Businesses and volunteers were honored as the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of six awards.
At the chamber’s gala on April 20 with a Roaring ’20s theme, the community joined together to laud the achievements of three businesses, a nonprofit and two volunteers.
“For the chamber, it’s most important that we acknowledge the community leaders and businesses,” said Beth Schneider, the Conifer chamber’s executive director. “The community made the nominations, and almost 900 votes came in this year. That’s what makes these awards so important. The community chose who they see as leaders and who they see as businesses positively impacting our community.”
Schneider said she was proud that community voices were heard.
Norman F. Meyer Volunteer of the Year: Jodi Dolph
The Norman F. Meyer Award is given to a local resident who has shown outstanding service to the mountain area. Nominees are leaders in the community who give selflessly to the betterment of their community through their continued volunteer efforts.
Dolph, who is with The Dolph Team at Keller Williams Foothills Realty, served as president and on the board of the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Beaver Ranch Park board of directors. She volunteers at the Elevation Celebration, Conifer Christmas Parade and other Conifer events.
Dolph called it and honor that she received an award for simply doing what she likes to do. She said when she first started her business, she joined the chamber, and Melanie Swearengin, the chamber executive director at the time, made her feel welcome and introduced her to many in the business community.
Plus, she added, “the chamber has all of these fun events, and I really love to help out. That’s how it is with our small community. I just like to do that kind of stuff.”
Other nominees were Karen Heydman, Denise Bromberger, Christy Seabourne, Luna Weeks, Charlotte Wytias, Barbara Moss Murphy and Sarah Kausch.
Rookie Business of the Year: Suz Cookie Jar Rescue and Bakery owned by Sue Mueller and Jacquie Cook
Rookie Business of the Year is awarded to a business of less than two years that has shown growth from the initial idea into a successful business that contributes to the community.
Mom Sue Mueller and daughter Jacquie Cook started by rescuing cookie jars that they found at estate and yard sales, and rejuvenating them with homemade cookies. They have turned the cookie-jar rescue into a retail and wholesale bakery.
Cook said what has made the business successful is that they are a mother-daughter team.
Mueller said the community partnerships have been the biggest reason for the business’ success.
“(Customers) helped us get here and talk about us,” Mueller said. “The biggest thing I’m grateful for is the care and support the community has given us to help us grow. It’s so exciting to get the award, and I’m so happy that we have the support that we have.”
The other nominees were Generations Skin Care, Sojourn Book Store, Edward Jones - Stephanie Johnson and Lark Appliance Repair.
Business of the Year: Aspen Peak Cellars owned by Marcel and Julie Flukiger
Business of the Year is awarded to the business that sets the standard for excellence and innovation with its business practices, social responsibility and commitment to growing in the mountain area. Nominees have demonstrated good citizenship throughout the community, including actively supporting local charities and businesses, as well as encouraging its employees to do the same.
Marcel Flukiger said he was excited that the winery and bistro had won the award, noting that the amazing team was a large part of the business’ success.
“The pandemic wasn’t easy, but we have a good work atmosphere and have created a good work environment for staff,” Marcel said. “We really appreciate our staff.”
He said manufacturing wine in-house using Colorado fruit as often as possible makes Aspen Peak Cellars out of the ordinary, and the business’ work to recycle used bottles back to sand, which is spread under the outdoor seating, is unique. The restaurant also invites local charities to host fundraising events.
The other nominees were Luna’s Mandala, Rocky Mountain Wraps, Journey Roofing, Chimney Doctors, Blizzard Mountain Pinball, Castles & Kitchens, The Dolph Team, Karen Heydman, Conifer Counseling, Foothills Architects, Evergreen Mountain Sports, Wild Iris Marketing and Conifer Jazzercise.
Home-Based Business of the Year: Ted of All Trades owned by Ted and Megan Orr
Home-Based Business of the Year is awarded to the business that sets the standard for excellence and innovation with its business practices, social responsibility and commitment to growing in the mountain area. Nominees have demonstrated good citizenship throughout the community, including actively supporting local charities and businesses, from their home, truck or wherever their work takes them.
Ted of All Trades is a contractor that can do anything from major home renovations to minor home repairs, repair vehicles or snow plowing. Ted Orr said he’s been repairing vehicles and plowing snow for decades.
“My customers would ask, ‘Do you know anybody who can do this?’ And my answer was, ‘Yes, I can.’ Then we began working on homes.”
While Ted calls himself the front man, meeting customers and overseeing the work, he credits his wife Megan, who takes care of bookkeeping, scheduling and office management, as the person who has helped grow the business.
“If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Ted said.
He called the hallmark for the business was being prompt in getting back to people because communication was key.
Also nominated were Generations Skin Care, Wild Iris Marketing, Image Marketing, Impact Christmas Lighting and Altitude Financial Partners.
Nonprofit of the Year: Mountain Resource Center
Nonprofits deliver needed services to the community, educate the public, protect the environment, support arts and culture and improve government policies. Nonprofit of the Year recognizes organizations in the mountain area that have a positive impact on both the local economy and the mountain community.
Founded in 1990, the Mountain Resource Center strives to improve the quality of life for individuals and families living in the foothills west of Denver, providing multi-generational services for individuals and families that need support.
“We are deifintely honored by the award,” said Ashley Boland, MRC’s marketing and development director. “The chamber represents so many different facets of the community. To be voted the best nonprofit really means a lot and is something we don’t take for granted.”
She added that the MRC was honored to be nominated alongside the other nonprofits that have important missions, and this community was lucky to have each of them.
Also nominated were Resilience-1220, Mountain Area Land Trust, Conifer Lobos Unified Boosters, PeaceWorks, JOY International, The Pleasant Park Grange & Schoolhouse, The Venue Theater, Conifer Area Council, StageDoor Theater, Bootstraps Inc. and Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice.
Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Jacqui Angelo
The Conifer chamber ambassadors act as liaisons between the chamber and the business community. Angelo decided to become an ambassador as a way to get to know people and support small businesses in the area. Now she is a member of the chamber board of directors.
Angelo and her husband moved to Conifer in 2018, bringing their business with them, and Angelo wanted a way to connect.
“Being very introvert, I knew it was difficult for me to put myself out there,” she explained. “Being an ambassador is a good way to meet other members of the community, other business owners, and just become involved in the community.”
She said she loved living in a mountain community and all of the connections she has made through the chamber.
“Being an ambassador was exactly what I was looking for,” Angelo said, “and more.”
Also nominated were Aimee Pless, Holly Conyers, Danna Johanson, Jessica Gentry and Stephanie Johnson.