What's Working In Colorado During COVID

9 Changes that Colorado Should Keep After COVID

Let’s be clear, dealing with a worldwide pandemic was not on my 2020 Bingo card. The economic devastation, the stress, the confusion, and dealing with the constant craziness has been exhausting. In fact, life during COVID has been so exhausting that I decided to spend some time focusing on the changes in Colorado that should be kept after COVID is finally gone.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

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Download the Ibotta App

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Show Notes

I will admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of person. However, COVID challenges even the most positive person’s outlook when it comes finding something good about the situation because there are so many aspects of it that are a hot covidy mess. However, I was surprised to find that I was able to find a number of good things about how living in Colorado and changes that we made that helped us weather the storm

The Initial Swift Response

When Governor Polis closed down the ski resorts, I knew that COVID was a big deal. Three cases internationally had been traced back to Colorado ski resorts and with the sheer numbers of international travelers to our state the potential for a New York level outbreak was huge. Let’s be clear, the 3 months of quarantine sucked and wearing masks suck. But, what doesn’t suck is consistently having such low positivity rates that Colorado is now one of about 9 states approved for travel to Costa Rica. It’s my view that other countries will begin reopening their borders to US travelers based on their state’s positivity rates. I appreciate the ongoing local response to COVID here in our state and feel like we’re in good hands.

Main Streets Shut Down

I’ve just returned from my 4th local staycation since COVID and one of the best, and I mean, the best changes as a result of this mess is how Main Streets have been closed down to traffic. Especially Mountain Main Streets, I’ve visited Breckenridge, Salida, and Frisco and it was like I was experiencing the towns in a completely new way-because I was. I no longer had to rush through traffic, work my way through crowds, or hear cars honking all the time. In fact, I spoke with several retailers in Breckenridge who said that they’d had their best summer ever. I’m not surprised. In fact, the experience reminded me a lot of what it’s like to be in Europe. We’re lucky in Colorado because we have a strong patio culture so I think it was easier to get people to embrace this straightforward change. Hopefully this will continue during moving forward from May-September.

Expanded Outdoor Seating

I love how businesses have rethought the spaces connected to their businesses. Let’s be clear, they had to in order to survive, but the expanded seating has been a wonderful way to experience many of our favorite restaurants. I’m still very reluctant to eat indoors, so having patios and additional outdoor seating makes it easier for me to say “yes” to going out to eat.

Alcohol to Go

I don’t drink enough to keep alcohol in my house. So, I enjoy having a nice cocktail when I go out. Now, I’m not going out. It’s so nice to grab a meal and a nicely made cocktail to pair with it!

Colorado’s Bipartisan Voting Setup

I’ve always appreciated our system of voting. Now, I appreciate it even more than before. The key to the system working and having faith in our state’s voting system is that it was a bipartisan effort and continues to be set up in that way. In fact, it’s clear that Colorado’s system of voting is the platinum standard in the US. I love it so much that I’m going to do a podcast episode about what it’s like to vote here from beginning to end because so many people have no idea how good it could be.

The Conversations

I’ve had a number of incredible conversations with my fellow Coloradans as a result of everything that’s going on. There is a real sense that we’re in this together, because we are. It’s been so amazing to meet more of my neighbors, talk to entrepreneurs, and hear about what is and what isn’t working during this time.

Business Innovation

Right now a number of businesses have undergone extreme pivots in order to stay relevant and continue bringing in customers. Here are some examples of new innovative approaches to business that I’ve discovered during this time.

  • Somebody People, a plant-based, restaurant in Platt Park has done the following:
    • They have outdoor seating
    • Weekly produce boxes that require a subscription
    • You can take home cocktails
    • Takeout
    • I think you can also pick up fresh veggies as well
  • Coffee shops offering coffee bean subscriptions
  • Farmers Markets managing the flow of customers into the event. I’ve enjoyed this year’s farmer’s markets a lot more because I’m not being jostled by a billion people and dodging dogs.

Support and Publicity for POC Owned Businesses

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 40% of Black owned businesses shut down during COVID. Having increased support and visibility for Colorado local businesses is a key part of their ability to make it through this financial storm.

Support and Publicity for ALL Locally Owned Businesses

One of the mindsets that I love in Colorado is the continued support and understanding that small businesses are the key to a thriving local economy. In my numerous conversations with local entrepreneurs they’ve routinely pointed out that there is a healthy eco system in Colorado from the business development stage to the moment when it’s time to sell. Resources such as:

What Isn’t Working

Let me know what other systems or changes that you think are working well during this time. Next week I will share some of the changes or systems that aren’t working during COVID.

How to Support Colorado Local Businesses

How to Support Colorado Local Business During COVID

There are moments right now when I feel helpless when thinking about how COVID is affecting our cities, states, and country. Regardless of whether or not you believe COVID is real, a longer-term conversation has emerged from this situation that conversation centers around how we can better support the small businesses that make our towns unique. One of the main aspects of Square State’s mission is to uplift and support Colorado local businesses, cool initiatives, and share the interesting people who make Colorado, Colorado. In this episode I’ll share TL ways that YOU can support Colorado local businesses, it’s not as hard as you think.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

Right now, I’m enjoying a lovely cup of coffee from Steam Coffee Shop’s beautiful back patio. Not only do I love the quality of the coffee, I love the atmosphere. It’s nice to know that my weekly trips help this wonderful local businesses’ bottom line. It seems like a small thing, but over time that cup of coffee and their delicious fresh pressed green juice adds up overtime and I’m fine with it.

  • Set the Intention-Go through your spending and look for opportunities to spend locally. Here are examples of where you could switch to purchasing products from a local business. Here are some places where you can make the switch.
    1. Self-Care Services-Do you need your nails or eyelashes done?
    2. Massage?
    3. Cleaning Services
    4. Fresh produce or bread?
  • Shout Out and Tag businesses on social media! This is a quick and easy thing to do. Basically, you’re giving businesses providing great services, delicious food, or cool products a testimonial and free advertising when shouting them out.
  • Ask the following question “How Can We Help You?” I’ve made it a point to ask what businesses are needing help with. Sometimes it’s different than what you would expect. Businesses may need the following:
    • Connections
    • Marketing
    • Staff
    • Tech support
  • Buy gift cards-The holidays are just around the corner and birthdays are always happening. Gift cards are a great way to treat the people in your life to a new to them company/product/service. In fact, there was an incredible story of someone purchasing over $30,000 in gift cards in the Bonnie Brae area when the pandemic first hit and anonymously distributing the cards to their neighbors.
  • Support Local Markets-There are a number of mini markets cropping up across town.
    • Market on Penn organized by Uncle Ramen Noodle shop located on Bayaud and Pennsylvania is a good one.
    • Rise Westwood Collective-Northside/Highlands depending on who you ask.
  • Give Constructive Feedback-When ASKED. If you’re given a survey or asked by a business what they could do better, give thoughtful feedback.
  • Interview business owners on your podcast/vlog/or active Facebook page. These are win/win marketing opportunities that can also support what you’re doing.
  • Connect business with resources. One of the most frustrating aspects of the PPP and Cares Act process was the number of business owners who were missed because they didn’t have the information that they needed in order to request grants, etc.
    • Local Facebook group communities focused on business are huge for resource and product shouts outs. Information on space rentals and collaboration connections.
  • Create and collaborate on lower cost pop up experiences such as the night market being held at the Fort Green Bar Saturday and Sunday evenings during Labor Day weekend.
  • Offer your space or parking lot
  • Tell local news contacts about
    • Cool products
    • Projects
    • Initiatives

It is has been found in numerous studies on local spending that the impact is wide ranging within a community.

How to Network in Denver

How to Network in Denver

If you’ve been wondering how to find and nurture authentic business connections in Denver, this podcast episode is for you. The other day I was working a side-hustle at The Outdoor Retailer Show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it’s basically where people in the outdoor space show their new products, buy sourcing materials for clothing/equipment etc. and talk all things specific to outdoor concerns such as climate change and the impact on the industry. This was the third time I’ve worked the show and I’d met a ton of people running Colorado local business, creating cool products, and doing cool things. Basically, the kind of people I want to share, support, and collaborate with via my Square State project. One of the people that I worked with was a really cool guy who shared that he and his girlfriend were looking to move back East and we began discussing why. I’d asked about his experience living in Denver. One of the biggest issues was his inability to break into his field. I found that surprising but this is something that I’ve heard before. From other people as recently as the week before. But, one of those ladies was legit crazy so I think that was her issue. So in this week’s episode I thought it would be helpful to share how to make authentic personal and professional connections in Denver. Sorry guys, the ladies have a better ecosystem for this.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Show Sponsor

Brightside Ice Cream a dairy-free delicious ice cream made locally. You can pick it up a Nooch Vegan Market or even have it delivered. Pick up some gluten-free cookie dough while you’re at it.

Support the Show via Patreon

Grab your free guide to Denver and Colorado in the show notes as well. Support Square State one of three ways via Patreon:

  • $3 a month or the equivalent of a cup of coffee. Support the ongoing expense of producing the show
  • $9 a month to gain access to monthly giveaways of your favorite CO swag, job related leads, savings information and more.
  • $300 Share your Colorado based business via pre or end-roll sponsorships on the show. For a 3 episode sponsorship.

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Real talk, I’m not a fan of the concept of “networking” as it brings to mind meeting people with a specific agenda versus just organically meeting people…because WE SHOULD BE. Humans are social animals and moving to a new town or living in a town changing as quickly as Denver has presents some challenges when it comes to meeting people. In this episode I’m going to give you some insight on how to meet people authentically in Denver, connect with opportunities, and hopefully jobs.

How to Network in Denver

Each city has a certain vibe when it comes to networking and making connections that move you forward personally and professionally. Denver is no different. What is unique to Denver, in my view, is the focus on fitness based activities to foster connections.

It is not unusual to talk about the type of training you’re doing for a race, the type of activity that you enjoy doing, or what ski pass you picked up to hit the slopes this year.

Tip #1 Join a Fitness Focused Group

Do you love skiing, hiking, biking, rock climbing, etc? Join a group doing what you love.

Currently, I’m involved in the following groups

  • Outdoor Afros-Outdoor activities for POC/Allies
  • Trails and Ales-The OG of Denver based hiking groups on Meetup
  • A ski and snowboarding group on Meetup-I always miss this one due to timing
  • And I take a Groov3 hip hop fitness class, my current fitness obsession.

These groups are a low-key and easy way to meet people with similar interests.

Tip #2 Targeted Short-Term Volunteer Roles or Side-Hustles

I love side-hustling at the Outdoor Retailer show because I am able to meet 100’s of Colorado local attendees doing cool things AND they are focused on the outdoors. This is 100% in alignment with the three specific areas of focus for Square State which are:

  • To share and support Colorado based products, programs, and businesses.
  • To create authentic and meaningful connections between newly arrived and lifelong citizens.
  • To normalize seeing POC faces in outdoor places.

So, Outdoor Retailer was a perfect fit for what I’m working on and who I want to connect with. Spend some time looking into opportunities to support programs and projects in your field and meet people in a low-key way.

Tip #3 Join Business Focused Facebook Groups

Sorry guys, but the ladies in Denver have a clear edge when it comes to having online communities that will support and nurture their work. Here are some groups that I recommend joining and I’ll mention if they are women only. I will continue to add to the list in the show notes as I discover more so make sure to check.

Tip #4 Start Your OWN Community

Sometimes you just have to empower yourself in order to get stuff done. If you’re struggling to find community, then create the community that you’re looking for.

  • Meet in free places
  • Use Facebook Events/Meetup.com/Eventbrite to share your event
  • Market on social media and word of mouth
  • Collaborate with local businesses in order to hold your event.
  • The Commons on Champa

Be proactive about finding the community that you seek.

Tip #5 Create Your Own DIGITAL Community

At the time that I’m recording this episode it’s February 2020. There is no reason why you can’t create a digital community for your specific area of interest.

You could grow that community and then host an in-person event at a restaurant that sponsors the food for your event.

Be creative.

In my view it’s actually pretty easy to position yourself as an authority in Denver and grow business connections. I find that there are fewer gatekeepers to navigate through compared to other cities. My final pieces of advice:

  • Be proactive
  • A closed mouth doesn’t get fed-let people know that you need help connecting with people in your space. People can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help.
  • Connect in ways that are most comfortable for you, don’t rely on networking events. Especially if meeting new people makes you uncomfortable.

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Alchemy Creative

Where to Cowork in Denver: Alchemy Workspace

If you live in Denver or are passing through and are looking for a place to work I have the space for you. Actually, I have several spaces that I love and will recommend and today’s post shares the first one: Alchemy Creative Workspace.

Love.this.space.

When I decided to take the leap and work for myself, I had romantic notions of working from home and just killing the digital game. In fact, I knew that I would be focused, on task, and productive every single day….from my home.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

In fact, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. I had a ridiculously difficult time working from home. I would look at the laundry that had to be done, the one or two dishes languishing in the sink, and then go insane with the dog upstairs would begin barking in a separation anxiety fit of rage.

There was a moment when I just had to be honest and acknowledge that what I was trying to do wasn’t working. Coffee shops didn’t work either. If I had a huge project that needed a quiet dedicated space to knock some work out from, Starbucks (too noisy depending on location), Thump (not enough outlets) or Nixon’s (fabulous coffee unhappy wifi). Finally, I broke down and decided to check out co-working spaces. The first time I worked from co-working spaces it didn’t work out (long-story).

This time I tried it again and I’m in love with co-working spaces and you will be too!

Deskpass

If you would like to date several spaces before committing to your final space, I recommend signing up for Deskpass. Deskpass works exactly like Classpass does (if you’re familiar with that service). There are different subscription levels that you can choose from which will allow you to visit different spaces that are signed up on the platform throughout the city of Denver. In fact, I will share a review of each space that I absolutely love on Square State.

Prices range from $49-$199 a month and the unused days roll over to the next month. This feature is one of my favorites. Finally, Deskpass hosts monthly events for members at different spaces throughout town. Deskpass is currently available in the following cities: Denver, L.A., NYC, Miami, Austin, and Chicago (and members can use their membership in whatever city they happen to be in at the time. Love.this.resource!

Alchemy Creative Workspace

Is located at 66 S. Logan Space. One of the defining characteristics of the space is how open and airy it is and how warm and welcoming the staff is. Ari and Chelsea are most members first point of contact. And, these two ladies are some of the warmest and most genuine people that I’ve met in a long time. In fact, I judge co-working spaces on how welcomed I feel in the space.

The permanent members who work out of Alchemy also are incredibly warm and friendly and they make it easy to imagine working from the space full-time.

Some of the amenities and perks include:

  • Beer

 

  • Get togethers

 

  • Dog friendly (there are several doggies for those of you who love pets)

 

  • Phone “booths” for those days when you need to take a call in private

 

  • Yoga located next door.

 

  • Restaurants are located across the street and it’s easy to get lunch delivered.

 

  • Programming

 

  • Great location for those of you in the Wash Park/West Wash Park area.

Basically, Alchemy Creative Workspace is a wonderful place to nurture and grow your business. And, one of the businesses housed there is a burrito business. And, sometimes members are called upon to do quality taste testing. Those are my favorite days! Free lunch.