Opinion | Linda Harmon: Live your dream
This column is called “Positive Progressive Thinking” and I’m here to report, it is alive and well in Summit County. Despite COVID-19, we have a few determined young residents who decided they had a dream to build a business. They pushed through the obstacles of being women, never having created a business on their own, not having the financial resources to get the concept off the ground and even a pandemic. Their enterprises are not only highly successful realities, they are shining examples of positive progressive thinking.
I first met Lynne Parrish Baer in 2014 when she was working as a waitress at Bagalis in Frisco. We connected because she was the daughter of a land developer and I had been one in my past life. Baer was very passionate about her dream to build a hostel from shipping containers. At that time, she had hoped to build her hostel in Dillion, but the Dillion City Council did not approve the development.
Over time, I would run into Lynne working at various restaurants, her dream was very much alive. She met Rob Baer and even before they were married Baer joined Parrish in pursuing their vision to make The Pad a reality. They broke ground in 2019 and opened the doors in November 2021. The lack of foresight on the Dillion town government would end up being a blessing for Silverthorne years later.
“Ultimately, Dillon City Council turning me down was fortunate. I didn’t know Rob then and this site in Silverthorne by the river is so much better,” said Parrish. While the two still had many hurtles to overcome to find funding, in the end Parrish’s dream has given Silverthorne and Summit County one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse gathering spots in the Colorado mountains.
Like Baer, two other young women, Erin O’Brien and Allison Buffum, had a dream. Regardless of the challenges of never having owned a business and opening their restaurant during COVID, they were unstoppable making their dream a reality. Their visionary commitment resulted in one of Summit County most successful new establishments, Saved By the Wine. O’Brien and Buffum weren’t going to let negative thinking stop them.
“We had a meeting with a couple of investors who basically told us our idea was immature and when it comes to getting a small business loan you have to be in business for a year so that was also out of the question,” explained Buffum.
O’Brien and Buffum met when they worked together as ski instructors at Keystone. Both worked at various restaurants throughout Summit County and Buffum had a background in culinary arts baking pastries. In 2018 they put their heads together to design a plan for a restaurant that would be unique to Summit County.
“I have a passion for food and Erin is a wine connoisseur but we both love wine, so we knew we wanted it to be centered around wine,” said Buffum.
The two thought they would go with a space on Main Street Frisco by Highside Brewing but when they realized the space was too big, they began looking around the county. “Erin found a spot in one of the old outlet buildings. She said it’s a lot smaller and it’s not exactly what we were thinking but I think it could be really good,” said Buffum.
Buffum immediately knew this was the place, they opened in August 2020, after amid the pandemic. Buffum explained, “we opened with a very small menu and just a few drink menu items. Then COVID shutdowns in November 2020 resulted in having to close temporarily.” But despite all the huddles in 2021 they were voted “Best New Business” in the Best of Summit awards.
Regardless of impediments, these dreamers knew, they could bring their visions to reality. O’Brien, Buffman and the Baers also wanted to be examples of Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” The Pad gives portions of bar sales to charity and Saved By The Wine gives 2.5% to animals.
These entrepreneurs are living their dream, giving back, making our county a better place to live and not letting negative thinking be a roadblock to success.
Linda Harmon's column "Positive Progressive Thinking" publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Harmon is a former broadcast and print journalist who has been involved in Democratic Party politics since she was 18. She lives in Silverthorne. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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