Brower: An enterprising family, enriching Grand Lake and the county
Grand Lake and Grand County are seeing the benefits of being the place where one enterprising family wants to live and work.
I’m referring to Deborah and Cam Fitch and their son Jonah Landy, the family behind several new business ventures in Grand Lake that are sure to enrich the experiences of visitors and locals alike while helping the local economy.
Deborah and Cam were early clients of mine in my work with the Grand Enterprise Initiative. They epitomize one of our goals, which is to help people understand what it takes to succeed while working in a place where they want to live and play. They were exploring Grand County and Grand Lake three years ago with me and even before that.
They’ve been busy since then.
The family opened the gourmet hamburger venue, Squeaky B’s, on the boardwalk in Grand Lake last summer and are coming up on their one year anniversary. The farm-to-table restaurant boasts local grass-fed beef supplied by their own ranch as well as other fresh ingredients sourced locally when seasonally possible. It opened to rave reviews. Lead Chef Ryan Diemer, from Grand Lake and head bartender, Jack Nowlan, a recent CSU Hospitality School grad, work together to create the best possible experience for their guests with high-quality food and high-quality service. Deb says: “We bet on our people. Our team is our family. We are very lucky to have the most wonderful and talented group we could ever hope for!”
They have more plans for this upcoming year. Recently opening Lulu City, also on the boardwalk in Grand Lake. Lulu City, open year ‘round, serves homemade donuts, coffee and gelato — all made onsite in the location where The Fat Cat Cafe sat last year. (Deborah and her lead chef, Lydia Lepper, spent countless hours training at a specialized ice cream and gelato school and then through additional customized training to adapt to making artisan gelato at altitude.)
But that’s not all. They are also opening Cork on the Water, a tapas-style, comfortable dining experience where quality wines, craft cocktails and artisan small plates will be served. The menu has yet to be revealed, but every table boasts a beautiful view of the lake, located on Lake Avenue at the iconic Western Riviera Motel. Once again, it will offer top quality, locally sourced and fresh ingredients managed by Cullen Johnson, 1st Level Sommelier and executive chef Elias Gorecki who have made Grand Lake their home.
“Cam, Jonah and I are so excited to open to the public, what we consider to be one of the top ten restaurant views in Colorado,” says Deborah Fitch.
And that’s still not all. They are also revitalizing the large Lilliput mini-golf course adjacent to Squeaky B’s patio and Beer Garden. This will be family and dog-friendly and will give families something to do while also enjoying the live music on the patio at Squeaky B’s, rounding out the family’s goal to make Grand Lake a fun place to be with a variety of things to do, eat and drink, all in a fabulous mountain setting.
Deb, Cam and Jonah are making Grand Lake their home while striving to preserve the quaint mountain town feel that they so enjoyed years ago when they first started visiting Grand Lake.
“We really believe that you get out of something what you put into it,” Deb says. “We’ve chosen to live in Grand Lake because of the diverse community. We love the people here and the quality of life is so amazing. And the community has been so welcoming and gracious.”
“I love the personality and charm that still exists in Grand Lake as it did years ago,” she says. “Grand County is filled with a rich history and so many charismatic people that have made it what it is today. And since we decided to make this our home, I want to do what I can to help preserve that.”
They are all serving on local boards and commissions as a way to give back to the community. Deb serves on the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board, the Grand County Planning Commission and the Grand Lake Creative District, while Jonah serves on the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Board.
The effort to form the creative district in Grand Lake with the Grand County Office of Economic Development and DiAnn Butler, as well as the work on the new Rocky Mountain Boat School and the Art Space project, are key to organically growing the economy in Grand County for locals and entrepreneurs, she feels. The amount of talent in Grand County is astounding. Creating an outlet for those looking to showcase their craft is an important component, and to me is so exciting that the Creative District will begin to facilitate the opportunity for these artisans to live and work and make a living doing what they love.
“We are lucky that we have so many people in the family working with us, our other children, Tessa and Drew as well as Cameron’s brother, Dave and his parents, Ralph and Lucy Fitch,” she says. “If you don’t have fun in life, you’re missing out. Life is short. This is fun.”
They are having fun with new enterprises while living in the mountains and also enriching Grand Lake at the same time. It’s a recipe for happiness and success for entrepreneurs and the community.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.
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Kacey Green, a rancher in Moffat County, doesn’t buy her beef at the grocery store.