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Impact is our Business

Highlighting Six Local Businesses Working to Better Our Community

As a local business, we know that it’s incredibly important to invest in the community around you. None of us exist on an island and what’s good for the community as a whole is ultimately good for our businesses as well. That’s why we choose to invest significant time and resources into causes that we believe in and are passionate about furthering. That’s enough about us though. As a part of our November ‘Thankful’ editorial, we wanted to take some time to shine a light on some incredible local businesses that we see working hard to make a difference and act as a positive force in our communities every day. So here are a few who are making sure that impact is a part of their business.

Maxline Brewing-

“Craft, Community, and Culture.” When Maxline Brewing first opened its doors, a primary focus of the company was to create a gathering place for their community and to be helpful in that community in whatever way they could. Initially, that meant employees regularly donating their time to nonprofits and community causes. As their business grew, it began to make more sense to bring those causes to the community that had developed at the taproom, lending their space and resources more directly to those causes. Now, Maxline plays host to so many fundraisers it can be hard to keep track of them all. Puppy Yoga with OmKai to benefit Bounce Animal Rescue, Ales & Scales for the Colorado Herpetological Society, concerts like Friends of Bluegrass that benefit the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County and Stuff the Truck for Homeward Alliance, Chili Cook Off’s benefitting the Food Bank of Larimer County and the American Cancer Society, we’d need another magazine to go as in-depth as we’d like to.

“That’s what we wanted,” General Manager Casey Rentz says of their grassroots approach to community fundraising, "to promote those smaller nonprofits, and the big ones obviously, but help the smaller ones grow and get more awareness for who they are.”

It doesn’t stop there, of course. Since they began canning their beers for sale outside the taproom Maxline has also donated a portion of every package sold to nonprofit organizations. You can even see a record of who’s received their quarterly donations on their website at maxlinebrewing.com

Layman Lewis Financial Group-

When the father-daughter team of Chuck Layman Jr. and Alicia Lewis first founded their business, community outreach was already deeply ingrained in their mindset. Layman even used to operate a small food bank serving part of Denver’s homeless population and Lewis previously sat on the board of the House of Neighborly Service. Now, they utilize their resources and network to make the best impact they possibly can. In addition to hosting a regular radio show that dishes out financial advice for miles, the team regularly directs its efforts to support organizations like Realities for Children, House of Neighborly Service, and the Larimer County Food Bank. 

While they do fundraise, gather resources for food and clothing drives, and volunteer their own time, one of their newest initiatives is to connect their clients with those same volunteer opportunities they participate in. While many of their clients express a desire to volunteer, the team noticed they didn’t always do so, often not knowing where to begin.

“We feel like we’re connectors,” Keri Livingston, the group's Director of Marketing and Events told us, “connecting our clients with those volunteer opportunities.”

Building those connections between a willing volunteer workforce and the places that need exactly that is just the latest way this team is working to create a stronger community. For this family business, rooted in community and philanthropy, there is surely more to come.

Sprague Roofing-

For the team at Sprague Roofing, partnering with nonprofit organizations just makes sense. When Shelia Kolacz joined the team as the Office Manager for the company’s Fort Collins office, one of her first tasks was to organize community outreach. Going around to each employee and asking their favorite non-profits was a simple task that opened the door wide. Sponsoring Realities for Children, The Larimer County Food Bank, Hope Lives!, Living Her Legacy, running food drives and chili cook-offs, the list is already long and constantly growing.

The bar is high for this team as well. Last year’s Thanksgiving food drive raised a literal ton of food. That’s over 2,200 pounds of food for families in need, and this year combining their Veteran’s Day Chili Cook-Off at Maxline Brewing and tabling efforts at King Soopers, they hope to at least match that contribution and increase their cash contribution totals.

“It’s just important to us to care about our community,” Kolacz says of their efforts. “When we come to work we know we are doing more than just replacing someone’s roof, we’re creating awareness for important nonprofits in our area.”

Not to say they don’t have a good time as well. Participating in golf tournaments to benefit Hope Lives! and Living Her Legacy might mean a lot of time spent organizing and planning, but it also means taking a day off to enjoy the greens and grow their community in support of the causes they are passionate about. What more could anyone ask for in a job?

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse-

How does a dinner theater give back exactly? That’s easy, you host a benefit concert! Of course, the details are a little bit more complicated than that, you’ve got to find the right performers, pick an appropriate cause, staff the venue, feed the crowds you draw in for a good cause… Of course, that’s all in a day's work for the team at The Candlelight and they don’t seem to mind the work. After all, when a community has given so much to your business, it’s important to give back. As the Candlelight team enters their 15th season of shows, a major milestone in the world of theater, giving back is very much on their minds.

Over the past five years, their consistent efforts have raised more than $45,000 for the Denver Actors Fund, whose tagline is, “For when you break a leg.” The fund helps Colorado performers who are unable to work due to injury or illness, keeping their heads above water while they’re unable to work. Most recently Candlelight hosted Tony Nominated Broadway star Beth Malone for a fundraising concert. Jalyn Webb, Candlelight’s Director of Sales and Marketing, is one of the fund's first ambassadors.

“I wish that we talked about this more,” Webb told us of her drive to help others. “We need to be a society that gives.”

There’s more of course, much more than we have space for in this article. Supporting Realities for Children through the holidays, responding to the crisis in Ukraine by partnering with local performers to raise funds for the USO, sharing their theater with children's productions to give them the opportunity to perform on the big stage. 

BoxDrop-

Most of the businesses on this list find their way to impact the community through well-established nonprofits. Raising funds, hosting events, that sort of thing. All of that is excellent, of course, but every now and then you find someone who likes to work a little bit more directly than that. You might call it ‘grassroots.’

Lori Redmond, owner of BoxDrop Fort Collins, looks at it a bit more straightforwardly than that. “When I hear the need I try to fill that need.”

When Redmond first opened her mattress store, it wasn’t because she was particularly passionate about sleep or mattress components, it just made sense. She found an opportunity to support herself as a business owner and ran with it. Now, well established in the area, she gives back similarly - in a way that just makes sense. She’s done that by building a network in which she is able to help. Churches, the Veterans Association, Loveland Housing Authority, sober living homes, you name it. When there is a need, she’ll fill it. That could be a family fleeing domestic violence in the middle of the night, a veteran fallen on hard times, a person fighting their addiction and simply in need of somewhere to rest their head, Redmond receives a call and out goes a mattress, or several, to ensure whoever needs that help can sleep soundly.

“I think we’re called to give to those who need a hand,” Redmond says, “It’s just the right thing to do, I think every business should give back to the community that supports them in some way.”

Snack Attack-

When Shawn Storeby, a nine-year Marine Corps veteran and his wife Lauren decided to open their restaurant, they knew that other local businesses and community outreach would be a major part of their plan. Even more, they knew they wanted to work to support the local veteran community. Perhaps their largest event is the annual Community on Tap 5k they host alongside Odell Brewing, this year on November 12th. While this will be their fifth installment of the event, it will be the first event benefiting Honor Street, the newly minted 501c3 founded by Shawn Storeby.

“It has always been Shawn's goal to create and operate his own nonprofit,” Lauren Storeby says of their latest move in working to support veterans in the community.

In order to address a gap in locally available support for veterans, Honor Street aims to help local veterans with basic and fundamental daily life needs to show up as their best selves and continue to thrive in their lives on the road to success.

Even through the monumental task of founding a nonprofit, the Storebys have continued to support the community in every way they can: fundraising for schools, the Larimer County Food Bank, healthcare worker support through the pandemic, breast cancer prevention and then some.

“Anything that we feel has an impact in our community, that’s where we’ll link arms.”

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