Ms. Summit County: Erin Young
Erin Young has been nominated as Ms. Summit County in the annual Best of Summit awards previously, but 2021 is the year the longtime Summit County business owner is taking home the title.
Young moved to Summit County as a child in the mid-1990s. Her mother was a ski instructor at Copper Mountain Resort, and her father commuted to his job in Denver. After graduating early from Summit High School, Young attended the University of Colorado Denver before returning to Summit County. Soon after she moved back to the area, she opened the business she continues to operate today: Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea.
Young explained that she had traveled in Europe while skiing professionally and fell in love with the coffee shops. She wanted to bring a similar community spot to Silverthorne.
“It’s slowly grown,” Young said. “Being a young business owner, you learn from your mistakes, and you evolve as you go. … I’ve changed as my customers and clientele have changed and adapted. And in some ways, they haven’t. I’ve served some of the same people for 10 years.”
Young has served on various boards in the community. She was elected to the Summit School District Board of Education in 2007, and she served for eight years. Currently, Young is on the Silverthorne Planning Commission and sits on the board of directors for Early Childhood Options. She also judges freeskiing competitions at events like the Dew Tour and X Games.
While Young has a variety of community involvement on her resume, she feels her greatest contribution to Summit County is from her business.
“If I were to describe the cause of my business, it’s to create an inclusive environment over a shared experience,” Young said. “And you could be new to the county, you could be … one of those guys who’s lived here for 50 years, and everyone has a place. Creating a place for everyone, I think, is my biggest contribution.”
Overall, Young feels that the community’s character is what makes Summit County great.
“I think Summit has a great underlying vibration to it regardless of the changes that come and go: the economy, COVID, visitors, etc.,” Young said. “I hope it can always keep that going.”
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