Camp. Inc Participants Draw Press for Business Pitches

While many of us have been enjoying the lazy days of summer, the kids participating in Camp Inc. have been busy learning the business skills they need to bring a product or service to market. Located in the mountains above Boulder, Camp Inc., is a unique Jewish overnight summer camp where participants develop community, confidence, leadership and Jewish identity through hands-on business and entrepreneurial experiences.



The camp has drawn 82 campers (all 7th to 12th graders) from 15 states as well as Canada and Israel. Camp Inc. kicked off its first session June 22 and wraps up its second session August 6th. During their time at Camp Inc., campers have learned a variety of business concepts - from branding to social media strategy. They also get to interact with local entrepreneurs (including venture capitalist Brad Feld) and visit such successful businesses as Inspirato and Cloud Elements. Participants apply their skills by forming teams to develop a specific product or service. At the culmination of each session, campers present their business ideas to a group of local investors and entrepreneurs.


The Stasko Agency has been working with Camp Inc. and its director Josh Pierce since the snow was still falling and we're happy to see the fruits of Pierce's labor. The camp's unique concept and its ambitious participants have attracted attention from both national and local media, including The  Huffington Post, Fox News,  Jewish Techs, The Jewish Week, Mashable, as well as The Denver Business Journal, 9News and the Daily Camera, which both sent reporters to Camp Inc. home base to capture the campers in action. You can watch the 9News story here and read the Daily Camera piece here. The Denver Business Journal also highlighted the camp on its website.



A program of the Boulder Jewish Community Center, Camp Inc. is founded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and AVI CHAI Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Camp Inc. was competitively selected as part of the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s esteemed Incubator II to receive both funding and mentorship to build the best Jewish overnight camp experience.

We are grateful to have helped the camp's successful launch and look forward to many years of happy campers.


Wheat Ridge Remains Hotbed of Activity

Wheat Ridge has become a hotbed of development activity recently, with new housing and commercial projects garnering buzz and attracting headlines. After going years without adding any new inventory to the city's housing stock, two new housing projects are under construction and another should break ground soon.

Officials from the City of Wheat Ridge and New Town Builders pose before "breaking ground" on Perrin's Row

New Town Builders broke ground in March on Perrin's Row,  a rowhome development located at 38th Avenue and Depew Street. The community will include 26 two-and-three bedroom row homes priced from the mid-$200s. Meanwhile, at 38th and Fenton Street, Urban Green Development is planning a sustainable development featuring paired homes, single-family patio homes and row homes. Standard Pacific Homes will offer a more traditional, upscale option, with a 48-homesite community in the city's Applewood neighborhood.

Rendering of a model home in the upcoming Fireside at Applewood development

The city is also picking up steam when it comes to commercial development. While incentives have helped lured new, unique businesses to the city's emerging downtown area, known as The Ridge at 38, developers are also aiming to attract larger retailers. A mixed-use development is taking shape at 38th Avenue and Kipling Street that will include a 64-unit senior living facility and a 27,000-square-foot Sprouts store. Another large grocer could land at the southwest corner of 38th and Wadsworth, where Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed a bill that would provide tax credits for environmental clean-up projects. The Wheat Ride Urban Renewal Authority, which owns a portion of that site, could transfer tax credits to a developer to help cover the $300,000 in environmental remediation needed at the site.

Governor Hickenlooper signs Senate Bill 73 at a development site in Wheat Ridge

The developments have captured the attention of local media outlets, who have been closely following Wheat Ridge's growth. The Denver Post covered the building boom in March and did another story examining redevelopment efforts in April. The Denver Business Journal also wrote about the Sprouts development and the recent bill signing.

While the city's economic development efforts are in the spotlight, officials also continue to work hard to build community among residents through unique gatherings and events. On June 22nd, Wheat Ridge and the Ridge at 38 hosted its first Criterium - a Bronze level Rocky Mountain Road Cup race. In addition to high-speed bicycle racing, the Criterium also featured food trucks, a craft beer garden, kids activities and live bluegrass music.





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Golf Tournament Raises $43,000 for Bright Beginnings

We readily admit that while golf isn't our game, we don't mind cheering on those who are actually skilled at the sport - especially when it's for a good cause. We were lucky enough to do just that at the 18th annual Brad & Erna Butler Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting Bright Beginnings. Under blue skies at the Valley Country Club in Centennial, we watched 100 enthusiastic golfers, including media celebrities Tom Green and Penny Parker, compete in a four-man scramble format.



Bright Beginnings' hardworking staff
The tournament is a key fundraiser for Bright Beginnings, which visits parents and caregivers of children from birth to three to give them the tools and skills they need to help them maximize their child’s development.  In 2014, the organization plans to complete more than 20,000 visits to families across Colorado. The majority of parents we serve are considered low-income with multiple risk factors that can impact their child’s trajectory to be school ready. 

We were thrilled to support the tournament by recruiting sponsors, gathering donations for gift bags and prizes and publicizing the event in local media outlets. You can watch Blacktie Colorado's coverage of the event here.

The tournament, which also featured hole contests and an awards ceremony, is named for Bright Beginnings co-founder Brad Butler, former chairman of Procter & Gamble, who with his wife Erna, tirelessly and generously advocated for bettering the lives of all children. This year, the event raised $43,000 to support Bright Beginnings' programs.



We look forward to keeping you posted on Bright Beginnings' programs and future fundraising activities. For more information on the organization and all the great work it does, click here.

Culture of Health Conference Draws Record Attendance

At The Stasko Agency, we believe in living a healthy lifestyle, so working to promote the Colorado Culture of Health Conference is one of our favorite projects every year. The conference, which is presented by the Colorado Business Group on Health (CBGH) and a range of partners, provides a wealth of resources for employers on how to wellness initiatives. 

This year's conference featured several prominent experts on wellness, including Steve Bangert, CEO of CoBiz Financial, which has been lauded for its efforts to build a healthier workforce. At CoBiz employees can take Weight Watchers classes on-site and get a day off to get their annual physical exams. The company also underwrites the cost of Fitbits and provides interest-free loans to help workers finance fitness equipment.


At the Culture of Health Conference, exhibitors handed out fruit instead of candy

More than 500 attendees (a record number for the event) turned out to hear Bangert and other wellness leaders at this year's conference, which also included exhibits, break-out sessions and even a mini-Zumba session. We enjoyed learning more about how wellness programs can boost employee productivity, reduce health care costs and improve the health of workers.

Mile High Fitness Instructor Kim Farmer got the crowd on its feet

To get the word out about this year's conference, we placed contributions from CBGH Executive Director Donna Marshall in ColoradoBiz magazine and Health News Colorado. The Denver Business Journal also interviewed panelist Karen Curran of Pinnacol Assurance, about a study the company is conducting that is showing that wellness can significantly reduce health risks. You can read the article here.
In addition to the Culture of Health conference, the CBGH hosts meetings every month to offer information on programs that help add value to the health care system. For more information visit the organization's website.

Zocalo Sells Cadence Union Station

Congratulations to Zocalo Community Development, a longtime client of The Stasko Agency, which  sold its Cadence Union Station apartment community last month to an institutional client of Invesco Real Estate. Located at 17th and Chestnut Street, the 219-unit development was the first multi-family project to open in the emerging Union Station neighborhood. Cadence began welcoming its first residents in December and was already 20 percent leased at the time of the sale.



We were lucky enough to tour the building last fall and we're excited to see Cadence's upscale amenities - such as a rooftop pool and fitness center and jazz-themed lobby lounge area - take shape. The development also boasts a number of green features, including high-efficiency water fixtures, Energy Star appliances and a recycling and composting program.



The building's sale captured the attention of both local and national media, including the Denver Business Journal, Denver Post and Multi-Housing News. Zocalo will continue to manage and lease Cadence, which includes studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units, with an average monthly rent of $1,892.

Never a company to rest on its laurels, Zocalo continues to add to the city's landscape, with the development of 1st and Steele, a new 185-unit apartment community in Cherry Creek and The Grove at Stapleton, a 150-unit project in northeast Denver. Both projects are slated for completion in 2015.

We look forward to working with Zocalo as the company continues to make its mark on Denver.


The Name Game

Have a knack for naming things? It's time to put your talent to work. A group of Wheat Ridge merchants is searching for a memorable moniker to market themselves and the historic area they call home. The unique mix of retailers is located on West 29th Avenue between Sheridan Boulevard and Fenton Street and includes West 29th Restaurant and Bar, Twisted Smoothie, People's Market, Wheat Ridge Poultry and Meat, Styles Hair and Nails, DSH Gas and Food, TJ Wine and Liquor and Stat Automotive.



The shops have narrowed the list of names to six options and need you to weigh in. The choices range from the straightforward - the Shops on 29th Avenue - to the geographically-focused Edge Ridge, which refers to the merchants' location near the border of Edgewater. Stop by any of the shops during the month of February to cast your vote for one of the names or write your own suggestion on the ballot. Everyone who participates will be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate from one of the participating retailers.


Twisted Smoothie and People's Market (pictured below) need a name for their new merchant association

Voting ends February 28th and the retailers expect to select a winning name by March 15th. Whatever name is chosen will mark a rebirth of sorts for the retail hub tucked into a residential area filled charming cottages and brick bungalows. While Wheat Ridge Poultry & Meat has been a neighborhood staple for decades, West 29th Restaurant & Bar and Twisted Smoothie are new entrants hoping to create a long history.

And speaking of names, the city of Wheat Ridge is also in the process of creating a new tagline to describe the great amenities the city offers businesses and residents. Expect to hear more about the city's marketing efforts this spring.



LoHi Steakbar Wins Wreath Contest

Congratulations to LoHi SteakBar, which captured the top prize in the LoHi Merchants Group Third Annual Wreath Contest. We're not sure how they did it, but the folks at LoHi SteakBar managed to weave together a ton of french fries to form a festive wreath. Though the shellac used to keep the fries intact made the wreath inedible, the judges gave LoHi SteakBar props for actually incorporating food into its holiday decor. The restaurant now "owns" the contest trophy for the next 12 months.

This year's runners up included: Laughing Latte, which won the contest in its first year, the realty firm Trelora, Jezebel's Southern Bistro and Bar, which highlighted it's New Orleans roots in its wreath and Bob Bell at Mile High Property, who recycled license plates in a creative way. Check out a few of the entries below.




We were lucky to attract a diverse group of judges this year, which included 9News Traffic Reporter Amelia Earhart, Westword Editor Patty Calhoun, Jordan Jacobs from Outfront Colorado and Laurie Dunklee, a writer with the North Denver Tribune. We were also pleased to see the increased interest in this year's contest, with twice as many LoHi businesses participating compared to 2012. If you'd like to read more about the wreath contest, check out Westword's coverage of the competition here  or the North Denver Tribune's article here.

Happy New Year to all our LoHi neighbors!