Tag Archives: Leadville
Reflections and Transitions at High Country Glass
There have been some interesting reports recently about doing business in Leadville. What types of businesses are needed here? How do you make your business grow? What is the formula for success for operating a business in the highest incorporated city in North America?
Well, this report tells the story of the recent sale of a successful Leadville establishment. In the most rudimentary of models, the deal was initiated with a friendly wave, and sealed with a handshake over dinner and beer. And maybe, it’s just that simple.
It was 1974 when Don Colburn moved to Leadville in search of the ski bum life; where he also maintained a job at the Climax Mine. But it didn’t take long, as you’ll see repeated later in this story, before the love of a good woman settled down this alpine warrior. Enter Diane, or as most know her around town, “B.” The two got married in 1977, established a home in Leadville, where they raised three wonderful children, and grew a successful business known as High Country Glass and Frame (HCGF).
The Colburns bought the business in 1987 from Hank and Mary Beatty, who had started the glass and frame shop eight years earlier. Unfortunately, the Beattys had to move from Leadville because their son’s health was comprised due to the altitude. Since then, “it’s been a great business, look what it’s done for us!” said B.
And certainly, those 28 years have seen some lean times, like when the Climax Mine shut down in the late 1980s and many people picked up and left. But, like the Colburns, there were also those who stayed and pushed through those “bust” times.
“We really appreciate the support of the Leadville people over the past 28 years,” said Don Colburn in an interview with Leadville Today this summer. “The people and businesses have been great to us.” Colburn went on to add that HGCF did all the glass in the Tabor Grand, the Delaware Hotel, the brew pub on East 7th, and the doors of the courthouse.
Any guesses as to the biggest piece of glass Colburn replaced? It was a 72” x 130” front pane window at the historic Tabor Opera House. About 15 years ago a fierce wind blew it out!
It’s the glass of HCGF, which makes up about 80% of the business. And while Lake County is HCGF’s main area, their service went far beyond into neighboring Rocky Mountain communities.
However the framing component to the business, not only provides a valuable service to the local community, but B’s experience and education has allowed for thousands of historic photos and documents to be preserved. She recalled two particularly meaningful projects, one involved restoring and framing hundreds of historic photos from the Masonic Lodge in Leadville.
More recently B framed the huge promotional posters found during recent renovation work at the Tabor Opera house. The multi-piece advertisements were used to showcase upcoming acts at the famous venue.
So what does the future hold for the Colburns, what would their billboard look like? It’ll be traveling, going to see the grandbabies (their fifth is due in October) . . . and B adds firmly, maybe not shoveling as much snow!
Selling a Leadville Business
The Colburns had High Country Glass and Frame listed on and off for four years; three of those, “very non-eventful years.” And while they had several people look at the business, it wasn’t for them, explained Colburn.
“We wanted the right people,” explained Don Colburn. “People who appreciated Leadville, who wanted to service Leadville, and enjoy being here.” On June 18, that handshake over dinner and beer was formalized with the transfer of ownership of High Country Glass and Frame.
So, Leadville, if you haven’t already, meet Jake and Marybeth.
Jake Harrison and Marybeth Brown have lived in Leadville nearly two years. They have been married for five years, with one rescued, blue-heeler named Casey to complete their family. Prior to Leadville, the couple lived in Lake Placid, N.Y.
This is where the aforementioned parallel ski-bum-meets-good-woman-and-settles-down story the former and current owners share comes in. However, for Harrison, the ski-bum thing turned into a professional athletic career, spending years on the skiing circuit in Lake Placid, N.Y., culminating at the Winter X Games VI, VII, and VIII. But like Colburn, it eventually led to the “love of my life,” Harrison explained.
Enter Marybeth Brown, who many may recognize as the face behind the local pharmacy counter for the past 1 ½ years. However what some may not know about is her background and passion for fashion and textile design. It’s these creative talents that will lend themselves well to the framing part of HCGF.
Eventually the two married in 2010, and set their sights on moving to Colorado, maybe back to Summit County where Harrison had lived before.
“Come to find out that Summit County has become way over populated and way too expensive,” said Harrison. He added that during a working stint at the “Copy, Copy” in Frisco, he remembered that the people from Leadville who came into the shop were always so nice, so patient. That’s the kind of community I love, that’s where I want to live in!
So the search for home and business began, in Leadville. The couple shared that while they did engage with some of the economic development/relocation services in place locally, in the end, it was a friendly wave hello that stopped Jake and Marybeth in their tracks at the corner of 6th and Poplar Street.
“Don was sitting at the desk, with the front door open, and when we made the stop, he looked up and waved so friendly, with a big smile,” recalled Jake Harrison, imitating the former owner. “And that was it,” he added with the hindsight of knowing how it all turned out. “We’ve just clicked from the beginning.”
The couple does not plan to change any of services that High Country offers, although Brown did mention that she would like to add glass etching and stained glass, a much-needed craft in an old Victorian mining community like Leadville. Eventually Brown will work full-time at the shop, however the new and old owners are currently helping with training and learning the ropes. B will continue on at High Country Glass, to assure a smooth change of hands, as well as share her framing knowledge.
The transition of ownership has gone seamlessly so far, but as Marybeth explained, it’s not just the “passing of the baton,” professionally, but also making time for those personal introductions to people in the community, that make a difference.
“To have them give their blessing to the community, you can’t buy that! It helps us start off on the right foot, because they’re putting their trust in us,” concluded Marybeth Brown.
And that’s certainly a big part of doing business, In The ‘Ville.
Welcome to the wonderful world of business ownership in Leadville! All the Best to You, Jake and Marybeth! And a multitude of gratitude to Don and B Colburn for all their years of service to our community!
Friday Nights, Community Market This Weekend
Friday Nights in Leadville continues August 28 for the summer season with Open Mic Night for musicians at the Pastime Bar, 120 West 2nd Street at 7 p.m. The event is hosted by George Finnell and is free. Everyone is invited – to perform or enjoy. They had a good showing and jam session at last month’s Open Mic, so should be a worthy show!
Then after the open jam, Leadville’s legendary band, 24 West will take the stage for some good classic rock-n-roll. Friday Nights in Leadville cultural events are free and part of the summer’s Friday night series sponsored by Zuni Canyon Institute. For information call 719-486-1282.
Community Market Ready to Rock n Roll on Saturday!
Then on Saturday, Aug. 29 the Leadville Community Market (LCM) continues its Fall season from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the First Mountain Bank parking lot in downtown Leadville.
And this week’s fresh food order is in! Expect to find beets, broccoli, carrots, chard, cilantro, collard greens, kale (toscano & red curly), lettuce (butter & red leaf), parsley, peas, radish (amethyst & cherriette), scallions & zucchini! And that’s not to mention Leadville-grown basil, spinach and more! PLUS Palisade Peaches! Get there early for the best selection of fresh produce – it goes quick!
Some of this year’s vendors include Purdy Yummy, The Daring Chocolate Company, Cookies With Altitude, Palisade Farm Fresh Organic Peaches, and Weathervane Farm Fresh Vegetables.
The live music will also continue this week with 24 West. Yep, if you didn’t catch them at the Pastime as part of the Friday Nights in Leadville series, or maybe you’re looking for an encore, then catch the classic rockers at the market from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The market, which runs Saturdays through September 19, also showcases local artists. And be sure to check out the popular “Community Table,” where local gardeners & chicken keepers can sell their products for a small fee. Last week featured fresh greens from the Greater Heights garden, come and find out what’s available this week!
Any local groups or organizations wanting to participate in the kids zone should contact organizers. The LCM organizers are continuing to accept applications for full and part-time vendors. This weekly market features goods and services from local residents and companies. Market organizers welcome all vendors from jewelry makers, craftspeople, artists, musicians, face-painters, and all other kinds of sellers of goods! Vendor application can be found HERE. Contact LCM organizers at 719-293-4742 or online at www.leadvillemarket.com.
All Aboard for Trains, Legends and Authors in Leadville
All Aboard for learning more about Colorado history and the railroads! Here are a couple of upcoming events that are perfect for those who love Colorado History and the mode of transportation that brought thousands of those people and goods to the state: the railroad!
Tonight, the Friends of the Lake County Public Library will host the presentation “Silver Rails: The Railroads of Leadville, Colorado.” Join author Christopher James as he shares the history of the railroads’ quest to reach Leadville, including their construction, operation, successes and failures.
According to Amazon.com/Silver Rails:
Here’s the story of three railroads: the Denver & Rio Grande, the Colorado Midland and the Denver South Park & Pacific, as they battled mountains, weather, finances and each other to access the wealth that was pouring from the mines in Leadville, Colorado. In the late 19th century, railroads and mining were the linchpins of Colorado’s economy. Nowhere was this more evident than around the booming town of Leadville.
History Is Alive with The Legendary Ladies On Board!
This Saturday, August 29, the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad will present a special train ride with the Legendary Ladies. Come join them Saturday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. aboard the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad.
Mingle with the ladies, join in on the fun, and enjoy the surrounding beauty of Leadville above 10,000 ft. The Legendary Ladies come to Leadville to perform the history of women who contributed to the West, through their performances you can learn more about the women of the West from Amelia Earhart to Augusta Tabor and many more!
Please call Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad at: 1-866-386-3936 or Book your seat on-line for August29th, for a historical, scenic and just plain fun trip. For reservations and more information call the depot at 866-386-3936 or log on at http://www.leadville-train.com.
Local Shooting Range Receives $38,000 in Grant Funds
Last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced more than $440,000 in shooting and archery range grants to 14 facilities across Colorado and the Lake County Public Shooting Range was among the recipients. The CPW grants help develop new ranges, upgrade existing ones, and greatly expanded recreational shooting opportunities, while opening up new facilities for youth education and shooting competitions.
The Lake County Shooting Range $38,000 grant will be used at the facility in Leadville and allow for shooting benches, shelters, parking, and access road.
“Colorado’s Shooting Range Grant Program is one of the largest in the country” said CPW Director, Bob Broscheid. “Almost every range awarded funding has a major youth education component to it, which is an important priority for CPW. Our safe range program represents a significant investment of agency resources into the future of recreational shooting, education and hunting in the state.”
Partners in the projects include local gun clubs, like the Leadville Rod and Gun Club, as well as county and town governments, private landowners, and federal agencies. Overall, local funding and volunteer work from project partners leverages CPW funds and covers approximately 35% of project costs.
Since 2009, the Shooting Range Grant Program has awarded more than $2.8 million to nearly 70 ranges across Colorado. Combined with local matching funds, that represents more than $4 million invested in shooting range over that time.