The employees at Big Agnes sit in a tent in front of their downtown Steamboat Springs office. The company was named one of 50 Colorado Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation.

Photo by John F. Russell

The employees at Big Agnes sit in a tent in front of their downtown Steamboat Springs office. The company was named one of 50 Colorado Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation.

2 local businesses named in top 50 Colorado Companies to Watch

Big Agnes, Boa exemplify Steamboat's entrepreneurial community to state



Big Agnes employee Diego Girard packs boxes for shipment inside the company's warehouse on the west side of Steamboat Springs.


Big Agnes warehouse employees, from left, Paul Geppert, Radcliffe Morris, Denton Turner and Diego Girard stand inside the company's warehouse in Steamboat Springs.

— Two Steamboat Springs companies received a new state award, and Noreen Moore says that's a great sign for the business community.

The Edward Lowe Foundation put Big Agnes and Boa Technology on a list of 50 Colorado Companies to Watch. Moore, the business resource director for the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, nominated seven Steamboat companies for the award. Five were finalists.

Moore nominated ACZ Laboratories, Big Agnes, Boa, Landmark Consulting, Little Moon Essentials, Moots Cycles and Steamboat Restaurant Group. All but Landmark and Little Moon were finalists, she said.

The honors are rare good news in a down economy, Moore said. "These guys are on that upward slide, and that bodes well for the whole place," she said.

The awards program recognizes second-stage companies that are developing new industry across the state, according to a news release from the program.

The companies honored usually are growth-focused, are privately held, have headquarters in Colorado, employ six to 99 people full time and have $750,000 to $50 million in annual sales, according to the release. Moore praised the entrepreneurs who build such companies.

"It's such a hidden asset, and we would be well-served to pay attention to it," she said.

Big Agnes co-owner Bill Gamber credited his employees for their hard work and said he was pleased to earn the Company to Watch honor.

"It's a new award, but you know, they had a pretty tight sort of qualifications, so we were feeling confident because we're on a really good roll," Gamber said.

This is the award's first year in Colorado. The program will honor each winner with a "this week's company to watch" feature. The winners also will be recognized at a June 25 event in Denver.

Steamboat has its share of noteworthy companies, Gamber said.

"There's a lot of good, fun, young, energetic companies," he said. "The more that sprout up, the more sprout up : because there's good support. We just get great support locally. You just always hear people went somewhere and they saw one of our products."

Gamber and Boa founder Gary Hammerslag were office neighbors about 15 years ago, Gamber said.

"He's super sharp and really, really unassuming and one of the guys I love bouncing things off of, as well," Gamber said. Hammerslag couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Moore said she hopes the awards help show the value of those businesses to Steamboat.

"This is our future, how people generate wealth for the community, and diversity - not only economically, but socially," Moore said. She encouraged businesses to apply for the Colorado Companies to Watch honor next year.

"For now, what a great start," Moore said.


traveler 7 years, 11 months ago

The results of a depressed economy are showing up in Steamboat because we are a tourist and Real Estate Driven economy. If we put more time into promoting small businesses that are not dependent on tourist coming into our town, we would be better served. Small business can't survive in the community because of over head cost generated by the unbalanced promotion of the ski industry and Real Estate. We get the quick fix of the big money coming in, but it does not sustain itself when times get touch. The results of the big money pulling out leaves us laying off people in our local government because we can not pay our bills. We should learn from our mistakes and make Steamboat a small town again. Look at our recourses as a way of promoting the locals, not the tourists.


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