Colorado is lucky to be home to Loveland, the most perfectly named city ever for Valentine’s Day, as well so many additional places to celebrate “love” throughout our state. Colorado’s majestic beauty, exciting adventure opportunities and plethora of unique shopping and dining options make it the ideal destination for this holiday every year.
Whether you painstakingly make Valentine’s Day plans months in advance or do the mad scramble at the last second to find that perfect romantic dinner spot, that perfect gift or even those perfect fun date night activities, don’t forget to spread the love among our state’s small businesses.
Patronizing Colorado’s small shops and restaurants is a great way to show your appreciation for what small businesses bring to your community. Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day and some facts we absolutely love.
Hopelessly devoted to dinner
Many couples and families make their way to a special meal on Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s over candlelight or something a little more suited for highchairs and high jinx, small businesses can help set the table and the mood. In Colorado, there are more than 11,000 places to eat and drink. Around three-quarters are independently owned and operated, employing more than 119,000 Coloradoans — nearly 10 percent of our entire state’s workforce.
They aren’t hard to find. Even a number of chain restaurants are privately owned by Colorado-based companies. Feed your soul and dine with your devoted at one of our state’s small businesses.
Candies for your crush
Maybe your sweetheart has a sweet tooth. In addition to just enjoying the taste, the properties of chocolate are rumored to be therapeutic and promote good mood. Who wouldn’t want a big old heart-shaped box full of good mood? In our state, there are more than 80 candy companies and sweet suppliers, employing 500 Coloradans. The vast majority of these are small businesses, ready to provide chocolate therapy for you and your valentine.
Some enchanted evening — small business vacay
Valentine’s Day or weekend is a time to drop everything, load up the car and whisk your flame off for an overnight rendezvous. Whether its leaving your worries behind for a Western Slope hot springs resort, a bed-and-breakfast experience in Salida, or maybe just a cozy “staycation” in your local downtown, small businesses have you covered. There are more than 1,300 hotels, motels, motor inns, bed and breakfasts, and other types of overnight lodgings throughout Colorado. And these establishments employ more than 46,000 of our fellow citizens. The majority are independently and privately owned by small business people.
Diamonds for your darling
What Valentine’s Day ideas would be complete without mentioning the tried and true gift of the season — jewelry. Whether its sparkling diamond rings, sapphire earrings, personalized lockets or handcrafted bracelets and charms, Valentine’s Day has long been an occasion to give a special gift of jewelry. Throughout our state, there are numerous small business jewelers, crafters and makers ready to assist you with unique gift ideas. As of 2016, there were more than 300 jewelers across Colorado, employing approximately 1,700 people. Many curios retailers are small businesses too, and are more than happy to help you find the right “bling” for your bestie.
Shaken, stirred, blended or brewed with love
Perhaps you enjoy ending your night with adult libations, toasting to life and love. Colorado has plenty of choices to help clink your glass and wet your whistle. If you fancy a pint of craft brew, there are more than 400 breweries found throughout our state, many owned by entrepreneurs. Or perhaps you fancy a glass of vino. Consider one of Colorado’s more than 40 wineries found throughout the state, many independently owned and operated.
Or perhaps you’d like to keep it close to home and enjoy the comfort of your local bar or tavern. With more than 700 bars, taverns, nightclubs and other drinking establishments throughout the state, these small businesses can help quench your thirst.
It’s all about love. At U.S. Small Business Administration, we love our mission to support the start, growth and expansion of small businesses. They truly are the backbone of our economy. Colorado small businesses would love the chance to meet your every Valentine’s Day need.
This Valentine’s Day, while you are showing some love to your special someone, also show some to Colorado’s small businesses.
Frances Padilla is the director of the Colorado district office for the U.S. Small Business Administration.