At The Stasko Agency, we’re big believers in retail therapy. So, when Activate Brands asked to partner with them to raise awareness about an innovative company that helps retailers sell their wares through interactive videos, we jumped at the chance. 

The company, Greenwood Village-based VideoBloom, was one of two local businesses exhibiting last month at the Shop.org Annual Summit, a networking and education event where retailers learn about the hottest digital trends. More than 4,000 big-name retailers attended the event (held in Denver this year), including H&M, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

 Established in 2007, VideoBloom not only produces videos for clients such as Proctor & Gamble, but also provides retailers with video commerce capabilities that can be easily integrated into their websites, allowing consumers to click on a product in a video and add it to their virtual shopping carts.  The company also helps retailers distribute their videos to the right social media channels – generating buzz and sales.   

With VideoBloom’s creative approach to online retail we had no problem capturing the attention of 9News, which featured the company’s Chairman Antoine Toffa on its broadcast the morning Shop.org kicked off and the Denver Business Journal’s Dennis Huspeni, who featured Toffa in his blog from the convention.


If you’d like to learn more about VideoBloom and all the company offers, click here.

Last week was like Christmas for public relations professionals working in the real estate industry. That’s because Denver played host to the spring convention of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, a group of real estate reporters and editors from such prominent news outlets as Los Angeles Times, SmartMoney magazine and Bloomberg News. The conference offered a great opportunity to build relationships with news makers we never get access to, so when a NAREE board member asked The Stasko Agency to plan a cocktail party for conference attendees, we jumped at the chance.

Finding a place to showcase all Denver has to offer was a challenge, but we finally found the perfect spot –  one of the luxury penthouses located above the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.  Development company Craft DeLay owns the 25 residences within the hotel (known as Residence XXV) and generously donated the space for the event. Swinerton Builders Colorado, Zocalo Development and Management, Amstar and Allied Realty/Orion – all current or past clients of The Stasko Agency – also served as sponsors. The event space, located on the 19th floor of the building, provided wonderful views of the downtown skyline and a great vantage point to view some of the buildings the sponsors have developed, including the green apartment building Solera (Zocalo) and and condominium project One Lincoln Park (Swinerton). We hosted about 50 media representatives who got to hear a bit more about what’s happening in Denver’s real estate market.

The view from the top
Our sponsors with NAREE Members Kris Hudson of the Wall Street Journal and John Rebchook of the Colorado Real Estate Journal 

Organizing the party certainly wasn’t easy, but having the chance to connect key real estate movers with some of the nation’s most well-regarded real estate journalists made the event well worth the effort.

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

We were lucky enough to be on site last month to see Swinerton Builders Colorado break ground on a new parking structure for the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks West Rail line. The 1,000-space garage, located at 14th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood, is expected to be complete next year. The garage will serve more than 5,000 riders each weekday, who will use the new light rail line to travel between Denver, Lakewood, Golden and Jefferson County.

A rendering of the completed garage

More than 150 people turned out for the groundbreaking, including Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy, who cited the project as a major step forward in the city’s revitalization efforts. Scott Conrad, Swinerton Builders Colorado Division Manager, also shared information about the economic impact of the development, which is expected to employ an estimated 300 people. News of the project’s start also drew the attention of 9News, 7News and The Denver Post.

Here are a few shots of the event:

Scott Conrad, Mayor Bob Murphy and RTD General Manager Phil Washington

7News on the scene

RTD’s Color Guard.

Scott Conrad addressing the crowd.


Speaking of jobs, the Post also interviewed Scott about boom in construction employment in Colorado. You can read about it here.  Swinerton is on the leading edge of that boom, thanks to several high-profile projects, including a renovation of the Agilent Technologies campus in Colorado Springs and a recently completed office project for Google in Boulder. Swinerton plans to increase its professional staff by 20 percent this year.

The company will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in Colorado this year, so stayed tuned for more news about how Swinerton will mark this special milestone.

We were so excited to see client Gallop Café recently featured on Gabby Gourmet’s weekly 7News segment. Gabby (aka Pat Miller) was kind enough to highlight a few of the Highland restaurant’s unique offerings, including: Kids in the Raspberry Patch – a grown up version of a PB&J, with Marcona almond butter, black raspberry jam, and Chevre on fresh Ciabatta, served with potatoes, fruit and house-spiced bacon; and the Montreal Croissant, a hearty breakfast sandwich featuring Canadian bacon, poached eggs, asparagus and covered in hollandaise sauce. You can see Gallop’s dishes soaking up the spotlight here.

Gallop owners Glen Baker and Dave Grafke were also interviewed on Gabby’s radio show and provided the scoop on their just launched spring and summer menu, which features a variety of new items, including crab cakes served with a roasted red pepper coulis and a charcuterie plate with the house terrine, locally made sausage and Italian salumi, and Brie.

Located on the bustling corner of 32nd and Zuni, Gallop offers a little bit of everything -from coffee and pastries to a bountiful Bloody Mary. Their popular version of the morning cocktail recently won praise from OutFront magazine, which profiled the restaurant earlier this month. Thanks to writer Jeff Steen for the great review.

Although known for brunch, Gallop serves dinner Thursdays through Saturdays. We invite you to sample the dinner menu sometime, or join us July 18th, when Gallop will host a four-course dinner with the Gabby Gourmet herself. The meal includes tax, tip and wine for $25.

For reservations call 303-455-5650.

Owners Glen Baker and Dave Grafke with Gabby

                                         



Last month, we officially began working with Trillium, one of Denver’s hottest new restaurants. Located in the Ballpark neighborhood, the restaurant specializes in Scandinavian-inspired cuisine and was named one of 2011’s best new restaurants by both Westword and 5280.

Chef and Owner Ryan Leinonen, whose background includes stints at the Kitchen in Boulder and Colt & Gray, has created an innovative menu featuring a mix of seafood, heartier fare (duck, beef tenderloin) seasonal salads and an eclectic “Smorgasbord” of small bites. We were lucky enough to sample the fare with a few media friends during the restaurant’s recent Scarborough Wine Dinner, which paired four courses with a variety of Scarborough wines. Check out a few of our appetizing dishes.

The Spring Salad blended turnips, cucumbers, radishes carrots, baby lettuce, grilled marble rye and Gouda in a vanilla vinaigrette

 
Seared Duck Breast with toasted caraway Spaetzle, bacon-braised cabbage and lemon jus
Carrot cake topped with maple ice cream. Need we say more?

Travis Scarborough was on hand to offer background on his namesake Washington state wines and Trillium’s Beverage Manager Kelly Wooldridge did a great job explaining the pairings. Our guests, freelance wine writer Jayne Russell and bloggers David Huntress (Denver By the Slice) and Jacob Harkins (Colorado Wino) offered great feedback on both the wine and the food.

Wine writer Jayne Russell and Trillium Owner Ryan Leinonen get cozy

If you’d like to enjoy your very own prix fixe meal at Trillium, join us on May 16th at 6:30 p.m. for a special dinner hosted by local restaurant guru Pat “Gabby Gourmet” Miller. The dinner is $45 per person and includes tax, tip and wine. Reservations are limited to 40 people so call 303-379-9759 or visit www.gabbygourmet.com soon if you’re interested in attending.

Or consider stopping by on Monday after the Colorado Rockies season opener. The restaurant, which is usually closed Mondays, will open at 4:30 p.m. and will offer happy hour all day. The game will give you an excuse to try the newly concocted Sling for the Fences, a bubbly blend of Benedictine liqueur, dry vermouth, rum and soda.
For more information on hours and other offerings, click here.

For several months, I’ve been spearheading an effort to help merchants in Lower Highland more effectively market themselves and the neighborhood. After many meetings to share ideas and strategize, we’ve decided to create the LoHi Merchant Group. Rather than organizing under an existing neighborhood organization (such as Highland United Neighbors Inc.) we’ve decided to stay independent to specifically focus on promoting the services and products offered in LoHi.

Though our group is new, we’ve already made strides in furthering LoHi’s reputation as a unique destination. Several merchants in our group have banded together and joined VISIT DENVER, which markets the city to tourists, meeting planners and even potential new residents. As part of the membership, the merchants will be featured on the organization’s website, in the Official Visitors Guide and in brochures displayed at the Visitor Information Center downtown and at Denver International Airport.

We’ve also established committees to tackle such tasks as developing a website for our group and exploring the possibility of starting a shuttle service that would run from downtown to LoHi. Though we have some goals we want to accomplish, our group is still very much a work in progress. At our next meeting we’ll decide what amount to assess for annual dues to help cover expenses.

We meet on the last Monday of the month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Our next meeting is Monday, March 26th at 5:30 p.m. at the Lumber Baron Inn, 2555 W. 37th Avenue. If you’re interested in finding out more, please join us. You can also contact me for more information via email or at 303-477-9902.

As 2012 began, I spent some time reflecting on ways we can bring even more value to our clients. Networking, making connections, and interacting with media can present some of the biggest challenges to professionals and organizations.
With this in mind, I am excited to announce three new services that Stasko Agency will offer this year:
Networking Strategy Sessions:
Participants in this two hour session will learn the art of networking, and why it is so important in personal and professional life.
From the socially comfortable to the very shy, participants will come away feeling more confident about building relationships with people who can be potential clients or business resources. Topics include what to say and do at social events, whom to speak with, and how to use time wisely. Anyone interested in expanding their business or social networks will benefit from this session. Networking is also a great tool for anyone who is job hunting or changing careers.
Rates for this service are based on an hourly fee. 
Resource Builder:
With this new service I will leverage the media and business contacts I have cultivated for years, and facilitate valuable connections for my clients.
We will start with an intake session to determine if there are quality connections in my resource bank. When I locate resources that might assist you in reaching your goals and objectives, I will set up an introductory meeting and will attend with you to better explain why I feel these two people will be a good match. There is always a specific reason why I think people should meet each another, even if it’s not obvious from the start.
Rates for this service vary by project.
Media Training:
My clients often comment that interacting with the media can be intimidating. Our media training sessions will help ease your jitters and guide you through communicating your messages confidently and effectively to the media.
We partner with Scoop PR principal Erika Gonzalez to provide this media training, which includes a primer on how the media works, offers strategies for creating clear and compelling messages, and gives hands-on practice through mock interviews.
A veteran journalist, Erika worked as a reporter for the Denver Business Journal, Boulder Daily Camera and Rocky Mountain News, where she served as a staff writer for more than a decade. She was also a chief spokesperson for the Colorado Lottery, where she was interviewed regularly by a variety of local and national media outlets.
Our media training services are available on either an hourly or project fee basis depending on the number of participants seeking training.
For more information contact me at 303-477-9902 or email lu@staskoagency.com.

Photo courtesy:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499

I am a big fan of the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks and it’s not just because my niece (Anya Blindside) is a member of the roller derby junior league. The Rollerpunks teach teamwork and build confidence while giving kids a great reason to get off the couch. The league is open to girls and boys ages six to 11 and girls ages 12 to 17, who learn skating skills, roller derby rules and strategy, fitness and sportsmanship.

Wednesday morning, Good Day Colorado Reporter Dan Daru helped spread the word about the Rollerpunks, capturing league members practicing with Coach PJ “Dangerous Leigh A’Zon” Shields. I was so excited to be on hand to see the girls in action on live television. Although Dan didn’t strap on a pair of skates (he said he left them at home 30 years ago!), he still had a ton of fun. You can view the story here.


The Rollerpunks, started by the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls in spring 2010, have also been featured in Westword, 9News and most recently, The Denver Post. The league’s season runs from April to October, but that didn’t stop the girls from rising early to promote the sport. Registration for new members will be held on March 24. More information will be posted as the event draws near on The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls website.

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from visiting Little Man Ice Cream this winter. The shop (and longtime client of The Stasko Agency) just launched a new line of “all weather” cones that are sure to keep the chill off. Called Bobo Cones, these creative concoctions pair flavored waffle cones with such cold weather fillings as mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.


The choices range from hearty (a savory cone loaded with pulled pork and broccoli and carrot slaw) to healthy (a flaxseed cone filled with quinoa). Made fresh using locally-sourced ingredients, the Bobo cones are available daily until 4 p.m and replace the shop’s previous cold weather fare.


The Bobo Cones passed KDVR’s Dan Daru’s taste test when he sampled a macaroni and cheese-filled Bobo Cone during the station’s morning broadcast a few weeks ago. You can view Dan’s report here. The new cones were also featured in the Huffington Post and on several food blogs including IceCream News.


Little Man Owner Paul Tamburello (who did a great job dishing up scoops for Dan Daru) named the cones after his grandfather, who was affectionately referred to as Bobo by his grandchildren.

The cones make great mobile meals, so try one for a quick lunch or dinner. We know you won’t be disappointed.