BUSINESS BEAT: Menchie’s no stranger to community support

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Frozen-yogurt shop finds ways to help local schools, groups

By Deb Hurley Brobst

If you participated in Evergreen’s Freedom Run on July 4th, chances are you received a goody bag at the end of the race, including a coupon for Menchie’s in Bergen Village.
In addition, on that day, Menchie’s donated 15 percent of its sales to Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice.
This is just one of the many ways that Menchie’s helps the community, according to owner Larry Ciancia, who has lived in Evergreen for 40 years. He figures he has donated about $20,000 worth of the tasty frozen yogurt or sales proceeds to local schools, churches, sports teams and organizations each year of the two years the shop has been open.
While Menchie’s as a corporation believes in community involvement, Ciancia takes it to another level, partly because he’s been in the community for so long.
“My wife taught at Ralston and Bergen (elementary schools.) All of my kids and grandkids went to school here,” Ciancia said. “We’re committed to Evergreen.”
Ciancia, who spent most of his career working in plastic pipe manufacturing, said he was excited to open a Menchie’s in Evergreen.
“I’m Italian, so I have to be in the food business,” he quipped.
Menchie’s has provided frozen yogurt for school parties and for sports booster clubs to sell at events. It provides coupons to teachers to give to students on their birthdays or for good behavior that entitles the student to free frozen yogurt.
Most area school PTAs and kids sports groups have special days at Menchie’s, where 15 percent of the proceeds go to the organization.
The shop has opened after hours for seniors who attend the Seniors’ Resource Center so they can get frozen yogurt and the toppings, and get around easily with walkers and wheelchairs.Evergreen’s Menchie’s also participates in a corporate-wide Muscular Dystrophy Association fund-raiser, and last year it raised $750 through customer donations. This year’s fund-raiser runs Aug. 12 through Sept. 3. Ciancia, 71, has decided to retire, so he’s looking for a local couple to buy the business.
He’s waiting for the right owners to come along who will carry on his Menchie’s philosophy of community support.
“There will be a change in ownership,” he said, “but Menchie’s is not going away.”

New restaurant opens in Kittredge
Trina Stephens wants her new restaurant in Kittredge to be a diner with such fantastic food that it might someday be featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Stephens and her fiancé,Michael Brown, who live in Evergreen, opened the family-friendly Mountain Diner in the small building just west of Comfortable Home. Until February, the building housed From the Vine restaurant, which closed after almost two years in business.
Stephens loves to cook, and she loves watching chef Guy Fieri travel around the country, showcasing restaurants on the show.
“That’s how the idea for the restaurant got started,” Stephens said. “I would watch the show, and the next day go out and buy the ingredients to try making the food myself.”
Mountain Diner, which is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, features breakfast and to-go food in the mornings, then everything from Mexican to vegetarian to gluten-free to simple fare such as burgers the rest of the day.
“Definitely something for everyone” is the slogan Stephens is using for the restaurant, because she wants to have a little bit of everything.
“If you’re looking for something really healthy, we have that,” she said, “but if you’re in the mood to grub down on something huge and ‘bad,’ we’ve got that, too.”
She’s had a group of friends testing her recipes, and she’s trying to put things on the menu that can’t be found at other area restaurants
She wants a restaurant that locals as well as tourists will frequent, and she wants everyone, no matter their age, to feel comfortable.

Evergreen company sells digital fingerprinting equipment
When most people think of fingerprinting, they envision inkpads and fingertips being rolled onto paper.
Now, a more efficient and cleaner way is available by taking them digitally. An Evergreen company called Secure Outcomes, owned by Evergreen resident Jack Harper, makes a machine called LiveScan.
LiveScan is about the size of a small printer, except that instead of making copies, it has a small screen that digitally replicates fingerprints. The machine is self-serve in that it tells operators what to do and when a good scan has been made. In fact, it doesn’t come with a user’s manual, Harper said.
Harper says other digital fingerprinting equipment exists, but the difference is that LiveScan is portable and easy to use. The machine works well in police departments, plus it’s so portable that it can be taken anywhere for things like child fingerprinting events, he said.
Harper, a software engineer for 42 years, moved to Evergreen in 1980. While selling digital fingerprinting systems for other companies. he decided he could design something that was more portable, easy to use and less expensive.
So he sat at his kitchen table to write the software more than three years ago.
“It took awhile to develop this,” he said. “I want this to work so easily that a police officer who has apprehended someone can focus on the person rather than on the machine (when getting fingerprints). It took three iterations before we got it right.”
LiveScan collects fingerprints that are more easily read compared with those taken with ink, Harper said. Plus, one machine can store up to 20,000 sets of fingerprints or transmit a set of fingerprints to another police agency for identification and the person’s criminal history.
The LiveScan system is used by 60 law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including the Park County Sheriff’s Office.
Secure Outcomes has a partnership with Mace, the company that makes protection devices such as pepper spray, so Mace may sell the units, Harper said. The equipment is FBI-certified, he said, and the company is working on state certifications, too.
The sales and tech work is done at the company office at 2902 Evergreen Parkway, and the components are built in Denver.
Harper talks about the equipment with enthusiasm.
“I love every minute of it,” he said.

Have tips about businesses in Evergreen? Contact Evergreen resident Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.