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4/24/2003

County Business Hall inducts seven

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — As part of the class of 2003 inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Steve and Margaret Strong were honored not only for building a successful business — Sun Construction and Design — but for the work they do outside the office to help their community.

“I’d like to thank all of our employees, because we all know where we’d be without our employees — nowhere,” Margaret Strong said, adding that she cried when she heard the news of their induction.

Wednesday’s ceremony took place at the Millennium Harvest House hotel, where it began 11 years ago and where there is a permanent display of all of the inductees.

n Dan Ball, co-owner of Nederland’s B&F Mountain Market, helps provide the biggest sales tax boost to the small mountain community, and the business has been instrumental in assisting numerous charities in the Peak-to-Peak region.

From the podium, Ball introduced his brothers and business partners, Billy Joe and Bob, and his nephew, B.J. Jr., who has also joined the business. “I’m very fortunate to be in a family business, and we haven’t killed each other yet,” he said.

n Michael and Mary Colacci started a family tradition of their own when they opened the Blue Parrot restaurant in 1919.

The couple, inducted posthumously, immigrated from Italy and met in Louisville, marrying in 1916.

Eighty-four years and five generations later, not only is the Blue Parrot still around, but several other businesses have been launched by the couple’s descendants, including the Colacci’s in Longmont, which was started by Michael and Mary’s son, Anthony, and is now owned by their granddaughter, Sally.

Introducing the family, Gene Caranci of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce asked the Colaccis in the audience to stand, and more than a dozen people did so, ranging in age from octogenarian to infant.

n Frank Day, the founder of Concepts Restaurants and Rock Bottom Restaurants, started with a hot dog stand in Chicago in 1960.

The Harvard Business School graduate has since built a restaurant empire, starting with the first Old Chicago he opened in Boulder in 1976 and growing into two companies, Concepts Restaurants and Rock Bottom Restaurants, which own multiple restaurants in several states and the Hotel Boulderado.

Last year, Rock Bottom Restaurants was named by the National Restaurant Association as the most civic-minded chain in the country.

“This whole business to me has been a hoot,” Day told the crowd of about 220. “It’s been fun.”

n Steve Demos, founder of White Wave Inc., started his small tofu company 26 years ago and has built it into the biggest soy foods company in the country. Silk, the company’s soy milk, is in 10 million homes.

White Wave recently was sold to Dean Foods for $189 million, and Demos shared some $6 million of that with the company’s 130 employees.

“Where else (but Boulder) can you walk into town, borrow $500, make the most hated food in America, and they induct you into a hall of fame?” Demos said.

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.