Grand Junction, Palisade businesses were finalists for investors group award

Two Grand Valley businesses made the finals of an annual competition closely watched by political leaders and investors from around Colorado, but fell short of winning.

Loki USA of Grand Junction and Peach Street Distillers of Palisade were among 14 finalists selected out of 200 Colorado companies vying to win the 2013 Wright Award, presented by Something Independent.

Something Independent presents the Wright Award annually to a Colorado lifestyle company that most embodies the pioneering spirit of the West and is a leader at the intersection of lifestyle and commerce, said Jon Maraschin, executive director of the Business Incubator Center, who helped judge the contest.

“Peach Tree was a huge hit,” Maraschin said. “Everybody loved them,” including Gov. John Hickenlooper, a brewer himself, who took time to chat with the distillery’s representatives.

Maraschin played a role in getting Peach Tree, Loki and around 70 other Western Slope companies into consideration. He said Hickenlooper asked him to continue recruiting Western Slope businesses for the contest.

“If I ever hear of any cool company or any kind of neat innovation (from Steamboat to Durango), I send it (Something Independent’s) way. I tell them, ‘Here’s a company that you need to put on your radar,’” Maraschin said.

The 2013 award and $6,000 prize went to Voormi, a Pagosa Springs startup that produces backcountry gear made in the United States with proprietary wool materials.

Each contender was charged with creating a 90-second video to tell the compelling story of their business to a panel of judges, Maraschin said.

Hickenlooper attended the event to meet with the contenders and kick off the award program.

“Recently I’ve seen a lot of the Colorado spirit in action with flood recovery efforts around the state,” the governor told a crowd of about 1,000 people at University of Denver on Tuesday.

“When you visit the various communities in our great state, you witness people who are helping each other and willing to roll up their sleeves and get things done, and you see the same with our small business community,” he said.

Watch the finalist videos at


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