Recently, as I was looking out the window of the Mayor’s Office at the hustle and bustle of pedestrians in Bond Park I wondered about how three new businesses in Estes Park were faring this summer. I’d cut a ribbon at the grand opening ceremonies that the Chamber of Commerce coordinated late last spring for the Joy House, Stella’s Place and Summit Nutrition. Then, expectations at each establishment about the upcoming tourist season were optimistic. I decided to take a walk to each to find out what was happening now.
At Joy House I found the door open. After passing through the entryway filled with people conversing, I took some time to read about the special needs artists whose creations are for sale here. Then walked toward Seth, the store owner who’d worn a super hero costume during the ribbon cutting, who was standing at the back of the store. After exchanging pleasantries, I asked about the store. His reply, “I’ve been here a long time. I love it. Doing great.” Upon hearing Seth’s words, joy filled my heart. His dream realized, the confidence, independence and joy of the artists elevated.
Moving on, just after lunchtime I stopped by Stella’s Place. There, Dylan Hart and Allie Lillich updated me about the progress of the recently launched restaurant. They told about needing to adjust menus, revise drink offerings, and determine the sweet spot—11:00 to 3:30 daily— so customers would frequent the place and enjoy the lunchtime fare. Leaving Stella’s Place, I thought about how it is a case study of the significant role that flexibility plays in turning an idea into a successful business in Estes Park.
Shawn Alder waved hello when I arrived at Summit Nutrition. Shawn, sitting at a picnic table was drinking a smoothie. He said the late afternoon crowd would be arriving soon, buying nutritional smoothies or specialty teas to reenergize themselves after shopping downtown and visiting RMNP. As we talked and drank, he mentioned looking forward to reconnecting with locals at his place to compare notes and share business tips when the peak tourist season subsides.
Walking back to City Hall, I found myself thinking about the townspeople who inquire why I do ribbon cuttings for new businesses. That I tell them about 1989, when I unlocked the door to my business. How that special moment in time for me was fraught with challenges and rich with opportunity. That when owners and staff startup a business I want them to know their mayor is on their side. That she is approachable. And is supportive of their Chamber and Donna Carlson, its Executive Director. We’re a team. I will perform my part. And support them as they do the same.