Posted: February 01, 2011
Colorado cool stuff: Necklissi, Tugo, Patsy’s candies and beer mustardBy Eric Peterson
Shortly after retiring from teaching, Gloria Tate pursued an idea that came to her a few years earlier. "I had a dream - literally," she says. "I saw somebody coming toward me in a business suit with this jewelry." That jewelry - which was pinned on the back of the suit on the seam under the collar, with two strands hanging down in front - became Tate's second career after she patented it in 1998. She's since made numerous Necklissis from new pins, vintage brooches, and strands bearing jewels, feathers and other adornments. "People often say, ‘Now I'm decorated in back, too,'" Tate says. "You're cute coming and going." $30 and up retail.
Made by Gloria Tate, Necklissi, Englewood, (303) 886-9225, www.necklissi.com .
Denver-based nurse Karen Porte found herself pulling her luggage in airports quite a bit working with a patient in Michigan a few years ago, but she never had a place to put her coffee. So she developed the tugo, a hands-free cup-holder that attaches to the upright handles on a rolling carry-on and rotates so as to remain perpendicular to the ground. Porte launched the product with her husband, Tom, in 2009 and has since gotten notice from Rachel Ray, The Economist, and "The Today Show." "Our website has been
viewed in 128 countries," she says. "That is so thrilling to
me." $9.95 retail; $12.95 with water-bottle accessory.
Made by Fli LLC, Denver, (303) 722-0170, www.goodtugo.com . Also available at First Class Baggage and Airport Baggage at Denver International Airport.
Founded in 1903 by namesake Patsy Maheney, Patsy's Candies is one of the state's oldest operating companies. Today it's a family business, owned by the Niswonger family since 1956. Wes and Annette Niswonger run Patsy's with help from sons Mike and Si and daughter Christine. The big push since 2008 was to move to all-natural recipes, doing away with artificial flavors and hydrogenated oils. "We can differentiate ourselves with a better product in an all-natural product," Mike says. "It's a lot different than what a big candy company like Mars can offer." The company also offers custom-logo candies and all sorts of sweets for Valentine's Day. $9.95 to $48.95 retail.
Made by Patsy's Candies, Colorado Springs, (719) 633-7215, www.patsyscandies.com . Also available at the Patsy's factory at 1540 S. 21st St. and other retailers in Colorado.
RAIL YARD ALE BEER MUSTARD
Mustard maven Mady Smith found herself selling paper products in the early 1980s, but didn't enjoy it. "Sometimes a job just isn't for you," Smith says. Her backup plan: "I knew I could sell peanut brittle." And she was right: Her grandmother's recipe was an instant success at high-end outlets like the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs, so she started making beer mustard, pepper jelly and other products. She's since scaled back to focus only on mustard, including her first private-label foray, Rail Yard Ale Beer Mustard, which she makes for Wynkoop Brewing Co. and its sister restaurants. "It was love at first taste," says Smith, who says she agreed to make the mustard because she's a big fan of Wynkoop founder and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. $5 retail.
Made by Mady's Specialty Foods Inc., Colorado Springs, www.beermustard.com, for Wynkoop Brewing Co., Denver, (303) 297-2700, www.wynkoop.com. Available at Wynkoop Holdings restaurants.
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