Buena Vista's South Main has the Wright stuff
The winner was one of a dozen nominees from 10 Colorado towns
Buena Vista’s South Main won the 2016 Wright Award for its collaborative spirit, strong vision and a commitment to craft. The winner was one of a dozen peer-nominated contestants from 10 Colorado towns, each considered a leader in various lifestyle-focused industries. They competed for the title and a $5,000 prize at the event hosted by Something Independent at Space Gallery on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
South Main, is a development concept from Jed Selby that has resulted in a thriving new urban community in the central portion of the state. Started more than a decade ago, the area has transformed into a charming neighborhood complete with homes, hotels, restaurants, retail and commercial space, attracting public art, activities and entertainment, including a free white-water surf park, public-access riverside trails and other community accouterment.
A panel of seven judges deemed the Buena Vista neighborhood the winner of the night, following a live Q&A session with two other finalists, Ouray Ice Park and Bonsai Designs, a zip line course designer out of Grand Junction.
All 12 challengers created original 90-second videos giving audience members a chance to peer behind the curtain of the companies and the products, services and experiences they create. The finalists for the sixth annual Wright Awards reflected the depth and diversity of statewide business-builders whose inspirations stems from the playgrounds of the Rocky Mountain region.
Each one of the competing companies “believes where they come from contributes to who they are,” said Fiona Arnold, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development International Trade.
Other themes that threaded through the night, between the contenders and Wright alumni referenced throughout the night, some of whom were in attendance, included a commitment to sustainability, collaboration, promotion and protection of public lands, and a life lived close to the outdoors.
Something Independent, a coalition that energizes and gathers local and regional lifestyle leaders, encourages ideas generation, engagement and partnerships and aims to galvanize lifestyle-based businesses with the Wright.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, who participated in the live question-and-answer session with the three finalists and announced South Main as the winner, spoke to the crowd of 300 people about topophilia, or a “strong sense of place,” that often becomes congruent with one’s cultural identity.
“These 12 companies reflect a mindset that embodies the Colorado spirit. They represent a way of thinking that couples leadership with cooperation,” Hickenlooper said. “We are grateful for their presence in our state, their contributions to the region’s economy and their commitment to their craft.”
The master of ceremonies for the evening, Dave Bacon, founder and CEO of Denver-based BW Bacon Group entertained the audience and mused about a “spirit of abundance” that fueled the Wright contenders.
The companies recognized for The 2016 Wright:
Backcountry Access, Boulder
Bonsai Design, Grand Junction
Big Agnes, Steamboat Springs
Borealis Fat Bikes, Colorado Springs
Hala Gear, Steamboat Springs
Johnson & Held, Englewood
Ouray Ice Park, Ouray
Rapidgrass Bluegrass Festival, Idaho Springs
South Main, Buena Vista
Vintage Overland, Grand Junction
Waste Farmers, Denver and Delta
Watch videos of the finalists!