Nederland business booms in 2016

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland.  The face of Nederland has changed in the past year. Newly constructed houses have filled in lots that have been empty for decades; the largest commercial building in town is near completion; and a new parking area along the creek was built, the forerunner of things to come.

Second Street was torn apart and put back together again and is usable, waiting for the final topping and accessories that will make it a real road.

Some businesses that were operating at the beginning of the year have bitten the dust and are now operating under different names, with new owners and a new look. There is more in town, not less, and the landscape reflects the changes that have been made and the changes that are to come.

It is still Nederland though, and on the Christmas weekend, the town was bustling with shoppers and visitors just enjoying the beauty of our mountain home.


One of Nederland’s largest events is the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival and to promote the event, which happens in March, organizers put on a mini-FDGD festival in January, with games and food and music, allowing the volunteers to have some fun before the real work began.

They gathered at the Pioneer Inn, ate cupcakes with three inches of frosting and listened to the Banshee Tree. The revelers tossed Cornish Game hens and entered the frozen t-shirt contest.

At the end of January, developer Ron Mitchell presented his Downtown Revitalization Concept, based on Vision 2020, a revised comprehensive plan and the Nederland Central Business District Redevelopment, LLC.


In February, local resident Stacy Johnson, of Rollinsville, opened the first Nederland mom and pop marijuana grow shop and retail store. He developed marijuana for decades before becoming a legal, active home grower in Nederland in 2005, when he became a medical marijuana caregiver. In 2015, he received state and local approval for his facility in Nederland, with the condition that he brought everything up to ADA compliancy and regulatory standards.


The only other Ned grow houses are owned by out-of-state chains who sell wholesale. The Harvest House is thriving.

Kerri Aungst opend a travel agency in mid-Gilpin County. Beaches Etc. promises one-in-a-lifetime vacation, especially to warm places during the long winter months in the mountains.

Eldora Mountain Resort threw an employee party and donated the money raised at the bar to the Nederland Food Pantry. EMR general manager Brent Tregaskis said at the time that he was working on becoming involved in the community, that he wanted to do the right thing and be supportive of the town.


At the end of February, Peter Fiori opened the Caribou Room concert venue which has opened a whole new door to the mountain music scene. People who attended the opening were ecstatic about the concert hall, saying it would spark the largest, high end, music comeback since the 1970’s.

Peaceful Valley Resort, under new ownership, has undergone a makeover and enjoyed a successful year of weddings, reunions and parties. Dan and Dianne Brauer offer cabins and rooms, a pool, horseback-riding and drop-in lunches. For $5, one can enjoy the pool and hot tub.

FDGD weekend was a huge success with most of the action taking place in downtown rather than at Chipeta Park. It was estimated that 25,000 people traveled through town over the three-day event. It was necessary to haul in snow to create the coffin race course but no one seemed to mind. The Pink Socks, after six years of being number one, was outrun by the JCE Nerds who will have a title to defend this year.

Nederland’s local bank was purchased by Heartland financial USA, Inc. and is now known as Centennial Bank and Trust. Susan Schneider, the Banking Center Manager said that Heartland is larger and enhanced service offerings include wealth management, mortgage banking, annuities and investment products.


The Whistler Restaurant reincarnated into Ned’s, an appropriate name for the popular yellow restaurant in the Wolftongue Square. Derek and Becky Dwyre worked in the restaurant 25 years ago. Since then, the restaurant has burned down, reopened, been sold and last April the couple returned to re-open, rename and reinhabit the colorful, cozy restaurant whose cooks know how to make the best Ned’s muffin in town.

In mid-April, Meyers Services began excavation on the property east of the Wild Mountain Smokehouse to create a parking lot and picnic area. The land is owned by Ron Mitchell and the project is one step forward in the process to develop affordable housing.

At the end of April Julia and Andrew Fischel left New York and came to Nederland looking for a restaurant. At this point, the First Street Pub and Grill had been closed and was empty and the couple bought it. After months of remodeling, the couple reopened the restaurant as the Rocky Mountain Oyster Bar, because it had always hosted the Rocky Mountain Oyster Eating Contest during the Frozen Dead Guy Festival. They say they will carry on the tradition.

A little bit of class moved into the shopping center in the beginning of May when Gussie Walter opened Nederland’s first winery, Augustino’s. Walter makes her own wine and has done so for 19 years. She has wine tasting and retail sales from Thursday to Sunday.

The Nederland Animal Hospital hired Daiquiri Ahart, as a new veterinarian who will be working with internal medicine issues, soft tissue surgery and dentistry. Dr. Joe Evans is the primary orthopedic surgeon.

Paula Farrell of Nederland opened the Art House on Second Street which is a unique retail business designed to support the work of nonprofit organizations through the sale of local and Guatemalan artisan products, a retail shop with high quality gifts and art. Many longtime local artists have their work on display in the bright venue next to the creek. Farrell welcomes pottery, clothing made from recycled products and more jewelry.

Eldora Mountain Resort announced that owners Bill Killebrew, Graham Anderson and Penny Lewis sold the local resort to Powdr, which is headquartered in Park City, Utah and which also owns Copper Mountain. EMR General Manager Brent Tregaskis announced that the present administrators will run the operations and existing employees will return to serve the resort guests. The sale enables EMR to become progressive, have access to more capital and offer more beginner programs.



In July, Andrew Timbrook , Kayla Lowe and Chris Schreiner created the Endless Youth board shop in the Tebo shopping Center. The shop offer snowboards and skateboards as well as all of the accessories needed to satisfy the boarders and riders in the community. They look forward to working with local kids and finding boards for the those who need a bit of financial assistance.

For the past year, residents have watched the building at 80 Big Springs Drive finish the excavation stage, watched the walls go up and the roof and siding put on. The three-story, 21,000 square foot building is in the final stage of completion with plans to be up and running in the spring. Steve Karowe will house his import business in the building as well as a center for healing arts practitioners and other local businesses. Karowe says it will be the first public building in Nederland to have fiber optics, with 100 mgs internet speed.

After months of frustration while Second Street was excavated, dug out, to prepare the road for enlargement and paving, businesses had to deal with no parking in front of their buildings. It was a major inconvenience but residents learned to deal with it. In October, the contractor couldn’t find a company to provide porous asphalt, so instead of the asphalt, a road base surface with magnesium chloride, which will harden like rock was put down. The real paving will occur this spring. When finished, Second Street will be able to better deal with flooding drainage.

In September, the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery went out of business and in November, the restaurant reopened as the James Peak Brewery and Smokehouse, introducing a new way to make sure residents and visitors were able to satisfy their smoked wing craving with an order window, a fast casual operation, instead of a service staff. Matty McClyman, a well-known bartender and cook, will manage the restaurant and oversee the whole new bar system. Mark Ruiz will operate the brewery, which will offer a more German style beer, starting from scratch.

Due to the hot, dry fall which lasted into November, Eldora Mountain Resort had to delay opening day for about a week, but a surge of cold air and a mammoth effort from the EMR snowmaking team allowed the resort to open the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. It wasn’t long before the area was fully open, in time for the holidays.

Dr. Tom Simpson retired from his long-time dentist business in Nederland in November and in December, Dr. Jonathan Smith took over the office in Wolftongue Square. He also took over Simpson’s Boulder Office. Smith will be in Nederland on Wednesday’s and plans to be open another day of the week in the future.

During the holiday season, visitors swarmed the town, flatland residents bringing their out-of-town friends and relatives to our quaint mountain town, a genuine Colorado experience. Locals visited shops for Ned gifts to send out into the rest of the world.

Restaurants, bars and coffee shops welcomed the business as their most profitable season came and went.

Now it is time to relax, wait out the quiet time of year and gather our energy for the FDGD, do taxes and prepare for the busy summer season.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.