Life on the Summit: Frisco A&W known for religious messages to become retail marijuana shop |

Life on the Summit: Frisco A&W known for religious messages to become retail marijuana shop

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily
The A&W on Summit Boulevard in Frisco has sold. The buyers have plans to turn it into a marijuana shop.
Miles. F. Porter/Special to the Daily |

In the new year, the Centennial State is making a big splash globally as it becomes the nation’s first to sell legal recreational pot. The Summit’s stores received plenty of coverage as well.

In another marijuana development, Frisco’s decades-old A&W restaurant will become a first-class marijuana dispensary.

Under the name of 861 Summit Boulevard LLC, Rhett Jordan, 29, of Denver, and Josh Ginsberg, 34, of Boulder, bought the location in November for $1.25 million, county records show.

Both are already experienced in the pot biz — Jordan started Native Roots Apothecary on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. Up here, the name will be Native Roots Summit.

He and Ginsberg have since combined their efforts in a string of partnership outlets.

“Native Roots Summit has applied for a medical marijuana center with the local authority,” confirms Frisco Town Clerk Deborah Wohlmuth. “After the local authority approves (at a staff level), Native Roots Summit may apply for the same license with the state.”

Over the years, the local A&W sparked controversy with its signage, often to the dismay of the fast food chain’s corporate headquarters, and occasionally to that of YELP restaurant review contributors.

Apparently, some folks really liked the root beer floats and fries, but not the religious messages on the sign out front.

A&W franchise owner Donna Drebenstedt operated the restaurant with husband Reuben, a Messianic Jewish pastor.

Back in 2003, A&W corporate talking heads in Kentucky pressured the Drebenstedts to stop mixing floats and religious flotsam on the 30-foot-tall sign.

They complied for a while, but a higher authority won out — until franchise renewal time came.

Bye, bye, A&W, now it’s time for another “high”-er authority.

In a bit of irony, Jordan notes, “My mom and I stopped by the Frisco A&W for floats and burgers and fries numerous times back in my childhood.

“I am really excited to be opening a business in Summit County, where I’ve been skiing and snowboarding at Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain,” he says. “We’ll have a good establishment, become part of the community, bringing the positive aspects of the business.”

Native Roots Summit eventually will join Frisco’s two other marijuana dispensary businesses, Medical Marijuana of the Rockies and the Bioenergetic Healing Center, according to the town clerk.


In a variety of holiday social settings we’ve enjoyed visiting with these folks: Colleen and Mark Richmond, Jack, Darcy and Ashley Lohmann, Jon and Ann Lohmann, Sue Downen, Marie Zdechlik, Tom Connolly, Leonard and June Busse of Broomfield, Dr. Brett and Laura Amedro, Christine Blaski and sons Canyon and Cade Caperton, Daphne Horvath, Dr. Jim Bachman and Amy Nelson, Dr. Gary and Sharon Gaede, Earl and Susan Picard, Ron Fee and Lynn Champagne, Casper Sternbuckle, Skip and Fran Smith, Mike Martin, Diane Wieland and daughters Brynn and McKenna, Joe and Angie Maglicic, Chris Miller, Tom Eble, Brittney Taylor, Tom Hronek, Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson and first lady Joyce Burford, Rick and Judi Amico, Talya Philippe, Rob and Brenda Hughey, Jay and Brenda Herman, Don Cacace, and Larry and Judy Sawyer.


While down at Monarch Ski Area on Monday, Spike! rode up the lift with snowboarder Jessica Haynes of Fairplay’s Valley of the Sun. She is a dental hygienist with Dr. Jeff Erickson at Keystone.

We were skiing with our Monarch EMT/patroller son, Miles F. Porter V, a Salida native. Joining us were Mary’s sister, Judy Staby Hoch of Salida, and her daughter Kirsten Love and granddaughter Toby Ari Lawson, both of Durango.


It is with sadness we note the passings of 82-year-old lawyer/llama lover Jim Dover of Dillon, Butterhorn Bakery owner Cindy Abramowitz, 53, of Frisco, and internationally known engineer Roger Wegner, 85, of Silverthorne.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to

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