Two entrepreneurs passionate about their products open businesses in Summit County
From independently sourced coffee beans to a unique combination of skincare and poetry, two new local business are working to make their mark in Summit County.
Mountain to Mountain Coffee Dispensary
When it comes to coffee, entrepreneur Andrew Iwashko said he’s a “late bloomer.” Yet, within a four-year timespan he chased his passion for it, moved to Summit County and started a business based on high-quality coffee goods.
Mountain to Mountain Coffee opened the week of Nov. 20 in Dillon as a collaboration between Iwashko and co-founder, Jonathan Grove.
The name is inspired by the two mountain ranges that have made Iwashko’s business possible — the Rocky Mountains, and the mountains of Colombia where Mountain to Mountain Coffee sources their beans.
Colombia was also the place Iwashko fell in love with coffee. In 2018, during a business trip with Breck Coffee, where Iwashko used to work, he discovered the world of coffee production.
“I just fell in love with not only how incredible product coffee is — as in what kind of profiles you can create, all the different types of varieties of beans, the history of coffee — but for me, it’s also just as important as what this industry represents,” Iwashko said.
Iwashko said he wants to emphasize the value of Colombian coffee through Mountain to Mountain Coffee.
“After seeing firsthand how much hard work these producers through to create this product, and how vulnerable they can be at times in this industry, Jonathan and myself want to not only create a good coffee, but help build this industry to be resilient for — not only our mountain community, but for the Columbia mountain communities as well,” Iwashko said.
The set up of their shop is unique.
When Iwashko envisioned their process, his inspiration came from marijuana dispensaries.
“We really like the catered experience that you get when you go in and you have that personal touch of your budtender, or — in our case — a bean tender, to help the customer find exactly what they’re looking for, or find something that they’re super excited to try,” Iwashko said.
Iwashko said he noticed there are not many opportunities for folks to learn more about coffee like they do alcohol or marijuana.
“It can be the most incredible product of getting tasting notes anywhere from a guava jam, to plums, grapefruits, oranges,” Iwashko said. “It’s an art and a science.”
He says Mountain to Mountain Coffee doesn’t just sell coffee, they also try to educate. The bean tenders will discuss the process and the flavor as they prepare a customer’s cup.
“What we want to do is not only showcase the coffee, but you know, have people come in and hopefully really take pride in their coffee that they make at home and try to replicate what we do here,” Iwashko said.
Iwashko said their intent is to help folks find their perfect cup.
“This is a safe environment where you can come in and we can talk your ear off and hopefully have all the answers,” Iwashko said.
In the future, after they business has become comfortable with the Colombian coffee production process, Iwashko said they plan to explore different countries.
“We want to take it one step at a time and treat each origin country, each origin mountain, with the respect they deserve,” Iwashko said.
Twelve-ounce bags of coffee can be bought on their website, MTOMCoffee.com, or in store for between $17 and $25 per bag.
Mountain to Mountain Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at 346 Lake Dillon Drive. On Wednesdays at 3 p.m. they host “cupping” events, where folks can blind-taste different kinds of coffee, name the flavors and even score the cup on a scale from zero to 100.
Poet’s Garden Alchemist
Poet’s Garden works to be more than a skincare store.
Along with shelves of organic, high quality, products, it’s also a space where owner and founder Virginia Guarddon uplifts poets from around the world.
A combination poetry store, skincare store and art space, Poet’s Garden Alchemist opened on Nov. 16 in Breckenridge.
“The downstairs of my store is all my products and skincare and all the upstairs is like a mini Barnes and Noble, full of amazing independent poetry — voices that have a ton of talent.,” Guarddon said.
The melding of skincare and literature was inspired by Guarddon’s passion for writing poetry and her philosophy of skincare products — the products should be authentic, organic and full of energy, Guarddon said.
“I wanted to bring an energetic value to the skincare that was not just skin deep,” Guarddon said. “I wanted to show that beauty is not just superficial, but it’s also internally beautiful. By bringing poetry into it, I brought that spiritual side of it.”
Guarddon started off as an esthetician in Spain, over time she learned how to create skin care products. Under the mentorship of a doctor who specialized in skin care and beauty, Guarddon spent time in laboratories studying formulas and ingredients for skin care products that the doctor would eventually sell.
Eventually, Guarddon came to the states where she formulated skincare products for large corporations. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, however, Guarddon was fired in under a month.
“I started thinking — I’ve been formulating skincare for other skincare companies and doctors, and they put their name on it — I’ve been doing all this work of my life for other people,” Guarddon said. “You really can’t depend upon anyone by yourself.”
After that realization, she decided to embark on a journey of her own.
Now, Guarddon brainstorms recipes on her own. After her brainstorming session, she ships her ideas out to a laboratory where her recipes are screened and formulated.
“I wanted to create beauty that was really great quality, that gave incredible results, just like I was creating for (others), but at a better price for all women to be able to feel beautiful without losing a kidney,” Guarddon joked.
Guarddon said her products range from $20 to $70. Guarddon spotlighted her tinted and regular SPF sunscreen priced at $35, that is made with all edible ingredients and is also reef-safe. Her Drench Day Cream, at $49, is a lightweight moisturizer made from aloe vera Guarddon said works for all skin types.
Poets Garden Alchemist is located at 302 South Main St., Unit C, and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and also Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and is closed on Mondays.
More information and products can be found at PoetsGardenAlchemist.com.
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