Businesses keep the Yampa Valley thriving and Collin Kelley, creator of Primrose, knows a lot about how to create local businesses that are successful and support our community. Here are four tips to make a big difference. 

Meaningful Employee Compensation: At Steamboat’s Primrose, the entire kitchen staff is offered a true living wage through a base salary.

Every person in the kitchen – from the dishwasher and fry cook to Chef de Cuisine – gets a salary that ensures they can afford to live in the valley.  “One of the things I am most proud of with this commitment is knowing that my team can pay their rent in mud season without having to worry about how many hours they worked in May or November…that their salary makes them eligible to get a car loan or pay their bills without having to get a second job to afford groceries, as is the case with many folks in the service industry in our community,” Collin shared. 

Local Sourcing: Use as many local sources of vegetables and proteins as possible.

One way to do this is by buying local beef, pork, and lamb through the Routt County 4-H program.  The proceeds will support our local ranching families and help shape the future of our youth.  “I grew up in Kansas; the annual 4-H auction was a big deal – It taught me the importance that the annual Livestock Auction can have on shaping these kids’ futures.  We aim to buy as many animals as we can to assist these kids in stashing some money away for college or their futures in Agriculture or becoming a tradesperson.”

Local Tradesmen: Use local contractors, artists, craftsmen, tradespeople for every single aspect. 

The ambience will stand out and you’ll be funding your local community.  Although it might be slightly more expensive, your guests will notice and the cost will pay off.   “When we were conceptualizing Primrose and doing the interior remodel, one of the things we committed to early on was using 100% local contractors, artists, craftsmen, tradespeople for every single aspect,” said Collin. “ We were proud to work with Coleman’s Haberdashery for our American bison upholstery, artist Brooke Mack for our custom commissioned artwork of Primrose flowers, Joey Kay for our custom drapery, PMG Construction for the woodwork and interior finish, Julie Anderson for our American Clay stucco, Midwest Electric for all of our lighting, Certified Welding and Fabrication for custom metalwork, Grasso Stone for our stonework, Affordable Floors & More for the beautiful custom title, Ben’s Blinds for window coverings – you name it – every aspect from top to bottom was created by a local who is the best at what they do. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and the way the space feels when you walk in.  We put very little restriction on everyone – we just wanted their best work, to let them have fun with what they were doing – to challenge them to do something out of the ordinary.  The results speak for themselves.”  

Supporting Nonprofits: Create thoughtful partnerships with local charities and causes that make a measurable change or impact in Steamboat. 

Get creative and find programs that go beyond simple monetary donations.  Primrose offers donation of meals, space usage, and “chef-inspired “experiences” including wine dinners and bourbon-paired tasting menus. 

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Photos: Jay Hirschfeld