Wheat Ridge is a city five miles west and a little north of Denver, the state capital of Colorado. Its proximity to the larger city makes it an important suburb. It has been a vital area since the gold rush days and has grown as Denver grows.
Where the Roots are Deep, There is No Reason to Fear the Wind
As the pioneers developed towns westward, many became hubs between larger stopovers. Wheat Ridge is one of many such towns. Wheat Ridge and cities like it were necessary when the gold rush exploded, and they flourished. In many cases, families remained for generations in one town.
A family-owned business reflects the family’s pride. Within a family-run business, each worker has a familial responsibility for the business’s success and reputation. There is no reason to fear the wind when a family’s roots are deep. Instead, the family and the family’s business are rooted in supportive strength, transgenerational knowledge and experience, and trust.
There are several family-owned businesses like a chiropractor in Wheat Ridge; here are four of the best.
Recipes Passed Down
There is a solid Italian immigrant influence in the Wheat Ridge community. The Italian flavor is evident in several family-run Italian Restaurants. Each kitchen differs from the others based on the geographic location of each family’s origin in Italy, the family variations on traditional recipes, and the different personalities of each family.
One family-owned and operated Italian Pizzeria and restaurant called Lil Nicks Pizza opened in 1978. Il grande capo e Dan Quintana. (The big boss is Dan Quintana.) His son, no surprise, is Lil Nick Quintana. This multigenerational team has kept the red sauce flowing in Wheat Ridge, CO., for over 40 years. Nick also “moonlights” as a professional firefighter for the City of Denver.
Sometimes Life is a Circus
The Zoppé Circus, now in Wheat Ridge, has delighted audiences since the mid-1800s. Giovanni Volpe, his wife Sandra, and their children and spouses continue the Zoppé Circus tradition. But, if you have ever been to a big tent circus before, Barnum and Bailey, for example, Zoppé will look like a smaller version.
The one-ring circus is a performance of a story; it’s not a series of individual acts. So find a seat in the intimate 500-seat circus tent and enjoy the story of Nino the Clown. The Zoppé family has preserved the Italian Circus tradition in Wheat Ridge.
Giovanni Alberto Zoppé (1922-2009) was an accomplished equestrian. One spectacular feat he performed was a backflip between two galloping horses. He was the central performer in his family’s nationally famous circus. In Italy, he had performed for Royalty and the Pope. Cecil B. De Mille eventually persuaded the circus star to come to America and perform in cinema.
Eventually, the entire family immigrated from Italy and settled in Wheat Ridge, CO. The family started a new chapter of The Zoppé Family Italian Circus in America.
In addition to the regular circus performance schedule, Zoppé operates an inspiring circus camp for children between the ages of 7 to 15. The Circus Camp does not focus on circus performance skills; it is a self-confidence-building experience. However, at the end of the camp session, there is a performance by the camp participants.
Your Mind is a Garden – You Can Grow Flowers or You Can Grow Weeds
Young’s Market and Garden Center is in the second generation of fresh fruits, vegetables, and all things gardening in Wheat Ridge. Ed and Kyle Becerra have continued the popular business from his parents.
Kyle Bacerra states that he likes feeling the dirt under his fingernails and being able to talk to his customers when they shop or stop in to look around. This family-run enterprise has been around for over 70 years.
The Becerras admit that large garden centers have their place. However, sizable corporate garden centers seldom offer personalized service or the wealth of information found in a family-owned establishment like Young’s. Kyle knows about the plant and how the customer can optimize the plant’s success at home for the Wheat Ridge climate. There is no substitute for experience.
Applejack: The Business That Took On a Life of Its Own
Applejack is something other than your run-of-the-mill family-owned liquor store. The business plan did include selling liquor, but expectations were a little more expansive. The owners wanted the trip to the store to be the experience, a one-of-a-kind visit to a liquor-themed amusement park. CEO Jim Schpall puts it this way, “We wanted to create an environment where people would want to travel from all over to come to Applejack—that the store would be an attraction in and of itself.”
After 60 years in business, the 21st-century Applejack underwent a three-million-dollar renovation. In keeping with current trends, an enhanced delivery team became necessary due to the COVID pandemic. In addition, Applejack created new jobs when many workers were losing employment.
So what is the family connection? The original concept of Applejack was by a man named Herb Becker in 1961. He named the store after a southern brandy made from apples called “Applejack.” Six years later, he sold the store to Alan Freis, a wine, beer, and spirit wholesaler.
Alan Freis developed and expanded the Applejack concept. The current CEO, Jim Schpall, came into the picture in 1984 when he married Freise’s daughter Debbie. He became the CEO in 1994 and has continued to elaborate on his father in laws plans.
“In Time of Test, Family is Best” (Burmese Proverb)
In a town so close to the state capital, businesses need to have that “something extra” to entice and retain customers. The “something special” may be as subtle as being family owned rather than a corporate entity. Families working together for the clan’s benefit is priceless. It is a force of nature.
If you have the opportunity to visit this fabulous city, stop by and enjoy the fruits of family labor through the wide variety of self-owned and employed businesses in Wheat Ridge, Co.
Also, Read How to Start a Welding Career.
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