Fruita's Hot Tomato Takes Home the 2018 Prize at Something Independent's Wright Award

The three-day confab concluded with the annual awards program

Recognizing independent spirits, strong communities and meaningful work, Fruita's Hot Tomato Pizzeria, a venue for mountain adventurers, was named winner of the 2018 Wright Award, Thursday, May 3. Two finalists, Alpacka Raft and Yeti Cycles, were selected from 12 outdoor-inspired Wright contender companies from across the Rocky Mountain West, each of which was presented to the lively, 400-person crowd at the Lockridge Arena on-campus at the Colorado School of Mines.

Convening a cross-section of industry members, "The Wright is all about collaboration and working together," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. "As entrepreneurs, it's so important to surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you. You're going to face challenges and face setbacks. It's a lot easier if you have people who believe in you."

"The success of us is having a seat at the table with all these wonderful people, with all of these inspiring founders," said Anne Keller, co-owner of The Hotel Tomato, at the Golden awards show.

The 2018 Wright class included:

All 12 companies premiered their 90-second films at award night.

Jen Zeuner, Keller's business partner, added "Our goal was to create a place to gather before and after playing in Fruita. We wanted to enjoy everything that Fruita has to offer and give others a chance to do that, too."

This year, The Wright expanded into a three-day programming series starting on May 3 and leading up to award night, complete with public panel discussions, Q&As, workshops and campfire conversations. For six years, The Wright was recognized in the Mile High City come fall. Over the years, 98 companies were recognized, representing 33 towns across the Mountain West, including Voormi of Pagosa Springs, South Main Co. and Deerhammer Distilling from Buena Vista. This year's program shifted to spring and planted in the foothills of Golden. 

"We, here at Something Independent, are honored to know these bold, principled leaders from The Hot Tomato, Alpacka Raft and Yeti Cycles and recognize them tonight," said Chuck Sullivan, co-founder of Something Independent, the team behind The Wright. "The Wright is about celebrating the work, the grit and the independent-minded men and women who carve their paths here."

Categories: Companies to Watch