Last week the Republic (of Boulder) earned a front page business story in The Sunday Denver Post titled “Boulder: Where innovation is hip.” It touted four industry leaders, including software, biotechnology, natural foods, and outdoor products as the front runners in thriving startups.
In the natural foods sector, Boulder has given birth to Alfalfa’s, Wild Oats, and Celestial Seasonings. Although all three of these companies were purchased by out-of-state rivals, they were able to blossom in the New West. There are hundreds of businesses reaping the benefits of launching in Boulder County, like Justin’s Nut Butter, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, EVOL Burritos, Fiona’s Granola, to name a few.
I liked what Frances Draper, executive director of the Boulder Economic Council, had to say: “The message to companies is if you want to be cutting edge, you want to have some of your operations in the Denver metro area. It’s a cool place to be.”
Boulder is cool. Very cool. GroundFloor Media was founded in Boulder in 2001. Due to our employee base, we made the move to Denver in 2005 but have fond memories of our little house off Pearl Street. We weathered the storm of 2008-2009 due to our startup/entrepreneurial mentality and like-minded food & beverage partners who took chances and tried new things, including local favorite Qdoba Mexican Grill and a new luscious snacksquare called goodnessKnows™ by Mars.
It’s not hard to see why Colorado, and Boulder in particular, is attracting startups and churning out new products in the natural food industry. Plus it is the perfect test market for functional foods. If a new product can make it in Boulder, it can make it anywhere. (That might even be trademarked) On the communications front, these businesses have great stories to tell via traditional media, social media, experiential marketing and influencer networking.
It is hard to believe it is August 2010. Colorado business leaders are predicting growth in the state economy, according to the most recent quarterly Leeds Business Confidence Index, released mid-July by the University of Colorado at Boulder Leeds School of Business. You can bet the natural foods industry is impacting these numbers. I’d like to say this is good news without holding my breath or whispering the word recession.
And with that, I guess it is time for a mid-afternoon snack break of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter on an apple from SunFlower Farms. California can have Silicon Valley. We live in an outdoor playground backed by the Flatirons that lends itself to new ideas and tomorrow’s next big _________. Go ahead, fill in the blank and dream a little…it may become a reality in Boulder.
• Naturally Boulder
• Boulder Innovation Center
• New Hope Natural Media
• Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District
• Boulder Chamber of Commerce
• Boulder Small Business Development Center