High Country brand reflects local entrepreneurial resilience
Grand Enterprise Initiative
“Adversity is something entrepreneurs can count on and plan on in Grand County,” says Holly Wood, part of the ownership team at the High Country-branded suite of businesses located in Granby. “And the team at High Country has learned to adapt.”
Consolidation and inclusive branding while expanding is the way the High Country team of Wood and Steve Watson is adapting. Housing and finding employees continue to be the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in Grand County, combined with the high rents and expensive real estate.
Yet Wood and Watson have taken a bold approach to thrive in this environment. Operating under the High Country brand, they serve the entire county with four melded operations.
Wood and her children moved to Granby in June of 2004 and opened Holly Wood Computer Consulting, which services several businesses in Grand County and the Denver Metro area. After Wood and Watson married in 2013, they opened High County Cellular and Electronics in 2015 in Granby, and in 2017, they expanded and opened their second location in Winter Park.
Both businesses were growing. “We were the last mom-and-pop shop in the entire state of Colorado and the stores were doing amazing and led by an amazing team,” Wood says.
After a few years, Wood and Watson’s dream of adding the appliance and mattress store to their thriving locations came to fruition. In January 2021, they purchased Gambles and the building it’s housed in from Casey and Rhonda Farrell. The store was rebranded to High Country Appliances; it now offers Whirlpool Corporation products with delivery and installation.
“We’re unifying our four business ventures here under the High Country brand, which makes it easy for customers and the community to relate to the missions of our businesses here in Grand County,” Wood says. Watson works at the helm of High Country Appliance.
Wood also continues her computer consulting work in the region.
All of the businesses operate out of two locations on Granby’s main street (U.S. Highway 40 — Agate Avenue) with the newly remodeled facades that are bringing a new look to Granby’s downtown.
At High Country Mattress they sell mattresses and associated bedding accessories. They install and deliver. The High Country Mattress location is just a block away from the High Country Appliance store.
High Country Cellular and Electronics had two locations in Grand County, in Winter Park and Granby. But in 2021, Verizon made a corporate decision to stop allowing several stores throughout the United States to sell Verizon services, and this resulted in the closure of the Verizon store in Winter Park, which operated under the High Country Cellular brand.
Wood and Watson realized this was a great detriment to the community and looked into alternative solutions, including a sale of the cellular store, which was not approved by Verizon. With the closure of the Winter Park store, the two looked to their store manager, Clancy King. They decided to consolidate in Granby at the High Country Appliance location.
“The cell phone store offers a tremendous service to Grand County and we will continue to offer new phones, be able to assist customers and provide the terrific service our customer have grown to expect,” King says.
“Customers can use our in-store financing to finance a phone. Our same great service is there.”
This consolidation of brands with diverse yet merged missions is getting to be a clever way to get business done in Grand County. The High Country ventures reflect this trend in business models being adopted in the county.
“We are very excited about the future of Grand County and continue to strive to improve our services while adapting to all the adversity this changing environment brings,” Wood says. “Several of our staff members have worked for us for many years and we have several new faces. We are here to serve Grand County!”
Facing adversity with catchy branding, consolidated operations and an emphasis on service is a way to survive and thrive in these challenging times for businesses in the county.
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 is also the author of the book “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.
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