5 Up and Coming Businesses in Boulder
Boulder’s large and small business scene is booming now more than ever – being listed as one of the top cities in the U.S for tech and start-up companies has only set the bar higher for business owners in the area. While the go-to favorites in Boulder are still going strong, like the Pearl Street Mall and the Fiske Planetarium, the spotlight is on new businesses that are up and coming in Boulder. Here are must-try businesses that have contributed to the area’s growth, and will only get bigger!
It wouldn’t be a “trending in Boulder” article without mentioning the hot tech scene that has emerged in the last decade in Colorado – the same one that has entrepreneurs, moguls, and young professionals calling Boulder home. Founded in 2017 and based in Boulder, Misty Robotics is bringing assistant robots into the everyday home, office, workplace, and school, and wants to do it without breaking the bank. Founder Ian Bernstein has been a part of the tech scene in Boulder from his college days when he studied Electrical Engineering at Colorado State. After founding Sphero, another Boulder-based company that specializes in “connected toys”, he decided to start Misty Robotics, which aims to make robots “helpful friends”. Misty Robotics consists of 50 employees and just raised $11M in their Series A funding, which means an even brighter future is ahead for them.
Earlier this year, Downtown Boulder’s long time coffee shop Vic’s Espresso was taken over by Beleza Coffee Bar, a modern, cozy coffee shop that combines a tropical aesthetic with the sleekness of an Apple store. With a local supply of coffee farmers, Boulder’s coffee scene is robust, and Beleza Coffee Bar owners Greg Lefcourt and Nafisa Ramos are no strangers to navigating it. Before opening Beleza, which serves Colorado-based Sweet Bloom Coffee, Lefcourt was co-owner of Ozo Coffee Company, and had even competed in barista competitions on behalf of Ozo, another Boulder favorite. Lefcourt decided it was time for him to bring his coffee dreams to life, and the result is a coffee-focused bar with modern food offerings, open-concept seating to encourage community, and a local taste.
The beer scene in Boulder has always been robust, with the second most microbreweries per capita in the U.S. Some have even called it the “Napa Valley of Beer”, and Gunbarrel Brewing Company, with its doors open for over a year now, looks to bring all that the regions beer has to offer to their customers. The warehouse-like space is off of 71st Street and offers vintage arcade games, daily food trucks, and board games in addition to their own pub-fare offerings. The best part? It’s pet and child friendly, so everyone can come along and enjoy food, drinks, and some fun. When the weather allows for it, the patio is a great place to catch some sun and explore the various food trucks that offer tastes of Boulder on a rotating basis.
With a diverse history and culture of art in Downtown Boulder, Wonder Wonder is a modern take on art and offers family friendly, interactive art exhibitions in the 29th Street Mall. Wonder Wonder opened its doors in March 2019 and has made a splash across Instagram influencers, local artists, curious children, and everyone in between. Sophie DeWitt, general manager for Wonder Wonder Boulder, decided to become part of the team to inspire and support the Boulder community, and with tickets starting at $16 each, she’s making art more accessible to everyone. The bright colors and lights, kid-like themed rooms (like a ball pit and swings) are reminiscent of a fun house gone modern. DeWitt hopes to make Wonder Wonder even more inclusive in the future by creating sensory-sensitive exhibits and exploring LGTBQ+ performances.
A recent Pearl Street Mall favorite, Wonder Press, opened its doors 4 years ago in 2015, but the founders Brooke Jordan, Robyn Knowlan, and Cecily Runge have been bringing locally-sourced and organic cold-pressed juices to Boulder since 2013. It’s hard to believe that this health-nut essential has only been around for so long, given its success and popularity among the community. In addition to cold-pressed juices, which the trio say are equivalent to “pounds of produce in a bottle”, they provide nut milks and dairy alternatives that are sourced from the same local farmers who provide their produce. The Juice Bar is tucked in between a multitude of fast food and quick-eat restaurants in Pearl Street Mall, but provides a wellness haven with their interior and bright seating area. v