.

Made by La Ishá (an S-Corp), Greenwood Village, (303) 601-7284, www.la-isha.com . Also available at alternative medicine stores and practitioners in Colorado.

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FRANK COFFMAN'S GORILLA SUITS
Frank Coffman has been making rubber masks out of his Boulder shop for 30 years, but only a few years ago did he discover that the market for quality gorilla suits was woefully under-served.
"I didn't realize the potential," says Coffman, who says gorilla suits are his primary focus and that "99.9 percent" of his sales are direct off the Internet. Coffman custom tailors and double-stitches each suit himself based on the buyer's height, weight and chest and waist measurements. They include masks, full bodysuits, chest plates, hands and feet.
"People don't want a crummy, loose-fitting gorilla suit," he says. "My suits fit good. And they look good. It's not Hollywood realism, but it's pretty good." Coffman also makes custom Bigfoot suits. His customers include Subaru North America, Leave No Trace, and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Gorilla suit: $265 retail. Bigfoot suit: $295 retail.

Made by Frank Coffman, Boulder, www.undeadmonsters.com
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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

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