Archive for October, 2009

Gindi Cafe, lower right, has nestled into The Peloton condo development along Arapahoe in Boulder. 

Small bites.

It’s happy hour, and Boulder’s new Gindi Café in
The Peloton development on Arapahoe Avenue is a quiet place to relax with a
glass of wine, away from some of the downtown restaurants where at times
you’re pressed to find a table or get a waiter’s attention.

Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., with mojitos,
margaritas and martinis $6, with the house red (a zinfandel) or white (Twisted
Chardonnay on our visit) just $4 or a beer for $3.

Gindi isn’t a large, busy restaurant, which I
like. It’s a warm room, and offers a nice layout of taller and regular tables,
some cozied close to the café’s espresso bar.

I get the feeling that Gindi really hasn’t been
discovered just yet since on our Thursday evening visit, there were only two
other tables filled. And with the large Peloton condominium project only about half
sold, so far its developers’ hopes for an active, mixed-used community has been
stalled by the slow real estate market. A Pilates instructor also has opened up
a studio there, but there’s still vacancies waiting for more businesses.

Four of us decided to go over for drinks and
appetizers after a friend’s recommendation. And priced from $2 to $6, the small
bites menu was innovative and well prepared, and the wait staff was attentive
and friendly. Just keep in mind, when they say small bites, they mean small
bites. The plate of mini tuna tacos with wasabi slaw, for $6, were indeed just
a single bite each, but very tasty. They left me longing for a little bigger

We also ordered the warm olive plate, which was a
full bowl of olives, and the seasoned and baked chickpeas, a fun and tasty
snack with our drinks. Each was just $2.

The coconut chicken bites, at $5, came with a
good, tangy sauce, with about six on the plate.

Gindi Café is open for breakfast, lunch and
dinner and promotes itself as “natural and organic ingredients at affordable
prices.” The breakfast menu looks particularly good with “espresso” eggs with
black beans & madras in Cuban-style bread and a full list of coffee drinks
at the espresso bar.

For lunch, pressed sandwiches – from the
traditional Cuban to the Elena Ruz (turkey, cream cheese and raspberry
preserves) as well as several pita pockets and regular sandwiches are on the

The dinner menu is attractively priced with
selections at $10.50 to $11.50, including a vegetable curry over cous cous and
an apricot chicken with mashed potatoes.

Breakfast seems like the next best time that I’ll
stop in because the café has the feel of a comfy spot to relax one morning.

Gindi also offers takeouts and delivery, and you
can follow their specials on their own
page on Facebook.



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With 18 to 24 inches of snow falling on Boulder Wednesday, a light snow continuing on Thursday, it will be some cold and wet trick or treating for Halloween. I took these pictures at about 9 p.m. Wednesday night on my front yard, and another of my patio with deck furniture buried.

Some power outages were reported in the west part of the city as tree limbs started to fall, but generally the streets were OK since road crews had good warning about the storm and seemed to be prepared.


Categories : Current Affairs
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Tesla Roadster the center of attention at Boulder gallery's opening cocktail party.

Andre Pettigrew, left, Denver eco-devo director, was on hand to see Colorado's new business. With him is Geoff Cooper, CEO of CaraSolva in Boulder.

BOULDER — The doors didn't open until 8 p.m., but invited guests were lining up much earlier on the Pearl Street sidewalk to get the first glimpse inside of the new Tesla Gallery Boulder — part of a new regional hub the electric sports car manufacturer is setting up across the U.S.
Kimbal Musk, CEO of
OneRiot and owner of the Kitchen, as well as a Tesla Roadster owner and Tesla Motors board member, helped organize and get the word out about the Friday evening party. I found myself with a party ticket after "retweeting" news about the gallery opening.
So what was more fun? Seeing fellow Boulderites rubbing shoulders in the line like it was a Studio 54 disco all over again? Deciding which of the Kitchen's cocktails to order up — the Sparkling Hemingway (rum and grapefruit Izze), Lychee Martini (Tito's handmade vodka and lychees), The Brazilian (Vodka 14, limes and sugar) or Persian Lemon (Ketel One Citroen, Pama liqueur, splash of pineapple and lemon juice)? Or getting a test drive in one of the Tesla Roadsters parked in front of gallery? Answer: Probably the test drive but I can't say for sure because after a Sparking Hemingway, I thought it was a good idea not to drive a $100,000 plus sports car.
Tesla says the Roadster will go from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of about 125 mph. Now I certainly would have liked to test that theory straight up Boulder Canyon, until I remembered the Justice Center is directly along on the way.
Another interesting angle for Tesla is that they are creating
Mobile Service Rangers — teams that will make house calls for a buck a mile. Boulder's gallery will be part of that program.
The gallery itself was put together in just about 11 days, according to Phil Shull, owner of Deneuve Construction Services, which did the job. Phil was sporting his own Tesla jacket, a popular conversation piece at the party since no one else seemed to have one. The Tesla Gallery has a lease right now in the former retail building at 915 Pearl St. that was slated to be a new home for Boulder's Frasca restaurant as well as some high-end condos on top. Initially Frasca had wanted to put their own garden on top of the new building. But apparently that project is on the back burner for now.
The Roadster gets its juice from its Energy Storage System — made up of several thousand consumer-grade lithium ion cells. Not really being a gear head, I'll admit you can read this same information just like I did on the
Tesla Web site..
And Tesla got a very good business page
writeup in the Boulder Camera just before the gallery opened with news that a Colorado buyer could get a $42,039 tax break, or about a 39 percent discount on a new $109,000 Roadster. Seems the Colorado Legislature has now put a $6,000 cap on how big of a tax credit you can get for buying a hybrid or electric car, but it doesn't go into effect until 2010.
Also spotted at the party was Andre Pettigrew, executive director of
Denver's Office of Economic Development, who was there to check out the new business arriving in Colorado. Tesla has said it picked Colorado because of Gov. Bill Ritter's commitment to make the state one of the most environmentally friendly states in the country.
And that may be true. But having Boulder resident's Kimbal Musk's pull certainly helped on just where the new Gallery would be located in the state.

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Rick Sinner, a retired Boulder High teacher, has an extensive collection of thousands of old advertising items from Boulder County businesses. 

Crystal Springs Bottle*
Old bottles like this one from the Crystal Springs Brewing & Ice Co. offer a glimpse into Boulder's business history.

Jordinelli Jug*
Stonewear jugs usually held whiskey but also water, vinegar, molasses or other liquids. 

Rick Sinner’s collection of advertising is an incredible
time capsule of Boulder business history.

Being an amateur collector of ‘50s pottery and various
“collectibles” myself (some friends describe it as slightly fanatical), Sinner’s
devotion to collecting and the in-depth research he puts in to verify business
names and owners is remarkable.

I’ve wanted to visit Sinner’s home since we met while planning
for Boulder’s Sesquicentennial, when he provided the 150 committee with a
well-researched list of Boulder companies still in business and at least 50
years old.

That list was impressive, but after a few hours looking at his
collection – some 4,000 items indexed and identified, with another 1,000 or so
awaiting his database, I feel like I just toured the Boulder Smithsonian.

In a basement collection room, items are painstakingly
displayed in glass-enclosed cases, with an eye to detail of a museum curator. Old
whisky, beer and drug bottles line the shelves, adjoining calendars, stoneware
jugs that held liquor, vinegar, molasses and water, buttons, signs, medals,
spoons, match covers, shoehorns, trays, fraternal lodge ribbons and photos.

Antique advertising plates hang on one wall, with scenes of
Boulder County’s original Victorian courthouse, built in 1882, and early CU
buildings. Most were hand-painted in Austria and Germany as advertising giveaways,
usually with the business name on the back.

 “I don’t collect anything that doesn’t have a business name
on it,” Sinner says, although I think he does. A date, of course, is really
good. A find sends him to Carnegie Library on Pine Street where he sorts
through city directories and newspaper archives on microfiche.

 Picking up item after item, he reads off business names and I
jot down notes as fast as I can. “You’ll never get them all,” he jokes. He’s

 He’s framed beautiful Victorian-style art illustrations
and hung them around his home. A calendar from Maxwell and Greenman’s University
Book and Drug Store at Broadway (then 12th Street) and Pearl.  A calendar with a Remington Western
scene from Boulder Lumber Co.  Two huge
calendars are from the Berkhimer Insurance Agency, each with art of Will Rogers
and the simple slogan “Dependable.” A calendar for the Alba Dairy, 2718 Pine
St., has art by Charlotte Becker, an illustrator who painted for calendars,
children’s books and magazines.

Sinner likes his Christmas Santa operating  a hot air balloon on a calendar for The
Department Store, 1223 Pearl St.

 I asked to see something he’s really loves, and he takes down
a colorful “corner sign,” which would attach to the corner of a building, for
Boulder’s Crystal Springs Brewing & Ice Co.  It’s totally cool.

Sinner, 58, is retired after teaching pottery and
photography for 31 years at Boulder High, and is a 1969 grad of the school

 One year, the city started digging near the school for flood
plain work along Arapaho, and unearthed the city’s original 1880s dump. Things
like this send bottle collectors into a tizzy, and Sinner was no exception. He
borrowed the school’s photography lights for night digging, and occasionally
would send students out to check up on other collectors.

 Holding up a desirable cobalt blue bottle, with raised date
of 1887-1888, he estimates he has about 100 items from that site that either he
or others found. Other discoveries took place when the city built both
libraries along the creek. Sinner’s also the president of the Antique Bottle
Collectors of Colorado.

Sinner says one woman collector swooned after seeing he had
a silver spoon celebrating the “Texas Colo.”  Chautauqua opening on July 4, 1898 in Boulder. I enjoyed his
Bing Crosby Ice Cream box, from Valley Farm Diary in Longmont, and his antique
map table with drawers full of ledgers, mine stock certificates and old
letterheads and ledgers. There’s a story behind each one.

His collection of postcards shows area landmarks and
historic buildings like the Masonic Temple Building that housed the Temple Drug
Co.  He showed me razors and razor
straps from the Western States Cutlery Mfg. Co. in Boulder.

This month, you’re in luck. A display at the Carnegie
Library through October commemorates Gold Hill’s 150th, the same as
Boulder’s, and two cases of items, including brochures and photos from the Blue
Bird Lodge (next to the Gold Inn Hill), are from Sinner’s collection.

You also should do a little of your own history digging on
Boulder’s Sesquicentennial site at
Photos from Sinner’s collection are next to the 50-year business list under
Boulder History. I like the yellow “Worms That Squirm” can from the Bios
Earthworm Hatchery in Boulder. I’m watching for one of those at my next yard

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Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Pena and his dancers' performance at Boulder Theater brought the audience to their feet several times in the two-hour show. I won a "retweet" contest for tickets to the show.

Nothing's wrong with good, simple marketing ideas in Twitter. In fact, isn't that what Twitter was supposed to be all about?

One of the easiest ideas to get your business message circulating is offering an incentive — a simple contest for example — asking your followers to retweet your tweet. I've seen this being used effectively by many Boulder area businesses, and it's so easy to do.

This week, the Boulder Theater was promoting an evening performance of Paco Pena, one of the best flamenco guitarists in the world. They offered up the chance for two concert tickets to anyone who retweeted their short promo for the show. Instead of just reaching their Twitter followers, their message spread out to the followers of many of their followers.

Personally I like to save my retweets for things I find especially interesting and that I think Boulderites and others who follow me might also like to know about. A world-class Spanish flamenco guitarist is not someone you get the chance to hear everyday in Colorado, but it was certainly the "contest" that got me to help promote the show. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of this performer. Now I'm a fan.

So guess what?  I won the contest, and off I went to what turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen. The audience loved the exciting combination of flamenco guitarists and dancers. 

The contest is such a simple idea, and now I'm even giving back a little more publicity to the Boulder Theater by thanking them for the free tickets.

Allison and I also went to George's Food and Drink, the very cozy and comfortable bar that now adjoins the theater and is the perfect spot for a drink and food before or after the show. So even though I won the tickets, they still got a paying customer.

I do think you need to offer up an enticing offer for your retweet competition — concert tickets were great, but you might consider a free meal or bottle of wine if you run a restaurant. Make it really worth while for me to retweet your business — a discount where I have to buy something anyway probably isn't enough incentive for me.

The concert seats were also in the reserved section, not stuck somewhere in the back of the theater. 

With a tweet announcing the winner, you show that the contest was serious and hopefully your winner will tweet back their thanks! That starts to add up to quite a few messages flying around promoting your business, not to mention all of the good karma!

I did find an archive of some simple retweet contests online at a site called Retweet Please. There might be a few ideas there for you to use in your business.

Categories : Food and Drink, Web/Tech
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Sometimes, it's best to get out of Boulder for a bit, and smoking a cigar is one of those things in a city that prides itself on smoke-free environments. Boulder does have at least one cigar bar — Johnny's Cigar Bar — in One Boulder Plaza downtown, but here's a chance to relax with a quality stogie and do some good.

Barlow's Premium Cigars & Pipes, at 2770 Arapaho Road in Lafayette, is taking part in the Toast Across America charity this Thursday, Oct. 15. The evening, which starts around 5:30 p.m., includes an auction with all proceeds going to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which supports eco-friendly business ventures in the Dominican Republic and helps provide self sufficiency to communities in the country.

Now I know cigars are usually a "guy" thing, but Barlow's is a comfortable setting where a woman who might want to enjoy a cigar is certainly welcome. 

The event will include representatives of the Fuente Newman Cigar company, and a special limited commemorative cigar pack — one Fuente Opus X and one Diamond Crown Maximus — will be available at the event for $50, again with proceeds at the toast going to the foundation.

If smoke gets in your eyes, there's another fun fund-raiser Thursday night — the 3rd Annual Dancing with Boulder Stars at the Boulder Theater, benefiting the YWCA of Boulder County. It runs 7:30 to 10 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30.

Local leaders have been going through a 10-week rehearsal, learning a ballroom dance, and will perform in the fundraiser modeled after the popular TV show. Audience members will be able to vote for their favorites with $1 per vote.

The local dancers this year are:

Ceal Barry, associate athletic director for Student Services, University of Colorado; Peter Baumgartner, wealth management adviser and vice president, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; Frances Draper, executive director of Boulder Economic Council; Kelly Wyatt, community volunteer; David Kuosman, partner, Faegre & Benson; Dan Pirrallo, general manager, Millennium Harvest House; Claire Pearson, senior tax manager, Clifton Gunderson; and Lee Shainis, executive director, Intercambio de Comunidades.

Categories : Current Affairs
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"Deja Vu? Why We're Not in a Great Depression Again" should be an interesting panel at the University of Colorado Friday, Oct. 16, as part of CU's Family Weekend. Although many events are sold out, these panels are free and open to the public.

Here's info from CU public relations:

The University of Colorado at Boulder will present three panel discussions and celebrate its outstanding faculty and students during the fourth annual Fall Convocation on Oct. 16. The event will take place as part of Family Weekend.

The convocation will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the chapel of Old Main, and will include the Provost's Achievement Awards ceremony. All the events are free and open to the public.

"Fall Convocation provides us with an opportunity to recognize the incredible work of the faculty and the impressive accomplishments of our students," said Jeff Cox, associate vice chancellor for faculty affairs. "Throughout the day, we will provide visiting families with an opportunity to get a sense of some of the innovative scholarship and creative work being done on campus."

During the Provost's Achievement Awards ceremony from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., six assistant professors, six associate professors and 10 students will be recognized for an array of accomplishments and service to CU-Boulder. The ceremony also will celebrate faculty who recently received tenure or a promotion to full professor. CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano will make welcoming remarks.

The panels will take place before and after the awards ceremony with the following lineup:

— 10 to 10:50 a.m., "Deja Vu? Why We're Not in a Great Depression Again," a panel organized by William Kaempfer, professor of economics and vice provost, and featuring Associate Dean Richard Wobbekind and professors Kenneth Bickers, Sanjai Bhagat and Ann Carlos.

— 11 to 11:50 a.m., "Arts at CU — The Digital Connection," a panel organized by Professor Mark Amerika of the department of art and art history and featuring associate professors Julie Carr and Michael Theodore.

— 3 to 4 p.m., "From Bench to Bedside: How Science is Shaping Medicine," a panel organized by Professor Leslie Leinwand of the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and chaired by Russell Moore, interim vice chancellor for research. The panel will feature assistant professors Amy Palmer and Hubert Yin.

The Fall Convocation is part of the larger Family Weekend series of events being held at CU-Boulder Oct. 16-18. The popular Family Weekend enables parents and other family members to visit students on campus and to participate in a variety of activities. More information on Family Weekend is posted on the Web at .

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BOULDER — The single aisle in front of frozen foods was jammed up. The search for the free jug of juice with your coupon was frantic. And outside, cars prowled the parking lot for spaces like a Sunday Broncos game.

Today's opening day for Boulder's newest natural foods grocery, Sprouts Farmers Market, was pretty much a mad house all morning. But the new employees kept on smiling, answering everyone's questions as clerks loaded up groceries into new, free bright green recyclable Sprouts grocery bags. After all, the name on your carrying bag in Boulder shows where your loyalty starts — King Soopers, Whole Foods, Safeway, Lucky's, Sunflower Farmers' Market?

The freebies on opening day weren't quite as good as even a normal shopping day at Whole Foods, but customers seemed to be smiling at the prices. Located in the Williams Village Shops on Baseline Road in the former space of 24-Hour Fitness, the Arizona-based chain has picked a pretty good location to serve the south end of the city. 

Wild Oats, bought and renamed by Whole Foods, in the Basemar Center also on Baseline, was pretty much the only natural foods-style grocer in this part of town until King Soopers in the Table Mesa Shopping Center modernized its store and added a large natural products and vitamins section as well as a much larger selection of organic products.

Recently there's been talk that Whole Foods will sell its smaller store in South Boulder, and a rumored bidder might be Lucky's, the independent but very popular North Boulder grocery. 

On my opening day visit, the store has the look and feel of the Sunflower Farmers' Market in the Village Shopping Center near McGuckin's. If I had to guess, I'd say Sprouts — if they can continue to keep some prices low and offer regular weekly specials — will do a pretty good job of denting the market for the smaller Wholes Foods on Baseline and Sunflower. 

Categories : Business, Food and Drink
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I’ve heard of entrepreneurs starting up companies in their
basement before, but this one’s a little different.

Boulder’s TechoShark Inc., which has developed a mobile
social networking iPhone app, got its start as a class project in the computer
systems lab, which happens to be in the basement of CU’s Engineering building.

This is the sort of tech-transfer story that takes place
because of CU’s emphasis on research, and it has pulled together professor,
students and campus intellectual property staff. No one is making money just
yet, but the idea seemed good enough that both Dr. Richard Han, computer
science professor, and his doctoral student, Aaron Beach, as well as several
others working on the project chose to incorporate and start a company.

Mobile computing is a specialty area for Han, and a hot
growth area, with smart phone growth exceeding the PC market.

In December 2007, Han asked his grad students to pick a
computer project, and Aaron pitched the idea of combining the personal identity
and GPS location awareness of a mobile phone with the “friendship” data of
social media like Facebook or Twitter.

The idea was intriguing, especially at a time when iPhone
apps were taking off. Instead of student teams on different projects, Han let the
entire class to take on the assignment.

The application is called hoozat – and it allows a Facebook
user (Twitter users just added) to locate friends who are nearby, even in the
same room, and connect using their iPhone to read their profiles, see their
interests and message them.

These days I often write from various coffee shops around
town full of interesting characters, and I told Han I once had a similar idea.
“Why can’t I see who in this room is perhaps online using Facebook, Twitter or
LinkedIn?” It’s rude, of course, to walk over and peer over their shoulder.

Now, if two or more of us had hoozat on iPhones, we could
meet wirelessly.

TechoShark launched its app for free, hoping to glean information
on how it would be used before setting a price. Today, the space for iPhone
program and game developers is packed, with some 25,000 apps out there and
nearly one billion downloaded. Getting attention against virtual fishing rods,
calorie counters or popping bubble wrap apps is one of TechoShark’s biggest

Still, it’s been a pretty good year for the venture, having
won a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant in January, which gives
them better odds at winning Phase II funding. TechoShark’s business plan won
$3,000 for computer science in CU’s New Venture Challenge, and the company won
an IQ Innovation Award from the Business Report. CU recently signed a
technology licensing agreement, which gives the university equity in the

TechoShark is maturing with several business advisers, and
some have suggested targeting the events and meetings space.  Having both organized and attended networking
meetings where the idea of having of bug on your name tag and seeking out
others in your insect family seems a bit humiliating, I think hoozat might find
a good niche here.

With possible SBIR or investor funding, TechoShark sees a
move to other mobile phones like Blackberry or phones with Google’s Android.
Han says hoozat was developed to be “agnostic” of particular platforms, but the
hot-selling iPhone seemed like the place to start.

Looking at the multitude of social media apps being
developed, Beech admits, “Anyone that tells you where this is all going is
probably not right.”

The developers intentionally kept hoozat fairly simple to
start out.  There are competing
Web-based mobile location companies out there, including Denver-based
Brightkite, which has features allowing you to post photos or notes to your

A mapping feature for hoozat, Han says, would allow users to
locate specific events as well as people. A search function could list events
by categories, such as sports or business conferences.  New features like these might be
wrapped into a “premium” version that could generate revenue. Their business
plan looks for a revenue stream in 2010, with at least a break-even bottom line
in 2011.

Just figuring out with path to take, of course, is what
makes or breaks an entrepreneurial venture.

So now for the question that Arron’s already tired of
hearing. Why the spelling of TechoShark, and not TechnoShark? Turns out, when
he offered the idea to his class, he made a typo in the presentation. But
classmates liked the ring of TechoShark. And a company was born in a CU

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