GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. - Business leaders, bankers and entrepreneurs from all across the Western Slope descended on Glenwood Springs for the 2016 Colorado Economic Forecast.
Speakers shared their experiences for the room full of other business heads to learn from. Including a founding partner of the Whole Works, Kelly Alford who has started her second clothing-related company after the first go around went well, but not as planned.
"When it went over seas I was very excited because the name grew and the company grew but eventually I saw the prices go up every quarter and I longed to have manufacturing closer by." said Alford, of her first experience. "We're finding that the designers and the brands we're working with are happy to make that investment in American jobs and having that higher price point for our product."
The Whole Works can be found on 3rd street in Rifle, where all the companies manufacturing takes place.
When asked about what has made her business's successful:
"My passion for domestically made products, my passion for sewing, my passion for making things. All that goes into Whole Works." Alford said.
That passion caught the eye of another of the forum's presenter.
"How you drive your leadership, how your passionate about an idea, how that idea turns into profits not only for you company but also potentially how to make your community grow." said Luis Benitez, the Director of the Colorado office of Outdoor Recreation.
A summiteer of the seven peaks, including six trips to the top of Everest, Benitez wears his passion on his sleeve, but insists backpacking every weekend isn't a requirement to cash in on the recreation industry in Colorado.
"I think that's one of the strongest components of Colorado's economy without a doubt. And I think the reason why is it doesn't matter what you do or what business you're in, if you have family that visits or friends that visits your always taking part of that tourism economy," said Benitez, "Instead of just assuming people understand how great it is perhaps you can take a different angle and explain how great it is."
The leisure and hospitality industry employs one in eight Coloradans.