Conversation with … Ed Raffety
December 26, 2007
Ed Raffety is a man who has donned many hats in his lifetime. Listen to him speak and it is evident to see that a big part of his life, beyond family, has been serving the town of Granby, where he was a long-time businessman and mayor for many years.
He has seen a lot of change, and as the current mayor pro-tem and through his many years of service to the board of trustees, he still keeps a sharp eye on things around here, especially when it comes recreation and children.
I first met “Mr. Ed” as a tag-along with my mom who took my sister and I to Mr. Ed’s Market for groceries. As soon as we arrived at the store, my sister and I would make a bee-line to Mr. Ed’s office in the west end of the building, where he kept a basket of balloons for children like us.
Ed and his wife, Patricia, have three children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, two of which have just been added to the family this past year and the oldest of which just turned three years old this month. Many remain here in Grand County.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your personal background?
A. I was born (1948) and raised in Denver (with my two brothers) and started working during World War II in the grocery business. I did everything from bagging groceries and stocking shelves to becoming the manager. I met my wife through mutual friends in Denver and she’s been keeping me in line for 50 years now.
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Q. What brought you and your family up to Grand County?
A. We had always vacationed up here, every chance we could get. We’d go camping, boating, and water-skiing. Then one time, right after we returned from a trip to Disneyland the kids asked when we were going to get to go back up to Grand Lake.
They liked it better than Disneyland. So, we moved up to Grand Lake in 1969 and I started my own business.
Q. How did you come to own the grocery store?
A. Don Fulk of Don’s Market wanted to get out of the business and we wanted to get into it. We ran it for three years before building a new store in 1972 down where Ace Hardware is now. We were working at the store seven days a week. I was the meat man and (daughter) Connie, who was about a sophomore or junior in high school, ran the cash register. That first day, she was scared to death but she did fine.
We later opened up a small bakery inside the store, where my wife baked, and eventually added onto the store right about the time the new Safeway opened in Fraser. We ran Mr. Ed’s Market until 1987 and sold it to Dan Dimarco and John Houston who ran it as the Grand County Market before selling the business to Leevers. We just thought it was time. I thought I was ready to retire and take it easy. I wasn’t, but we did do some traveling. We had a fifth-wheel and went to San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona and Texas. I got bored, I guess, but that didn’t last too long.
Q. What did you do next?
A. I bought the CAR Parts store, which is Napa now. My son ran it and it was named after his initials, Craig Alan Raffety.
Q. A lot of people may not know you did an Around the House column for the local newspaper for many years. How did you come about doing that?
A. People still talk about that column. I used to have people ask me how I came up with the household hints and I’d cross my fingers and tell them I stayed up all night thinking of things for it. But I always looked in trade journals and so on and so forth and there was a service provided by an agency and I paid for the information. I had as much comment on that as our grocery ad, which was always a full page.
Q. When did you get interested in politics?
A. My first gamut was while we were living in Grand Lake when I was asked to be a board member for the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District. I served for the board and was also president for a little while, about four-to-five years total. That was the time when they built the back nine on the golf course. We also added the tennis courts there and snow grooming trails.
We lived out at Mountain Meadows near the North Fork of the Colorado River, but after our children grew up, that place was too big. So we decided to move to town and moved to Granby. Then, several of us decided to get involved in helping for the Granby Recreation Department. There was just a small recreation group then and it was in jeopardy of being abolished.
I’ve been either the mayor or a member of the recreation committee since 1991, and was mayor for about six years before I finally took a leave.
Q. But you’re on the board again, aren’t you? What happened?
A. Once again, I got bored with life and filled the position of one of the trustees who resigned from the board. I’m mayor pro-tem now, with a new mayor to be voted onto the board in April.
Q. Any advice for the next mayor?
A. Only privately.
Q. What are some of your major accomplishments as mayor?
A. Recreation would be high on the list. We consolidated a lot of things, applying my general business practices for the public. I enjoyed whatever I was doing.
Q. What are some of the major changes you’ve seen living here?
A. There were three grocery stores in town when we moved up here, including Strachman’s, Ken’s Market; then there was also the Granby Dairy. There were only about 500 people here back then, now there’s 1,600 to 1,700. What was then farms and ranches is now becoming developments.
Q. What’s next for you? Is there anything you’ve wanted to do that you haven’t gotten the chance to do or anything you’d like to see happen?
A. Number one would be to see a successful conclusion to the (soccer) park up there … for the kids. I just became involved in it with groups from Fraser and several other places that had the money but not a place for it. It’s one of the best deals the town has ever gotten.
I’d also like to get a recreation center out at Granby Ranch, that will include a lot of our efforts in the next several years.
We’re just in the part of life where we’re enjoying our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren ” we hope that they stay healthy and that we do, too.