Little Man Ice Cream’s newest concept, The Constellation, landed in Stapleton at the Eastbridge development and celebrated its Grand Opening on March 30th.  The Constellation Ice Cream shop is named after The Constellation or “Connie,” a four-engine airliner built by Lockheed Martin, an airliner that revolutionized the mid-20th century.  The ice cream shop is housed in a 75-foot replica of the Constellation airplane wing.  The wing suspends over Martin Luther King Boulevard, paying tribute to the former Stapleton International Airport.

The maiden voyage Grand Opening was a smashing success, celebrated with hundreds of Little Man Ice Cream fans.  Customers were encouraged to bring a piece of luggage in order to receive a baggage claim ticket that would be entered into a drawing for a trip for 4 to New York City!  Congratulations to the Little Man staff for a remarkable opening and for bringing a piece of history to yet another community.

The Constellation is the fourth ice cream concept developed by Paul Tamburello, founder of Little Man Ice Cream.  The Stasko Agency was hired by Tamburello to promote the first concept, Little Man Ice Cream, a 28-foot-tall replica of an antique Milk Can back in 2008.  Over the past ten years, The Stasko Agency has provide publicity and public relations services for Paul Tamburello and the Little Man brands.  Tamburello has two more concepts on tap for 2019, a soft serve shop called Dang and a Little Man Ice Cream shop at Denver International Airport, a testament to the iconic status of the brand.

Since last autumn, we have had the chance to work with and represent Jason McGovern and Crush Pizza + Tap (formally Denver Deep Dish). To put it lightly – Jason and his team are CRUSHing it! They have successfully gone through a name change and rebranding, and have expanded their menu to include a broader array of pizza styles.

Jason McGovern, Owner Crush Pizza + Tap

The Lower Highland pizzeria, which has won awards and loyal fans for its deep-dish pies, now offers a hand-tossed variety and a Sicilian, thick-crust style. Dining Out highlighted the restaurant’s unique offerings in its recent round-up Denver pizzerias.

Jason McGovern, the owner of Crush Pizza + Tap, has graciously hosted fundraising events including a Girls on the Run dinner for a group of students from the University of Denver and a non-profit fundraiser for Project PAVE. He sponsored the first HUNI Happy Hour of the year for the LoHi community. He has also provided tenant Happy Hours for the local apartments and has offered special discounts for the local schools, businesses, and the neighborhood.

The new name Crush Pizza + Tap has been received with open arms from the food media and local broadcasts. Jason has become a regular on the Modern Eater Radio Show. He also drew some well-deserved media attention for his Pizza Challenge, eating pizza every day for over 90 days and he is still going! Check out these pieces in Westword and on the Everyday Show about his pizza-eating adventure.

On March 9, 2019, Crush celebrated its 4th anniversary with live music and a large crowd of loyal fans. I think everyone who experiences Crush Pizza + Tap will agree that Jason and his staff go above and beyond to make you feel special and welcomed. And of course, the pizza is something that will leave you wanting more. If you ask us, “Who is our Crush?” we would have to say Jason McGovern and Crush Pizza + Tap!

 

 

 

 

Spring is finally in the air and as we see signs of nature waking up, it is a good reminder to reawaken your marketing efforts, which may have gone dormant during the winter.

If it has been a while since you have initiated a publicity or promotional campaign, now is the time to do just that and to breathe some new life into your business. Below are some steps you can take today that can attract some attention for you and your business in the months to come:

Step 1: Connect with the media through a news release or a pitch about your business. If you are launching a new business, sending a news release to the media is a great way to let the media and the public know about your new company. However, even if you have been in business awhile, you might be engaged in activities that could be considered newsworthy. Did you add a new product, service, or menu offering? Did you hire some new talent? Or did you promote someone from within your company? These updates provide a good reason to reach out to the media and let them know that you are still in business and doing well.

Step 2:   Host a media event. It is one thing to send a news release or a pitch to the media, but hosting an event designed specifically for media is a more proactive way to gain attention for your business. For example, if you own a spa, why not host a spa night where you provide mini-versions of the services you most want to highlight. If you’re a developer, you could host an open house to allow the media to get better educated about your projects. Whatever the focus, media events offer the chance to connect in person and to provide more information in a hands-on way.

Step 3:    Free promotional cards. If you are in a business that depends on new customers or clients, a promotional card that offers something for free or at a discount, is an excellent way to have new potential customers sample your business or services. Once you get a new customer in your door, you have a great opportunity to show them what makes your business special and/or unique. And remember if you want them to return, be sure to say, “we look forward to seeing you again soon!”

Step 4:   Community Outreach. I am big believer in working with the community in which you do business. Your community can be the lifeline of your business, so it is important to connect with them on a one-on-one basis. I suggest researching the Resident Neighborhood Organizations (RNO) in your area to explore how you can connect with the residents in your community. You might offer to host one of the RNO’s monthly meetings to get acquainted with your neighbors. Research other groups within your neighborhood that may be worth supporting and performing outreaching to including, mommy groups, sports leagues, schools and nonprofits.

Step 5: Direct mail campaigns. Combining direct mail with your social media marketing and publicity efforts is a powerful combination. Direct mail makes it easy to target your audience and to increase your brand recognition. If done on a consistent basis, it will help amplify the results of any marketing, promotion, or publicity campaign.

 

 

 

 

While I absolutely love being an entrepreneur, there’s no doubt that the life of a business owner can get lonely. To combat that isolation, I’ve built a network of colleagues who have valuable insight and can serve as great sounding boards when challenges arise. I also like to think that my perspective can prove helpful when my fellow entrepreneurs find themselves struggling with a public relations or marketing issue.

For example, a few months ago, a few of my colleagues were trying to figure out how to test an exciting new concept publicly. The duo – Janine Underhill and Dana Wasson – both graphic facilitators, were interested in piloting a new interactive event offering called a “Listening Lab Pop-Up.” The event provides a platform for attendees to share what’s meaningful to them, while their thoughts and ideas are captured on a Listening Wall that organizers can use to identify trends or themes.

When I heard about the idea, I instantly started thinking about all the different events where a Listening Pop-Up could prove useful – from community development forums where developers are trying to gauge reaction to a project from neighborhood residents to a focus group where a corporation might be trying to connect with consumers – the possibilities seemed endless.

Another obvious option was tapping the Listening Pop-Up for political candidates hoping to reach voters. So, I connected with Denver Mayoral Candidate Jamie Giellis, who I knew was going to be hosting a fundraiser to raise awareness about her campaign. I thought the event could serve as the perfect platform to launch the Listening Pop-Up.

Luckily, Jamie and her team jumped on the idea. Knowing that she would never be able to talk to each and every person who attended the event, Jamie viewed the Listening Pop-Up as a way to really “hear” what her constituents wanted to say even if she couldn’t interact with them all directly. She developed three questions for attendees and then Janine and Dana recorded their responses for Jamie’s future use. This approach allowed Jamie to gather so much more information than she could have done going door to door.

I’m excited to share that other mayoral candidates have expressed interest in hosting their own Listening Pop-Ups. I am also working with Janine and Dana to approach Governor Polis about using the format for his policy work. We see lots of opportunities on the horizon to share this special tool. For more information on the Listening Pop-Up, visit https://www.epiphanylabpopup.com

And remember, collaboration can be crucial in pushing new ideas from conception to implementation!

 

 

 

 

LoHi Community Opens “Pedestrian Bridge”

This is the time of year when many business owners start thinking about how to give back to their communities. While the holidays are a great time to show your support for a local cause, at The Stasko Agency, we believe contributing to your community shouldn’t be a seasonal thing.

We’ve noticed that some of our most successful clients are often those who are committed to giving year-round. In fact, community involvement is one of the key elements we look for when engaging with a new client. We want to help our clients figure out how to best serve the community in which they operate.

That’s because a community is the strongest when the residents support their local businesses and services and when the business owners help support community events and efforts. It is a win/win when the residents and merchants work In-tandem and take pride in the area where they work and live.

When a business invests in its community, both through financial contributions and volunteering, it is helping secure the future for the community. Think about the neighborhoods where you like to spend time. Those areas often feature a variety of activities that succeed because of resident participation and merchant support.

Of course, for new business owners, determining how and where to best allocate your resources can be a daunting task. If you’re new to an area, it might be difficult to even know where to start.

Sarto’s and JPUN Community Host “Jefferson Square Holiday Affair”

Here are some strategies for business-owners looking to increase their community involvement:

  • Research the area and get to know the boundaries of the neighborhood. This will help you determine a “community target market.”
  • Become a member of the RNO (Resident Neighborhood Organization). If the community is smaller, they might have a Business Alliance within the RNO group. If the community is larger there is likely a group just for the merchants, usually a Merchant Association. Being involved in these groups will help expose you to the members of your community, fellow merchants, and will offer you great insight into the happenings and events taking place in the community
  • Once you establish your name and business with these groups, look for opportunities to volunteer your time, services, or merchandise to local events or for fundraisers. This will start to raise your presence in the community and will let leaders know that you are ready and willing to help.
  • Host a Happy Hour for all residents and fellow merchants. Invite them to come see your place of business and provide food (preferably from a local restaurant) and drinks. Take a moment to welcome your guests and tell them about your business. This is one of the most effective ways to market your business and “correctly” tee-up your word-of-mouth marketing. Be sure to have your guests wear a name tag, so you can start to know and identify community members easily.
  • Identify a cause or organization you can support in a variety of ways. For example, if education is your passion, you can team with schools on fundraising projects or provide learning opportunities for students or showcase schools programs or projects in your shop.

We have more than 20 years of experience helping clients make key community connections and are happy to guide you if you need support. Click here to contact us.

 

When you’re struggling to find new ways to promote your business, it sometimes pays to let history be your guide. The 125-year-old Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs offers a good example of how your past can provide powerful inspiration. When we started working with the hotel more than a decade ago, we quickly began brainstorming about events that could celebrate Hotel Colorado’s rich history, while providing guests a new reason to visit.

After a little research, we discovered that Glenwood was one of the first places in the United States to experience the sport of polo, thanks to Hotel Colorado’s founders, Walter Devereux and Harvey Lyle. The pair were championship polo players and formed the Glenwood Polo and Racing Association. When the hotel was completed in 1893, Devereux and Lyle included polo grounds on-site for the use of the guests and staged the area’s first polo match as part of the opening celebration.

Polo eventually gave way to other more popular pastimes in Glenwood, but we thought it might be worth resurrecting the sport to attract polo fans from near and far. So, we helped the Hotel Colorado re-launch the Devereux Cup and promoted the event every summer for several years. The tournament was held at Stout Ranch at Baldy Creek, owned by Hotel Colorado’s polo team captain, Barry Stout. At 8,000 feet, the site has the distinction of serving as one of the highest points where polo has been played. Click here to read this colorful article from the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent about the first Devereux Cup tournament at Stout Ranch.

In addition to non-stop action, the Devereux Cup also featured a meet-the-players gala and an awards banquet, both hosted by Hotel Colorado. We developed and marketed a special polo tournament package for visitors to capitalize on all the activities available. Our efforts to promote the event elevated Hotel Colorado’s profile in many local and regional publications and garnered attention in polo industry media outlets as well.

          Celebrating Hotel Colorado’s history allowed us to create a new attraction for the hotel that drew interest from locals because of its novelty, while also offering polo aficionados another opportunity to support their sport. And because Hotel Colorado was once a polo hub, a revival of the sport made perfect sense.

We’re convinced that every business owner should consider mining their heritage for promotional ideas. Even if you’re a relatively new operation, the town or city where you’re based might offer historical nuggets worth exploring. Our experience shows that taking a walk down memory lane is worth the trip.

 

 

With Autumn arriving this weekend, we would like to take a quick look back at the highlights of the summer at The Stasko Agency.

We have been busy getting ready for the highly-anticipated opening of Little Man Ice Cream’s newest shop, The Factory. Housed in the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, The Factory is a whimsical, Willy Wonka-inspired ice cream production facility and tasting room. The Little Man team, led by Paul Tamburello, aimed to create a space that sets the imagination free by creating an interactive experience that engages guests in the ice cream production process.

The Denver Business Journal interviewed Paul Tamburello early this summer about the project. Click here to see the Journal’s sneak peek inside The Factory’s development.

Continuing our work in the restaurant industry, we helped the Colorado Restaurant Association announce the acquisition of its insurance arm, Colorado Restaurant Insurance by Crest Insurance Group. The acquisition will allow the Arizona-based insurer’s to extend its presence in Colorado and providing Colorado Restaurant Insurance with the ability to expand its services. Colorado Restaurant Insurance will operate as Crest Restaurant Insurance and will become part of the Crest Insurance Group family. BusinessDen helped spread the news about the acquisition to Denver’s business community.

Sean Pechan CEO, Crest Restaurant Insurance

Also, on the merger and acquisition front, we helped longtime Stasko Agency client Mudlick Mail announce its merger with Muscle-Up Marketing, a cutting-edge marketing agency focused on the fitness and wellness industry. For Mudlick, the merger is a strategic move that will enable the company to serve a wider range of businesses and expand its digital offerings. We continue to promote Mudlick Mail CEO Tim Ross as an expert in the field of marketing, direct mail and digital media. Click here to read a contributing article we landed for Tim in MotorAge Magazine.

The Stasko Agency also continued the annual tradition of raising money for the Annual LoHi 4th of July Parade and Family Picnic. This year we raised $6,100 in two days (exceeding the $5,000 goal) due to the generosity of the LoHi Merchants. This event continues each year under the direction of Little Man Ice Cream but is sustained by the contribution of the LoHi Merchants. The parade and family picnic drew more than 2,000 attendees (we were happy to pitch in serve a lot of hot dogs) and a slew of bakers who entered 35 pies in the event’s pie contest.

We are thankful for all the new and current clients we have been able to provide publicity and public relations services for these past few months. Here’s to cooler weather!

Kids Parade

If you’re still looking for something fun to do on the 4th of July, we encourage you to check out the annual Highland Neighborhood Fourth of July celebration, which has been drawing thousands to the area for more than a decade.

In addition to a parade and community picnic, this year’s festivities include live music, performances from local dance troupes, a bike decorating contest, field day games and an amateur pie competition. Judged by local celebrity chefs, the contest includes a $500 gift certificate to Linger for the winner.

The event kicks off at 8 am with a bike decorating party at 32nd and Clay Street and culminates with the creation of a 200-foot long sundae, crafted by our client Little Man Ice Cream and eagerly devoured by attendees – both young and old. For a full schedule, click here.

The Stasko Agency has been involved in the Fourth of July celebration since its inception. The goal was to simply find a way to bring the community together at a time when Lower Highland was beginning to attract a variety of new residents. But we also hoped that through the event, visitors from other parts of Denver would gain exposure to our little neck of the woods and all we had to offer, including such unique merchants as Little Man, which opened on July 4, 2008.

                                                                                           

As a homegrown PR agency, we wanted to help put Highland on the map, so we helped organize the initial event, raised funds to cover entertainment, food and drinks and also promoted the celebration to the media. The result is an event that continues to grow and gain attention. We are consistently included in lists of local top 4th of July celebrations by such publications as 303 Magazine and Denver Life Magazine.

We continue to be heavily involved in fundraising and promoting the event, which remains one of our favorite holiday gatherings of the year. It also serves as a great reminder of how community events can serve as great public relations tools.

As I embarked on creating a new web site for The Stasko Agency, I felt very blessed to be reminded of where I started 20 years ago and where I am today. My career in publicity and public relations has been an interesting journey, which has taught me a lot along the way, one being that relationships with your community and neighbors are invaluable.

I have lived in Lower Highland (LoHi) or North Denver since 1995. The area has experienced tremendous growth during that time, with new restaurants, shops and apartment communities popping up monthly. Yet, while all of these new additions are exciting, I think it’s worth paying tribute to the local merchants who laid down roots in the neighborhood long before it was one of the hottest enclaves in Denver. These pioneers have provided consistently strong service and support for the community and they are well worth your time. Here’s a closer look at some of the neighborhood’s long-standing businesses.

Shapes Salon – Shapes Salon and Studio is one of Denver’s top curly salons – and also specialize in color treatment and other top of the line haircare services. Richelle Gonzales, owner of Shapes has been in the area since purchasing her location in 2000. Gonzales and her team are dedicated to helping you look and feel your best. Being a “curly girl” myself, I know how important it is to find a stylist that understands how to work with curly hair. Shapes Salon has mastered giving curly girls exactly what they are looking for! http://shapessalonandstudio.com

Gaetano’s – One of the oldest Italian restaurants in North Denver, Gaetano’s was founded in 1947 by Denver’s legendary Smaldone mob family. In 2013, Rob Robinson took the helm after he purchased the business from Breckenridge-Wynkoop LLC, which had run the restaurant since 2004. Gaetano’s specializes in classic Italian cuisine and with its dimly-lit dining room, tall burgundy booths and wall-to-wall historic black and white photos, offers a taste of the Denver of yesteryear. The Burrata – burrata cheese, prosciutto, balsamic, grilled ciabatta – is one of the best in Denver!

http://www.gaetanositalian.com/

 

Joie de Vivre – Back in the early 2000’s it was challenging to find a gym or exercise class in LoHi. So when Ansley Watson opened the doors to Joie de Vivre Pilates in 2006 – her unique teaching style known as The Watson Method – drew exercise buffs and proved that the neighborhood was ready to support a variety of fitness studios. I have taken many of Ansley’s classes over the years and can attest that her approach to exercise and injury rehabilitation is effective.

http://watsonmethod.com/

 

Gallop Café – I was fortunate to meet Gallop Café owners David Grafke and Glen Baker, back in 2004 when I was representing the historic Weir building where Gallop Café is housed. Since Gallop Café opened, it has become the go-to coffee shop for many Highland regulars. I highly recommend their fresh coffee and wonderful, revolving slate of flavored scones.

http://www.gallopcafe.com/