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!

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.

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