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!



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.



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.


It’s been a busy year for Mudlick Mail, a longtime client of The Stasko Agency. The direct mail company, which we’ve worked with since its founding in 2008, was recently acquired by the private investment firm Clearview Capital. The acquisition will provide Mudlick with the infrastructure and technology needed to sustain its success. Based in Acworth, GA, Mudlick serves 11,000 customers nationwide and posted its eighth consecutive year of revenue growth in 2017.

Mudlick President Tim Ross, who co-founded the company with automotive repair shop operator Greg Sands, will continue to lead the company and has assumed the title of chief executive officer. The company is also adding to its management ranks with the appointment of its first Chief Financial Officer. Zenon Olbrys is a financial and operational business expert, who has specialized in start-ups, business transformations and high-growth companies.



In addition, the company recently formed a partnership with a major automotive industry retailer, which will likely expand its client base. A rebranding is also on tap to better reflect Mudlick’s expanding slate of services, including digital marketing.

We toast Mudlick’s success and look forward to working with the company’s leadership far into the future. For more background, check out our case study, which provides a closer look at how the exposure we built for the company helped spur its growth.


Sarto’s, the social Italian eatery tucked inside the burgeoning Jefferson Park neighborhood, has made a number of changes since it opened nearly three-and-a-half years ago. So, earlier this month, we hosted a media dinner to showcase the restaurant’s evolution.

We drew a diverse group – some familiar with Sarto’s and others, newcomers – that included writers and editors for Denver Life Magazine, Eater Denver, Dining Out, Thrillist and the Denver Post. To highlight the restaurant’s diverse offerings, we invited our attendees to experience an abbreviated version of Sarto’s burrata-making class, taught by Executive Chef Garret Mayer. They also enjoyed a sampling of Sarto’s Cicchetti Bar – where diners can gather for cocktails and quick bites or snacks based on a board of options that changes daily.

Our guests also spent time in The Pantry, a full-service Italian counter featuring hot lunch entrees, a variety of salads, fresh house-made pastas, sauces, pastries and truffles. The Pantry’s menu also includes beer, wine and cocktails and an array of grab and go options. Attendees agreed that with new residential developments popping up weekly in the neighborhood, The Pantry’s expanded options should fill a much-needed niche.

Of course, owner Taylor Swallow was eager to share some of his favorite picks from Sarto’s dinner menu, as well as some new offerings that will be featured in the months to come. Attendees were treated to a tasting menu that included a Gnocchi “tater tot,” Cannelloni Con Coniglio with juniper-braised rabbit and grilled swordfish. We were thrilled to have them dine in the restaurant’s Verona Room, a cozy private dining area that serves as the backdrop for Sarto’s Sunday night screenings, which feature a themed-dinner and movie.

Throughout the evening, Taylor provided attendees with some background on the restaurant’s history and its unique name, which means “tailor” in Italian and is a nod to the building’s former use as a fabric shop and Sarto’s approach to dining, tailored to each guest’s desire.

We had a great time educating our guests about Sarto’s, thanks in large part to top-notch service from Taylor and his staff. We believe the media walked away with a better understanding of everything the restaurant has to offer and a deeper appreciation for Chef Garret’s finely-crafted food.

Check out some of Sarto’s positive reviews in Dining Out and Culinary Colorado.

Stasko Agency Experience:

Since we frequently get inquiries from students interested in working as interns for The Stasko Agency, we thought it might be helpful to hear from our latest intern, Gracia Mboko, a senior at the University of Denver. Gracia will graduate in June with a degree in strategic communications. In the following post, she shares her insight about working with our firm.

Working with Lu has been phenomenal so far. She is a great leader and encompasses so much passion and dedication to her business, which has been inspiring to see.  I have gained a hands-on perspective into the world of public relations and publicity, and the various roles associated with this profession.

The main task I was involved in throughout my internship was helping Lu rebrand herself and build an entirely new website.  This was such an exciting project for me to work on, as I was involved in the decision-making process from the very beginning to the very end. Although it is still a work in progress, every week we have gotten closer to executing Lu’s vision. 

Prior to this task, I had used the website-building tools Wix and WordPress for class assignments. Let me tell you, the pre-built sites they feature, make website development seem a lot easier than it really is. There are hours and hours of research, consultations and trial and error before you can put post anything up in the Web.

A big part of building this site involved figuring out to ensure that it accurately reflected Lu as a person and captured the culture of her work through the content and design.  Attention to details proved to be very important, because everything from choosing a website template, color palettes, fonts, and images plays a role in how the company is perceived and what it represents.  A chief goal was to differentiate The Stasko Agency from all the other competing agencies in Denver, while staying true to Lu’s brand that she has established through her public relations work over the last two decades.

One of the most valuable things I learned from this experience was the importance of relationships. Lu has built strong relationships with her clients, partners and colleagues. Seeing how robust these relationships are has been truly eye-opening. She manages several businesses outside of her agency, has tight-knit relationships with her family members, and is still able to make amazing things happen for her clients.

Lu Stasko is the epitome of a superhero – she does it all! Working for Lu has been a great experience, and has helped me solidify the career path I want to take once I graduate. I am excited about the upcoming projects that I will be fortunate enough to experience with The Stasko Agency.


I would like to take a moment to highlight some of our amazing clients.

Shop Fix Academy 

We are proud to announce our partnership with Aaron Stokes and his company Shop Fix Academy. Based out of Franklin, TN, Shop Fix Academy is an online, accredited, educational platform for auto shop owners and managers to learn the skills necessary to run their business. Aaron and his team provide their students with online video courses that cover a wide variety of management topics as well as marketing advice and employee management. Aaron owns four EuroFix and two AutoFix locations as well as hosting his own radio show in Tennessee where he talks about his first love, auto repair. Our work with Shop Fix Academy has garnered them recognition in several Auto Industry magazines including, MotorAge Magazine, Parts and People, Ratchet + Wrench and Tire Review.

PAN Denver

We helped launch PAN-Denver a Patient Advocacy Nurse program owned by Lisa Bushman R.N. After 30 years at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Lisa wanted to extend her reach further and started PAN Denver in July. As a Patient Advocate Nurse Lisa will be able to help the “Sandwich Generation” navigate the struggles of caring for their elderly parents or their chronically ill children. Lisa has experience working with doctors in many different specialties and would be able to translate difficult medical lingo, manage prescriptions and create detailed logs of doctor’s visits and hospital stays. Her work is so valuable to anyone caring for a loved one and we are so happy to be spreading the word about her valuable work. Lisa was recently interviewed for the Denver Business Journal and we are so excited to help her grow her business.



Lisa Bushman and her new car decal for her newly launched business.

Reed Art + Imaging

One of the highlights of our year so far has been our work with a long time Denver residents Reed Art + Imaging. At the end of last year, we were approached by their team to assist them with their struggles regarding the Federal Expansion Project. They decided to re-locate their business from Federal to the ever-growing 40W Arts District and we are so glad they did because their new space in the old Harley-Davidson building on Colfax is stunning and brimming with potential. Despite the hardships of being forced to move we are so happy to see something positive come out of this story and are looking forward to Reed’s Re-Grand Opening later this year.



Photo from a Denver Post article featuring Reed Art + Imaging. Photo Credit: Andy Cross with the Denver Post

City of Wheat Ridge 

Another highlight of 2017 has been our continued partnership with the City of Wheat Ridge and the Wheat Ridge Education Alliance. Wheat Ridge High School has a fantastic STEM program that is a part of the Jeffco Public Schools Vision 20/20 program that helps students prepare for the work-force. The Wheat Ridge Transcript ran a front-page article highlighting some of the benefits of these programs. We are very proud of our work with Wheat Ridge schools and were excited to see where the rest of the year takes us.

The Bindery 

In the Fall of this year, Chef and Food Entrepreneur, Linda Hampsten-Fox will be opening her restaurant The Bindery on 1817 Central St. We are all very excited for the opening of her restaurant that will serve inspired eats, morning, noon and night with an urban marketplace atmosphere. We have been working with Linda to garner press for her opening as well as some of the events she’s hosted leading up to it. A highlight was Linda speaking with celebrity-chef Andrew Zimmern at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival.



Chef Linda Hampsten-Fox and Andrew Zimmern at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival


We have so many other fantastic clients that you will be hearing more about over the coming months. We look forward to providing our readers with more content, thank you as always for your support.