As an offshoot of Sierra Trading Post, Derailed.com holds fast to the same business model as its parent company: bargaining with top brands to procure overstocks at heavily discounted prices. But like a youngest sibling taking up juggling cats, it strives to differentiate itself from its older counterparts. It stands out with a youthful vibe thanks to skate, surf, and SUP apparel and the staff's laid-back attitude. They'll happily answer questions and make recommendations on their throngs of camping gear, running shoes, collegiate attire, and bicycle accessories from brands including Hurely, Billabong, and Teva. Though their merchandise boasts an average discount of 48% off the retail value, shoppers can save even more—customers receive a $10 coupon when they sign up for emails, and clients of the Give & Go Referral program get a $20 egiftcard when the friend they referred uses their own $10 email coupon.
In the late 1960s, Lewis Grant sought out a plot of land in the Rocky Mountains foothills to grow his own vegetables and brought the wisdom he accrued during a career as a university professor and his son Andy to help with the humble undertaking. The duo took to tilling the land, and over the next few decades, Andy expanded his father’s plot to the 2,200 acres that currently make up the CSA-certified organic farm. Heading a farming community with more than 4,500 members, a dedicated staff of educators and farmers cultivate the farm’s pasture-raised livestock and more than 150 breeds of organic vegetables such as squash, herbs, and 34 varieties of corn and heirloom tomatoes. Every year, the staff gives visitors a hands-on education about the nitty gritty of farm operations and gives them the chance to defeat their cows in starting contests during a spring agricultural festival set against the mountain landscape.
The trained design consultants and installers at Blind Brothers are constantly changing their storefront's location—one day it is in Boulder and the next day it is in Fort Collins. That's because all of their work is conducted inside their customers' homes. They arrive for complimentary consultations where they jot down measurements and showcase their selection of energy-efficient window treatments from manufacturers such as Insolroll and Kathy Ireland Home by Alta. Their prized possessions include privacy sheers, honeycomb shades, wood blinds, and shutters that are all backed by a lifetime guarantee. This fusion of professionalism and products has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an honorary Master of Windows from Harvard University.
For over 30 years, 3 Day Blinds' technicians have sift through samples and unreel measuring tapes during in-home consultations, custom-fitting abodes with blinds, shutters, and shades. They handcraft and cut treatments such as faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, and flexcell honeycomb blinds that reduce light and are energy efficient. As they tailor-make each order, the staffers dress windows of all shapes and sizes, from an arch above a doorway to a misshapen wormhole in the attic. All of 3 Day Blinds’ products come with a limited lifetime warranty. After clients have made a selection, the team shows up just two days later to install the new window dressings or let customers do it themselves.
Akinz began in a studio apartment in Houston, Texas, where founder Suzanne Akin designed T-shirts and tank tops to sell from the back of her purple Mini Cooper. After peddling her colorful wares at bars and wakeboarding events, Suzanne moved to Colorado, where she fell in love with snowboarding culture and expanded her clothing repertoire to include stylish beanies, hoodies, and jewelry—all knit, acid-washed, and crocheted by hand.
Like Theodore Roosevelt's early years taming wild grizzlies in the Pacific Northwest, each item of clothing exudes a free-spirited, peaceful aesthetic, as exhibited by the company's encouraging slogan, "Find Your Wings." In addition to outfitting customers with trendy active wear and outdoor apparel, Akinz adamantly supports the local bike culture, sponsoring Fort Collins-area Bike to Work events and the Fort Collins Bike Co-op.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.