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Leaders of Leadville – International Women’s Day Edition

It’s Women’s History month, Leadville Family! And while we have a very rich history of strong women with the likes of the Unsinkable Molly Brown and Baby Doe Tabor, today we’d like your help in celebrating Leadville’s strong women leaders and entrepreneurs currently serving the community. We caught up with six of these leaders and asked them a few questions that we think you’d enjoy.

Ann Lindgren-Stanek – Harperrose Studio

When did Leadville Find you? Leadville found me first when I was in college in the 90’s and passed through . . . I remember what a cool historic downtown it had. I didn’t stop, but I never forgot it.  When my husband Spencer, then boyfriend, moved out here for work in 2002 it didn’t take too much twisting of my arm to move here too.  We loved the funkiness and low keyness of the town, we appreciated its location to amazing recreation and beautiful outdoor space while being close enough to the city or Summit County when you need those fancy groceries or city culture. What kept us here, though, and was a no brainer to lay roots and start a family here, is the community.  There are really good people here.  We say it over and over among us. . . “It takes a village!” And we have a GREAT village. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else.

What led you to start an art gallery in Leadville, CO of all places? There was an art gallery at 601 Harrison before I came in that had shut down.  We were creating an office space for Spencer’s businesses, Mountainworks and Karta Maps, in the back half of that space and the landlord (who had formerly run the other art gallery) knew I was into the arts; I was a freelance graphic artist and had helped with some community art projects. He approached me several times to run an artist collective in the front half of the space which I declined several times being a new mom and busy busy.  Finally, he came to me with a first month’s rent check from a prospective vitamin shop as well as a thrift shop that both wanted the space.  Knowing that we just didn’t need either of those businesses on the cutest corner on main street, and that Leadville did need a place to support the growing number of local artists,  I said “YES! I’ll do it!” It was by far the BEST decision I could have made as I absolutely love my job, appreciate the historic building we are in and am inspired every single day by all the talented artists that we represent.  I enjoy connecting with people and it’s a great joy to connect people with art and artists.

What has been your biggest challenge with owning a gallery in Leadville? Honestly, the biggest challenge owning a gallery in Leadville was Covid. I know it’s a story we’ve all heard and told so much but really, it was hard. Navigating closing, to reopening and having the floodgates literally overflowing with people was intense. My space is not big and my goal ALWAYS is for you to walk into Harperrose and *find happy* and feel at home. There were some days when that seemed almost impossible, and that was tough. Everyone was on a different page and comfort level. As a business owner on Harrison, I just wanted to respect our community’s health and protocols. Because not everyone agreed, we had to be at the front of a lot of frustration and nervous energy. Luckily, artists kept producing really awesome things and we just got through it, together. We were able to focus on being the best humans we could possibly be during a really challenging time.

What’s your experience with the Leadville Trail 100? I’ve volunteered several times and have ridden the Leadville Trail 100 twice. My first ride was in 2008, the first year Lance Armstrong lined up. I was on a 26″ full suspension Juliana. My longest training ride was 50 miles. And I went for it. I finished in just under 11 hours. My entire last 50 miles I had crampy legs and felt, well, not great. It wasn’t a bad time, but over the years I always knew I could do better, and most importantly, have more fun. Given that my good friends Ty and Roxanne Hall were completing their 20th LT100 (OMG!) and another good friend was doing it for her first time, I decided to do it again last year.  I rode on my 29″ Scott Spark and had a blast, felt great and made my goal of sub 9 hours by less than 2 min!! No matter what, it is such an honor to be able to do a race like this and line up with people from all over doing this thing for different reasons with a variety of goals. From winning to just finishing, I am in constant awe of the guts and determination that athletes have across the board.

Will you return for more of those big sub 9hr MTB buckles anytime soon? I have no immediate plans to go for another big buckle. I love helping with the race in other ways and I ALWAYS love cheering on others and hopefully can get in on some super fun training rides.  Anyone want to ride??

What’s next for you? On a biking front, I have signed up to do the TransAlp Stage Race in Europe this summer. It’s 6 days and moves across the Austrian and Italian Alps. I’m super stoked. Traveling through biking is a passion of mine and I can’t wait to experience the Alps in that way.

On a business front, I am expanding Harperrose!! Spencer is moving his office one building over and I am moving the gallery back into the back half of 601 Harrison. I’m really excited to showcase some fine art and larger pieces back their while celebrating the awesome space that these historic buildings have to offer. Come check it out!!

Katie Anderson – Hello Fern Creations LLC

When did Leadville find you? I actually found Leadville through my husband, Paul. He lived here and attended college at CMC long ago. He ended up moving away, but he still had a few good friends in town so we would come visit as often as we could, we have always loved it here! Then in 2013, we were able to move here when Paul got a job with the Leadville Race Series. I ended up student teaching in the district and was then able to get a job teaching art at the Elementary School.

What is Hello Fern Creations? Hello Fern Creations LLC is a business that I started in September of 2020 when I left my job teaching to pursue making art full time. I specialize in functional pottery, but I also enjoy painting and making prints.

Where have you found the most opportunity with your business? I honestly don’t think that I would have the opportunity to be doing what I’m doing without the Leadville Community. I feel so fortunate to have received so much support from so many other small businesses in town, and now in other nearby communities as well. There is something pretty amazing about the full circle effect of other businesses supporting me and me supporting them. It’s not just the businesses either, I receive so much support from family, friends and community members and of course the visitors. I just love it and feel so incredibly lucky to get to do what I’m doing while living where I live. It can’t imagine it could get much better.

What has created the biggest challenge for you as a Leadville business owner? Starting a business comes with its own set of challenges. There has been quite a learning curve for me, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot. But I think that the biggest challenge specific to Leadville is keeping sales up during the mud seasons, the spring and fall. Town just isn’t as busy as it is during the winter and summer. As a small business owner there will always be ebbs and flows, and I am learning to flow with them during those not so busy times.

What is your experience with the Leadville Trail 100? As I said earlier it was the Leadville Race Series that allowed us to move to Leadville in the first place, to which I am very grateful. My son and I spent a lot of time volunteering at many different events while Paul was working, and now we all still volunteer after he moved onto a different position. We really enjoy being a part of the events! In addition to volunteering, I am a finisher of the Leadville Marathon, Silver Rush 50 bike and the 100 bike. My husband and son have also completed a few events, and I look forward to riding the Stage Race as a family team soon! As per my business, last year I was given the opportunity to have a booth at the Trail 100 Bike and Run Expos. I loved it! It was so fun talking with the athletes, welcoming them to Leadville and wishing them luck! I look forward to hopefully participating in the Expos again next summer.

What’s next for you? I hope to keep expanding in a manageable way in the coming years, including continuing to grow my sales in Leadville. In addition, I am always interested in learning more about other shops, galleries and markets to showcase my work in surrounding areas.

Misti Cureton – Tenderfoot Farm

When did Leadville find you?  I was born in Leadville! Grew up on W 8th Street, 229 to be exact.  Awesome neighbors and the best childhood memories ever. Leadville was (is) such an amazing community and being located in the middle of town from Elm Street to West Park it seems like 8th street was the happening place. Kids from all over would come to play what we called night games. Cole Chlouber? Am I supposed to say you were one of those kids…lol. I have seen Leadville in so many different stages, but one thing never changes, that is the love of friends and neighbors. Leadville has truly stayed strong through hard times and never took for granted the fantastic times! That is why so many people want to come to Leadville and join the family.

What is Tenderfoot Farms and how long have you been involved with it?  What is Tenderfoot Farm? Such a huge question. Location is key. We are located in Balltown. My grandparents, Warren and Ruby Cureton, lived in Balltown and over the years they built many homes on the property. Grandpa was a logger, so the homes were, of course, built from logs.  Many of the logs came from the clearing of Climax Mine. However, Papa and Gram wore many hats. They started the Balltown Lounge, the Win-Mar Cabins, Cureton Lumber and ran cattle and buffalo in Balltown and the Clear Creek Ranch. So we assumed the role of those before us and we were determined to make the property work for us too. My husband, JR, and I knew Balltown was where we wanted to be. We purchased our property from my mother and uncles.  On that day the seeds to our story were planted and the adventure we would embark on began. Tenderfoot Farm started with a love for animals and an entrepreneurial upbringing. We had chickens, fainting goats and went for it. We formally established Tenderfoot Farm in 2018.

Then came 2019 and a battle with breast cancer. Happy to say I am 3 years clear thanks to family, friends and the amazing staff at Shaw Cancer Center and Jesus. Facing Cancer will make you realize so many different things. Like tell everyone you love them, never take a day for granted, be happy to be alive. And while I certainly felt all of these emotions, my strongest emotions were: do not accept the word “no” or “you can’t do that.” JR and I have 2 young daughters. There was no way I could sit back now and not teach them to fight for what they want in life and be amazing at everything they do!! We are all writing our own story, make it a damn good one!! We currently have 9 amazing fainting goats, 99+ beautiful chickens, 9 sweet ducks, crazy cats, loyal dogs and the best little Donkey ever. Oh, and the piggies will be here in April. We are working hard this season to set up our own piggery so we will have the pigs on the Farm from start to finish! We will keep y’all posted.

How are you sourcing products outside of what you produce? In 2020 we, like everyone else, saw a need for better food sources. So here comes the PIGS! Love, love these animals. They are such a blessing to experience. Yes, we do take them to the butcher. We believe in Happy Food, Happy Mood! Knowing where our food comes from and how it is raised is huge and we are happy that we can bring that comfort to the Leadville community. Our Beef is the Highlander Cow. We are sourcing this through Arrowpoint Cattle Company in Nathrop. We could not be more proud of this company and how they share the same standards we do. We source our chicken selections through Scanga Meat. We could not raise enough chickens to feed the masses. We have a lot of chicken lovers in Leadville.  We also source other items with Scanga Meat such as lunchmeat and cheeses etc.

How important are local relationships for both you and your business? Tenderfoot Farm was started with the plan to bring something wonderful to our community. We are where farming meets the mountains, and at times, it is a struggle. When someone comes to the farm or to our new location, Tenderfoot at Twin Lakes, it warms my heart when they say kind words about the meat they are eating and how happy they are that we do what we do. We enjoy the people in our life and enjoy meeting new people every day. A community is nothing without a united Village!

Thank you for the opportunity for this interview and to all the amazing women before me, with me and after me! I am so proud to raise my daughters around so many strong women!! Thanks to all of you.

Heather Lindh – Aspen Leaf Realty

When did Leadville find you? Born and raised in Colorado, after graduating high school and a short stint in Durango, some friends and I decided we wanted to move up to the mountains and be ski/snowboard bums for a year. So we moved to Summit county. But you can’t be a ski bum and live in Summit county! You’ve gotta work at least a couple of jobs. This eventually pushed me up to Leadville about a year later. And it’s had its hold on me ever since (23 years) 😊

How can your business best help our Leadville family? For the past 20 years I’ve worked hard to make sure our real estate office is the most knowledgeable and helpful office to serve any real estate needs. We assist in sales, rentals, and property management. We are actively involved in our community, serving on several different boards and volunteering for several organizations throughout the year. We keep our finger on the pulse while helping to shape our community.

Where would you like to see Leadville trend in terms of growth? This is a tricky question. My “rainbows and unicorns” vision would be that Leadville’s growth slows down just enough to allow us the ability to plan and protect the “small town” characteristics that we all love so much about Leadville. I’d love to see good diversity in housing to both accommodate our local workforce as well as our loyal second homeowners, that we are able to protect some of our open spaces and designate them for responsible outdoor recreation.

The perfect Leadville will be one that creates as much harmony as humanly possible between our locals and our tourists since inevitably we are a tourist town. We just don’t want to succumb to some of the pitfalls that come along with that such as extreme cost of living, irresponsible development, and overrun/overused resources.

What advice do you have for those currently looking at Leadville Real Estate (from investor to full-time community resident)? Leadville real estate is a great investment in my opinion. That being said, it’s a tricky market to be a buyer in.  Whether looking for a full time residence, vacant land or an investment property, the equity potential in Leadville is awesome.  However, you can also easily get yourself priced into a transaction that makes the investment potential pretty risky.  It’s important to work with someone who has a lot of Leadville real estate market experience to be sure the home you are getting is one that will be the very best fit for not only your budget but also for your maintenance and repair abilities/goals.

What’s your experience with the Leadville Trail 100? I LOVE crewing the LT100 races.  I crew most all of the races each year and have for quite a few years.  Whether crewing for my little sister out there crushing several of these races, or helping my husband, Brian, our local Cycles of Life bicycle shop owner, you’ll find me out on the course each year cheering everyone on!

What’s next for you? I don’t necessarily have ‘Next’ planned for myself.  I am lucky enough to be living my best life right now and don’t have much I’d change.  Other than perhaps spending a little more time at a beach somewhere during some of our cold winter months 🙂  You’ll find me in Leadville for many more years to come!

Kayla Marcella – Lake County Commissioner

When did Leadville find you? How many generations of your family have got their start in Leadville?
I have been in Leadville all my life- 5 generations of us!

What do you do for a living? I am in my second term as a County Commissioner for Lake County. It is the BEST job I have ever had (even on the bad days!), and I am thankful to be able to hold this job and work for our future. I don’t take for granted that I work for the people, and I try to bring the decisions I make back to what makes their lives better.

How long have you had an interest in politics, do we have Carl to blame for this (Carl is Kayla’s grandfather and worked at the mine with Ken. After that the pair spent the next several years in the Colorado State Legislature serving together)? HAHA- maybe a little bit of blame to Carl… I watched him work so hard to stand up for what he believes in and to make change, and I have worked in public service my whole adult career- both at Lake County, and the Lake County School District. I don’t so much get into the nitty gritty of politics as I do policy changes. I am working hard to be engaged with state and federal changes that will affect us, and to make sure we have a voice at those levels.

Coming from such strong mining heritage, did you ever have any hard rock mining aspirations? Always! My grandparents, parents, husband, and siblings have worked in mining, and I always thought it was so cool! I would have loved to go that route in life, but my soul lies in public service.

What’s your experience with the Leadville Trail 100? I remember going to the Twin Lakes aid station with my mom when the School District worked that aid station. We watched the runners come through and cheered them on. We also handed out a LOT of bananas. I have run the Heavy Half, and crewed for my husband twice- and looking forward to his next ride this August. I will be out there and always have some extra water bottles! I am also really looking forward to riding in the Stage Race with my best gals as a team.

What’s next for you? I am ready to get some work done in my professional role- work on childcare funding and security and implementation of a local transportation system. After this term, I don’t have a plan quite yet- but I know I want to continue to make change.

Marley Seifert – Marley Seifert Designs

When did Leadville find you? 2017 – I moved here to attend Colorado Mountain College.

What do you do for a living? I’m a full time artist!

How long have you been a full-time artist? I started full time in 2020, so about 3 years!

What does success look like? I think the greatest success is living a happy fulfilling life, working towards your goals (and achieving them!), spending time with people that you love and inspire you, and doing the things you love every day.  Obviously winning a race, or accomplishing great things are a success! But, I think that success is more of something that can be behind the scenes and personal than what people can see. So, in short, success looks different for everyone.

What’s your experience with the Leadville Trail 100? I designed the posters in 2022 and I raced the Silver Rush 50 that year as well.

What’s next for you? Continuing to chip away at my dream goals, doing what I love, and expanding my art business!

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