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Garden of the Gods Catering

“Homemade cooking without the mess” is how David Platzer, Executive Chef for Garden of the Gods Catering and the Westside Market describes the flavor of the food. Nestled off of Hwy 24 as the former Garden of the Gods Market and Café – Garden of the Gods Catering and the Westside Market is already making a name for themselves with locals and travelers alike.

“Sit with your kids, do the homework, you don’t have to slave the entire day and end up buying food with no nutritional value in the drive-thru. That’s why we are here.”

Don’t confuse Garden of the Gods Catering with other entities in town with “Garden of the Gods” in their name. Garden of the Gods Catering is not new the Colorado Springs scene and has been a staple for culinary excellence for decades.

Their website boasts –

“Our award winning dishes will provide you with a personalized culinary experience you won’t find anywhere else. From high end weddings to low key baby showers to executive business luncheons – we’ll help you create memories that are as unique and unforgettable as our food. For both executive and social events, we proudly feature some of the most creative and award-winning culinary talent in our region. Believing that delicious food must also be beautifully displayed, our attention to detail presentation is paramount.”

Their catering options are endless – from all inclusive custom menus, to one-off picnics and even bagged lunches for company retreats. Garden of the Gods Catering does an exceptional job curating the perfect meal for all groups and individuals.

Most recently they branded the “The Westside Market” which provides grab and go items that rotate frequently. Soups, breads, pickles, salads, an array of juices and beverages – there is a niche and item for anyone.

“Fresh food prepared for you, take it home and put it in the over – and there, you have a homemade meal in the oven,” says Christina Schell , the sales manager for Garden of the Gods Catering.

And that’s exactly what they do and will continue to do.

Website: godscateringandevents.com
Social: @gardenofthegodscatering

Meet the Photographer

LaRel Herbert

Website: https://lveherbert.wixsite.com/larell
Social: @larellh

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Stellina Pizza

Located in the Shooks Run part of downtown, Stellina Pizza serves Roman-style pies known for their hand-stretched, rectangular shape and flavorful dough. Utilizing many of the same fixtures found in during their construction, it has a feel of both nuanced old and brilliant new.

Sarah Mishler is the Chief Strategy Officer at Blue Star Restaurant Group which includes Stellina Pizza remakrs, “This building was bought by the owners a couple years ago before we envisioned a project to the space. It’s been a commercial space since 1902 and a neighborhood gem. We knew we needed to do something special with the space.”

In the midst of construction January of 2020, they were on track to open in April. Not imagining or building a business for take-out and delivery, Stellina had to rethink how to set up our operations. Their ongoing question – How can we keep people safe and healthy when we expected mostly dine in?

They pushed opening to mid May 2020 for just take out as they have a large beautiful window allowing for safe take out. Listening to their team members and desiring safety for the community, Stellina took a very cautious approach to reopening. Just now opening for dine-in, and it really helped staff and patrons feel comfortable with the varied transitions.

The menu is clean and simple ingredients. You can find menu items like warm caprese, burrata, rocket salad (arugula, gorgonzola, sliced zucchini, pine nuts in a lemon vinaigrette) as starters plus pasta like pesto spaghetti and polpetta & mozzarella. The real star of the show are their gorgeous pizzas with items like their Classic or Rosa or more intricate like their Dar Poeta – mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano aged 24 months, artisanal spicy Italian sausage, sliced zucchini.

Sarah also comments on the beauty of the historical space. “There are so many treasures in this space. There is so much rich history and we want to maintain this as a beautiful spot for our customers.” Blue Star Restaurant Group took the year of the pivot to spend time to hibernate some restaurants and defines their hospitality as ‘radical hospitality.’ They desire their teams to own the space and guests to enjoy their experience.

Website: stellinapizza.com
Social: @stellinapizza


Meet the Photographer

Lauren Wallace

Lauren spent most of her adult life traveling around the globe before making Colorado Springs her home. She is passionate about people, photography, adventure and her faith. She also enjoys lists, strong coffee, good cocktails, exploring new places, and getting to share those experiences with both old and new friends.

She has always loved supporting local and investing in my local community. She never envisioned herself owning my own small business! She took a business course with the SBDC and was able to get her photo business up and running. And now she’s living that small business dream!

Website: https://photobylaurenwallace.com
Social: @photobylaurenwallace & @coslocaladventures

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Nina Lee and her husband Rollie Ortiz have been business partners at the beloved 503W in Old Colorado City for seven years. Nina worked events and part time shifts in the restaurant industry since college and after Raleigh received his master’s degree in Hawaii, they decided to plant roots in their native of Colorado. Nina’s mother was working at the bar/restaurant that she owned currently and conveyed to Nina she was ready to move out of the space. She sold the place to Nina and Raleigh and Nina remarks, “We wanted to curate a space with both our experiences. That’s where 503W came to be. An Asian fusion concept with great beers and cocktails. We wanted to create a business plan that incorporated supporting the local economy.” 

When the COVID pandemic hit, Nina knew that they would need to work hard to pivot to support their business but even more so, their staff. 503W curated to-go cocktails and their delicious food on delivery and to-go platforms. Their customers boast of the incredible hospitality with staff members often writing to-go order names in big, beautiful lettering with kind notes. 

Their menu boasts of delicious items often with a cult following like the Fire Cracker Nachos, Goat Cheese Shrimp Cakes and Korean Tacos. One of their top selling items is their Little Seoul Bowl – Jasmine Rice + Kimchi + Pickled Cucumber + Wakame Sea Salad + Spun Carrots + Bean Sprouts + Cilantro + Green Onion + Sunny Side Egg + Black And Toasted Sesame Seeds. There is something for everyone at 503W.

When COVID hit, it was a tight pinch but Nina was determined to take care of her staff. 

“We took out two PPPs to help pay our staff. We made sure we took care of our staff to acknowledge the hard work they do and the trouble times they were going through. We were constantly on-the-fly thinking. We had to think from a budgetary stand point. We had to tighten things and also increase our marketing capacity to mee the need of the every changing requirements.”

She remarks about owning a small business too.

“You know, it’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, mixed in with a profuse amount of swearing and juggling many things at once while smiling. It’s pure madness and yet one of the most rewarding experiences.”

Currently, their restaurant and bar are open to following El Paso County Public Health requirements and are still offering curbside pick-up and delivery (GrubHub). They are eager to help keep their staff and our community healthy and do their part to get back to the new normal. 

Website: www.503w.com
Social: @503w


Meet the Photographer

Peyton Elise

Peyton has such a passion for small business’s because they are the heart of the city, they make art and talents come to life, and create family in small spaces. She loves walking downtown knowing the high odds that she will run into five people she knows, it creates a safe space and a longing to connect. There’s nothing like knowing the impact a dollar can make in supporting a local business, the impact is like a domino effect within the city. “Small business’s do that,” she said, “they spread life around the town.”

Social: @peyyyyyyy

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Atrevida Beer Company

Jessica Fierro and Richard Fierro are the kindest of high school sweethearts who own Atrevida Beer Company in central Colorado Springs – a Latina and woman owned business opened since January 2018.

Atrevida is a word in Spanish that means a woman that is bold and fearless. January 2018. Prior to owning and brewing at Atrevida, Jessica was a homebrewer and the winner of the national homebrew competition called BEERLAND which aired on VICELAND (the channel) season one.

She remarks – “I actually hated beer. I was a wine and tequila drinker. I learned how to drink beer out in Germany with my husband as he was in the military on a tour. Out there it was cheaper to drink beer than wine or water! We attended a military event during this time at a brewery and they gave us a tour and showed us how to brew beer. I was naïve – I had no idea what it all entailed. I was enthralled with the process and thought I could totally do this!”

When they came back stateside, they knew that beer would be in their future. 

Their beers are full of flavor often pulling from their Latina roots as well as their own customer’s stories. They emphasize their love of diversity in their space. 

They didn’t receive the first round of PPP and survived the first 5 months of the pandemic without it without laying off any employees. Their ‘pivot’ was to partner with another brewer that could help them bottle their beers (for the first time!) as the entire industry needed support. 

“All of our customers made a conscience effort to buy a 6 pack of beer, often giving a lot more because they wanted to see our business stay open. We are here because of the Colorado Springs community.”

Their strategy has always been to work with local government, their landlord, other businesses while listening to the needs of their customers during the pandemic.

Since opening Atrevida Beer Co. Jess has hosted the very FIRST Pink Boots Society International Women’s Collaboration Brew day (March 8th, 2018) in Colorado Springs. She has also started the very FIRST Chapter for Pink Boots Society – Colorado Springs! She has given endless hours and donated a lot of beer sales to charitable events such as Tessa, Beer for Justice, Healing pets foundation, UCCS Sustainability Program, to name a few but believe me the list goes on!

“I never stopped wanting to give back. When we give, we give with zero expectation. We saw our customers give back to us – and we are so humbled.”

Website: atrevidabeerco.com

Social: @atrevidabeerco

Meet the Photographer

Allison Moix

Stellar Propeller Photography

Allison Moix of Stellar Propeller Photography started her business in 2008. As a commercial photographer, she typically focuses on local businesses here in the Springs as well as works with national brands like Southwest Airlines, Panasonic and Chili’s to name a few. With photography typically dominated by men, Moix make it a point to work that much harder to prove her competence… which she has in drones.

“I make it a point, whether I’m shooting an awards event or a plate of delicious food or an ad campaign, to always keep in mind that I’m your photographer but I’m also your marketing agent. I want to photograph in a way that shows off who you are and what you do well, so that people respond positively.
Everyone and everything has a story, and I enjoy telling those stories in a way only photographs can do.”

Website: stellarpropellerstudio.com
Social: @stellarpropellerstudio

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Local Honey

Hailey Sardi and Cara McQueney met each other a few years ago at CSU. Just acquaintances at the time, they later met up after graduation and discussed their desire to do something new. Neither of them entrepreneurs but both dreamed of opening a store.

The Local Honey retail boutique specializing in women’s fashion was born. A play off of the nutritious benefits that honey has for individuals, Sardi and McQueney wanted to be that dose of goodness for their customer’s too. 

Sardi remarks – “We wanted a brick and mortar but it’s expensive and hard to find space. So we started as an online boutique – an e-commerce site if you will. We then were able to utilize the Downtown Partnership’s Holiday Pop Up program which allowed us to get into a brick and mortar temporarily (for two months) but then we ended up staying!”

Their clothes are capsule and wardrobe staple type pieces with small batches of inventory. They carry the perfect clothes for the inevitable need to layer here in Colorado with hats, candles, shoes, jewelry along with their clothes. 

McQueney emphasizes – “The community needs fresh vision and perspective. It’s been neat to be bring that as we have a huge heart for women and anything that lights them on fire. That’s the heart of Local Honey. Fashion matters, but women feeling confident and empowered is even more important.”

When COVID hit, they turned to their ecommerce site once again to sell as small businesses shut down. They also got into the Tiktok game because they wanted to engage with their followers and customers. Silly dances, try-ons, work outs, virtual happy hours and anything to entertain the women who were stuck at home.

Their love of community is so prevalent in their narrative and there is so much more to come for these two start-up women entrepreneurs. 

Website: thelocalhoneyco.com

Social: @thelocalhoney


Meet the Photographer

Karen Mitchell

Elan Photographie Studio

After spending time in New York working for some of the best photographers in the country learning from the experts, she settled in Black Forest to begin her family. She specializes in portraiture work for clients on a relational level as well as commercial advertising work for locally owned companies as well as more established brands.

“When I’m not taking photos, I’m likely welcoming people to our home to share food, stories and life. I thrive when I’m surrounded by the ones I love- while hosting friends new and old, and in the midst of exploring and adventuring all of that I can around me. I travel all over the map to photograph clients. I want to meet you wherever you are both for the celebration and for the documentation. Please dig through the site and if you love what you see, I’d love to hear from you. I cannot wait to get to know you and document your story.”

Website: http://elanphotographiestudio.com
Social: @elanphotographiestudio

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