Posted: September 01, 2014
Made in Colorado: Enjoy Biscotti, Roost stand, Valentich bags, custom guitarsEric Peterson
1. Enjoy Biscotti
Mary Sherman started making biscotti for her friends and family in the late 1990s, and turned pro in 2008. “They’re not necessarily your traditional biscotti,” she says. “I use a different liqueur in each variety. They’re artisan.” This makes for varieties like the best-selling Frangelico Chocolate Toffee Chunk and Raspy Blues (with Chambord and blueberries). “The flavors just blend very well together,” she says. “People say, ‘I don’t like biscotti, but I love yours.’”
Made by Enjoy Biscotti Co.
2. The Roost Stand
James Olander moved from Silicon Valley to Denver in 2013 and launched The Roost, an ergonomic laptop stand that mitigates users’ usual hunched-over position. Looking to fund the launch via Kickstarter, he had a target of $9,300, and hit $200,000. It took him about two months to ship 2,500 units to campaign supporters, cutting aluminum parts with a laser cutter and building the stands by hand. “It was kind of a traumatic experience – fulfilling all of those orders,” he says. Olander now works with local contract manufacturers to assemble the stands as he develops a new iteration. He’s hoping to tap into a broader market beyond the early adopters, but has no intention of offshoring production. “In Colorado, there’s a ton of awesome manufacturers,” he says.
$75 to $85 retail
Made by The Roost Stand
3. Valentich Bags
Ryan Valentich started sewing as a hobby in 2010, then hit the road with his wife, Jill, and traveled the West with a camper that doubled as a studio. After stitching from the road, the couple settled in Colorado. “Of all the places we’ve been, Denver is by far our favorite,” Ryan says. Today the studio isn’t on wheels – it’s planted in the Baker neighborhood – and Ryan stitches backpacks, messenger bags, and one-of-a-kind purses, as well as heavy-duty work aprons. Backpacks are the top seller. “I stay away from the bells and whistles,” Ryan says. “I’m trying to have a few well designed features and keep it at that.”
$115 to $375 retail
Made by Valentich Bags
Also available at I Heart Denver Store in the Denver Pavilions and the Track Shack (1338 Tremont Place, Denver).
4. Wilson Custom Guitars
Texas transplant Brad Wilson has played the guitar since he was a kid but decided to start making the instruments in 2012. He made himself one, then built two to display on walls of bars in Denver (Retro Room and Scruffy Murphy’s). Now Wilson offers about 10 varieties – from Stratocasters to basses to double-necked axes – with colorful custom artwork.
$500 and up retail
Made by Wilson Custom Guitars
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