AIA President Mickey Jacobs addresses the conference attendees

An estimated 18,000 architects descended on Denver earlier this month as part  of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention. Denver has long been known for having world-class architecture and the convention highlighted new ideas and trends in the industry.

The Stasko Agency was lucky enough to be a part of the action, promoting Swinerton Builders, a construction management company that served as one of the primary sponsors of the conference. Swinerton is one of the companies leading the “design-build” trend, which pairs architects with construction firms in collaborative partnerships.  Swinerton Vice President and Division Manager Scott Conrad was interviewed on 9News about the trend.

Design Build arrangements often result in faster builds and lower costs. Swinerton and architecture firm Gensler recently completed two projects in Denver using design-build, including parking structures for RTD’s West Rail Line and Invesco’s Denver headquarters.

Check out the Swinerton website to find out more about how the company is leading new and innovative trends in construction and to see what projects they’re working on in Colorado.  And take a peek at the photos we captured at the AIA convention.

It seems that bad news is everywhere today.  Turn on your TV, switch on your radio, pick up a paper stories of disasters, tragedies and sadness inundate us at every turn.  For some, it’s overwhelming.  For others, it’s an opportunity to reach out and help their fellow man with acts of kindness and charity.  
But can tragedy and disaster be a means to garnering good PR?  The simple answer is yes…and no.  It’s a complex issue and one that both businesses and newsrooms have been tackling for years.  The events in Oklahoma City, Boston and Newtown are devastating and yet, many organizations have jumped on these events to promote their particular ideology, product or service; and not all of them have been successful in their efforts.
Be Aware:
Recently I had a phone conversation with a local television news producer who complained that too often businesses simply don’t understand how to pitch a story dealing with tragic events.  For instance, in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City tornado, his newsroom received a release trumpeting the fact that a local business was sending donated items in relief for the victims.  On the surface, it sounded like a good feel-good angle.  It was local, it dealt specifically with the big news of the day and it had excellent visuals.  However, after speaking with the business owner it became apparent that the only thing the owner wanted to talk about was the business, NOT the charity.
The producer vented his frustration noting that the story the business wanted to pitch wasn’t about their relief efforts but the business, which was not the point of the original pitch.  The producer admits that the business story, was a good story and one worthy of looking at as a package down the road, but not appropriate for the immediate tornado follow up.  
In this case, the timing was completely wrong.  Had the business owner waited, even a week, the story may have been better received.  What it came across as, though, was a business trying to capitalize on the suffering of others, even if that wasn’t the business’ intent.
More importantly, though, the big mistake this particular business made, as well as many others, is that they misrepresented their story.  Remember, one of the most important tools you have in your PR toolbox is your relationship with newsrooms and journalists.  When you misrepresent a story by pitching one story in a release, and then try to change it during the interview, you ruin that relationship.
Be Up Front:
Had the business in question simply stated in their pitch that they had a product or service that could be of great help during times of disasters, and made certain that everyone knew that was the point of their pitch and their story, there would have been no confusion, and the producers and reporters could have made a better, more informed decision.
In the end, the story never ran, and both parties left feeling slighted, which is unfortunate.
This isn’t to say that small businesses shouldn’t promote their acts of charity.  It’s important to let the community know that you are out there and working for the improvement of your neighborhood.  But be aware that it’s all in how you pitch the story and your ultimate motives for making the story pitch.
Ask yourself, is this story simply about my business donating money, or food or hands in a time of need?  Or am I promoting something else other than just my charitable efforts?  If you can’t answer that question with a “yes, it’s JUST about the charity” then wait to pitch the story another time.
Simply put, stories about charity in a time of need are just that, stories about charity, nothing else.  The last thing you want to do is come off as trying to pitch a commercial for your business when others are suffering.  Here are three very simple rules to keep in mind when considering pitching a story in the immediate aftermath of a tragic event.
1.  Is my story completely relevant to the events at hand?  If not, do not make the pitch.  Newsrooms have enough to deal with during times of crisis.
2.  How is my timing?  Don’t jump on the story the same day, or even the same week in some instances.  During the Boston Marathon bombing, the story wasn’t really over for another few days.  Newsrooms had no time to deal with the follow up stories until the primary story was fully over.  Timing in these situations is crucial and tricky, but you lose nothing by waiting a day or even two, to make sure the story has moved into the recovery phase and to make sure all of your ducks are in a row.
3.  Be clear.  Make sure you pitch the exact story you want the newsroom to cover.  Don’t hide another story under the guise of a charity story.  Pitch only the charity story and mean it.  If you think you have another story that they would be interested in, make a mention of it later if you get a chance to talk to a reporter, but make it clear that the story they are covering is only the charity story.  You can follow up later with an email to go into further detail about your other story, but don’t try to intermingle the two when all you pitched was your charitable efforts.

PR during a disaster or tragic event is tricky.  It can blow up in your face and you can come off looking like a real heel if it’s not done right.  However, when done with pure kindness in mind, it can also be a great boon to your brand and your business.  Ultimately, when in doubt, be charitable and don’t worry about the press coverage.  If you’re doing it for the right reasons, the rewards, and the press coverage will find you.

Last month, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at 20/20 Lawrence, the latest apartment project from Zocalo Community Development. Located in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood, the 231-unit apartment building is running three weeks ahead of schedule and should be ready for residents by December.

Like Zocalo’s other apartment developments, 20/20 is designed with the environment in mind and features an array of eco-friendly features, including Energy Star-rated appliances and high-efficiency water fixtures that use 34 percent less water than standard products. The project also boasts some unique amenities for downtown dwellers. Dog owners will have their very own roof-top bark park with artificial grass, while health-conscious residents will work up a sweat in a fitness center featuring state-of-the art exercise equipment and amazing views of the mountains and Coors Field.

The rooftop outdoor lounge area which includes a fire pit, a community grill, hot tub, and a sun deck is a great place to hang out or even host a small get together. The building is also structured for people who may be working from home with a community kitchen, a computer station, work spaces, and even a conference room.

20/20 Lawrence will be Zocalo’s third LEED certified development. The company has plans to break ground in the coming months on a 218-unit project adjacent to Union Station. The 11-story apartment building, dubbed Cadence, will provide easy access to Denver International Airport, ski resorts and other regional hubs.

20/20 Lawrence’s leasing center is scheduled to open this summer. But if you want info on this project sooner, simply click here to visit the project’s website.

One view from the rooftop where many amazing amenities are housed
This will eventually become the workout center with a phenomenal view of the city

Congratulations to The Firehaus Salon for winning the Best Hair Salon and Best Hair Color categories in Denver’s 7 A-List awards. Competing against 341 metro-area salons, Firehaus became the first salon in A-List history to capture both categories in the same year.

Located in a 101-year old firehouse at the corner of 36th Avenue and Tejon streets in Highland, The Firehaus offers a range of services, from color and cuts to straightening and styling. And to thank customers for their support, the salon is offering a 20 percent discount off of all services during the month of October!

Denver voters also recognized 1515 Restaurant, a new client of The Stasko Agency and winner of the Best New American restaurant on the Denver’s 7 A-List. The elegant downtown eatery (located at 1515 Market Street) garnered more votes than 43 other competitors, earning distinction for its unique and innovative cuisine.

Entering it’s 15th year, the restaurant is offering lunch and happy hour specials for just $15.15. During lunch, diners can choose from two entrees (the Kobe Beef Burger, Pappardelle Pasta) for $15.15, while Happy Hour visitors can select one appetizer from the bar menu and two drinks for
$15.15. The offer is good until November 15th.

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Our friends at Highland Tap and Burger are a creative bunch. They’ve worked hard to show patrons that their charming neighborhood tavern is so much more than just a sports bar. In fact, Highland Tap and Burger is turning into a great spot for a variety of gatherings.

Case in point: On February 25th, Highland Tap and Burger played host for town hall meeting and fundraiser for Denver mayoral candidate James Mejia. The event drew a great crowd, who heard the aspiring mayor-to-be outline his plans to improve the local economy and focus more attention on education. Here, Highland Tap co-owner Juan Pardo mingles with James Mejia.

Shifting from fundraisers to fine food – Juan appeared on the Gabby Gourmet show on 630 KHOW the very next day to plug the pub’s participation in Denver Restaurant Week. Highland Tap and Burger is offering a screaming deal – a $52.80 dinner for four, that includes two appetizers, four burgers and four draft beers or house wines. Couples can enjoy dinner for two (one appetizer, two burgers and two draft beers or house wines) for just $26.80. Check out Juan promoting Highland Tap on air.

Finally, on March 1st, Highland Tap and Burger drew more than 30 of Denver’s loveliest beer drinkers for the first monthly meeting of the Crafty Ladies Beer Club. The women’s-only craft beer club will meet the first Tuesday of each month to hear a speaker from one of our fine local breweries discuss all things beer – from how the ale is made to what food pairs best with a certain type of Pilsner. This month, the speaker was Kelly Tretter, a microbiologist with New Belgium Brewery.
The first event was a tremendous success and we look forward to many more festive meetings. Just look at how happy these beautiful beer drinkers are!

With March Madness and Fat Tuesday on the horizon, there’s lots more in store at Highland Tap. To celebrate Mardi Gras, Highland Tap will be offering $4 Hurricanes and $2 Southern Comfort Lime shots.

For more information click here or “like” Highland Tap and Burger on Facebook.

In 2010, our reasons to be grateful have been abundant! We’ve had the opportunity to work with many brilliant and talented people, have seen our company grow, and have shared in our clients’ successes.

This year, our entire office building–the Frawley House–got together to celebrate an early “family-style” Thanksgiving around our conference table. We even spiced things up with some festive hats and decorations.

As we went around the table, sharing our thanks, it was obvious how much we have going for us. Even the smallest blessings make a huge difference when we take the time to notice them.

We felt thankful to have such a fun group of people to share the holiday with. Take a look at some of the pictures from the day and click the picture to see our facebook album:

We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! As you celebrate the holiday, consider this quote:

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

With the holiday season upon us, we’d like to encourage our loyal readers to shop local and buy gifts that support our Colorado neighborhoods.

Today we’re giving a shout out to our favorite independent bookstore, The Bookery Nook, located at 4280 Tennyson Street in Denver. You may remember that The Stasko Agency worked with The Nook in May last year to help them kick off their grand opening event.

Owners Shannon and Gary Piserchio have done a fantastic job growing their business since opening their doors last spring. Selling much more than books, this dog-friendly bookstore is a one-stop shop for creative cards, specialty candy, kid’s toys and unique handcrafted items by local vendors. The Nook also hosts numerous author and speaker events that appeal to every age group. Their most recent series covers topics relating to sustainability (read more here).

To make holiday shopping even easier, The Bookery Nook has started a Wish List Program where you can keep a running tally of all the titles that have caught your eye. The Nook has over 2,000,000 titles available to them, and if someone picks a book for you that isn’t in stock, they’ll have it in the store within 4 business days.

And finally, for grins and giggles, check out one of the new Bookery Nook ads (taken by Shannon herself) featuring our very own Shelby Arnold. Isn’t it fabulous? See more on the Bookery Nook Blog. Just a reminder that a good book is always within reach. Especially if you shop at The Bookery Nook.

This past Friday, The Stasko Agency was honored to attend and support the grand opening of Guy Harvey’s Perfect Spot Bar & Grill, a new fishing-inspired restaurant in Northfield Stapleton.

Guy Harvey’s is a one-of-a-kind experience, inspired by the art of renowned marine wildlife artist and fishing hall-of-famer Guy Harvey. Fitting to their new Colorado location, Perfect Spot Bar & Grill takes on a warm and inviting lodge-like setting, complete with a stone fireplace, canoes and fish mounts.

The restaurant serves a colorful menu featuring sustainably caught seafood and American fare. Dishes include fresh water favorites such as rainbow trout, walleye, and steelhead trout along with staple items such as soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers priced from $6.99 to $16.99. They will also feature a weekly happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Major kudos to fellow PR Pro Tina Menditto for all her hard work on the event. It was quite a success!

Below, Guy Harvey cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening (left) and snaps a shot with our very own Lu Stasko (right).

Highland’s Gallop Cafe went 2 for 2 this week, with two different segments on Channel 2 “The Deuce.”

Last Friday, anchor Chris Parente stopped by Gallop for a special tasting of the dinner menu (served Thursday-Saturday). Armed with a flip camera (and a friend to share all the food), Chris filmed the whole experience and then aired the footage on Monday’s Everyday segment. Here’s Chris hamming it up with Owner Glen Baker:

Following rave reviews on Monday morning’s segment, Gallop Cafe headed to the Channel 2 studio to prepare the Soul of Autumn Benedict live on Daybreak. Owner/Chef Dave Grafke and assistant chef Christina Mintu set up a beautiful presentation and got all the ingredients ready.

Click here to check out the pictures we took during set up at the studio.

(Follow The Stasko Agency on facebook for updates on the latest and greatest news, events, and publicity campaigns!)

We couldn’t have been happier to see Gallop get the kudos they deserve. Watch the segment featuring David Grafke and Tom Green here:
Want a taste of this delicious fall dish? You can try the recipe yourself or simply stop the by Gallop Cafe, located at 32nd & Zuni.

As a Highland mainstay, The Stasko Agency is always happy to see our burgeoning neighborhood gain some positive publicity. So, we were thrilled when the New York Times recognized three Highland hot spots for serving dishes made from locally-raised livestock and homegrown produce.

The article, which hit newsstands last month, highlighted Root Down, The Squeaky Bean, Colt & Gray and the central Denver bistro Fruition.

We’ve been touting Root Down’s “field to fork” philosophy since the restaurant opened in December 2008. The eatery’s environmentally-friendly approach landed Root Down a spot on the Green Restaurant Tour last April and was the focus of a Vista TV feature. You can check out the segment here.

Congrats to Root Down and all the great restaurants who received props for growing their own food. We’re lucky to have such a wide array of fresh food available so close to home!