Cool made in Colorado straps, sauces and sculptures
How about a model of Mount Elbert for your nightstand?
Hand Truck 360 and Attachit Strap
Judy Kochevar and inventor Richard Cortese started The Hand Truck Company in 2014 to bring a dose of much-needed innovation to hand trucks. Improving on the status quo, the company’s first product, the Hand Truck 360, “is multi-directional,” she says. “It’s actually steerable.” She worked with in-state contract manufacturers and marketed the resulting product to warehouses and other commercial operations before moving into a broader market with the Attachit Strap this year. The strap brings stability to ungainly loads on hand trucks, says Kochevar. “The safety factor is really big with us,” she explains. “There are so many millions of hand trucks. Hopefully, they’ll find out about the Attachit Strap.”
$475 retail; Attachit Strap: $69.95
K-Sauce Hot Sauces
Laurie and Steve Adams started making hot sauce with their then-10-year-old son, Keenan, in 2005. “He was a really picky eater and then he discovered Frank’s Red Hot and Tabasco,” says Laurie of Keenan, who’s now 21. Soon he was ordering “ridiculously hot hot sauces from all over the world.” The hobby turned from an annual gift – Steve’s culinary background helped guide the recipes – into a business in 2013, when the operation moved from home to a commercial kitchen in Denver. With offerings ranging from K1 (habanero) to K5 (chipotle), K-Sauce is launching its sixth sauce this summer: the salsa brava-inspired K6.
$6 – $7 per five-ounce bottle Centennial
The Moore Family Folk Art
An art teacher introduced Alan Moore to folk art in high school, and he later gravitated to bottlecaps and cans as his favored media and starting selling his work in 2011. Working in construction management by day, he now collaborates with his wife and five kids sorting cans and caps, creating artworks ranging from octopi to bears to Colorado-flag trout, and teaching classes at Show of Hands Gallery and Craftsman & Apprentice in Denver. Sourcing materials, including upcycled barn and fence wood for backdrops, is a big part of the process. “We have 150,000 caps and 5,000 cans at the house,” says Moore. “I get nervous when we get below 2,000 blue caps. I just can’t go to Michaels and stock up.”
Ranging from $35 – $2,000+ Littleton
Precision Peaks Mountain Sculptures
In 2011, the husband-wife team of Peter and Amy Frykholm “had this epiphany,” says Peter. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a little model of Mount Elbert to put on your nightstand?”
That idea snowballed into a year studying CNC machining in Chicago and the launch of Precision Peaks in 2012. Four years later, Amy handles the books and Peter machines miniature mountains using U.S. Geological Survey topographical data. “It’s basically a hellacious amount of geometry,” he says. With tens of thousands lines of code, he mills the peaks from beetle kill pine. The catalog includes marquee fourteeners like Longs Peak and Mount Evans as well as ski mountains and national parks, and Peter takes on plenty of custom projects.
“That’s probably the coolest part of the business,” he says of his custom work. “We hear such cool emotional stories from people associated with a piece of land.”
$30 – $90 Leadville