(not) Shaken Not Stirred 1

Seven business leaders from our “Notable Men” series share their recipes for success




What’s the perfect recipe… for success, a happy home life, market leadership, or continuous innovation?

We asked seven prominent businessmen in our community, and they shared their personal recipes for success in business and in life.  
Two parts passion, 1 part patience, a muddle here, a garnish there…


Len Vlahos

The Tattered Cover

What’s your recipe for succeeding in the changing marketplace?

While there have been many changes in the book industry – the development of e-books, the rise of e-commerce, different distribution models, much more competition – the recipe for success is the same as it has always been: Identify what our customer wants, and provide it better than anyone else can. In our case that means creating a warm, inviting environment; a robust calendar of interesting events; a large and well curated selection of books and book-related items; and the best staff…anywhere. We hope we’re succeeding on all fronts, but we’ll leave it to our customers to let us know.


Nate Mueller

Co-owner, Front Range Windows

What’s your recipe for maintaining work/family balance?

I wouldn’t be anywhere near I where I am without my wife Lacee to help me with both business and the family. In addition to owning our shades/shutters/interiors company together, I’m a professional firefighter and she home-schools our two children. So we’re both really busy, but by working closely with her and listening to her, it all works.


Brian Dickman

Deep Space Center | Parker Creative District

What’s your recipe for staying visionary and 
getting others excited about your vision?

“When I dream of new ideas, I only consider the possibilities, and I ignore the constraints. I free my mind to make the world whatever I dream.

I stay motivated from within, taking inspiration from others, but not judging myself against others. I know what I love and I do what I love. This always seems to attract the right people first. I feed off of the energy and support to keep pushing until the rest feel like they’re missing out.

When executing a vision, I look for ways to be collaborative and help others. Success is a non-zero sum game. I believe that I can win while helping others win at the same time.”


Doug Flin

Seven Stones Cemetery

What’s your recipe for staying visionary and thinking outside the box?

“With an industry steeped in tradition, it doesn’t take much to step outside the box…the challenge is creating meaningful connections and environments that allow families to transition their way through the loss and grief of a loved one in their own special way.

Having a background in landscape architecture and design, having had the opportunity to work with hundreds of cemeteries throughout the country, and having walked in the shoes of loss and grief, my recipe consists of a little Colorado bourbon (on the rocks) and a simmering cast iron pot of:

· Creative people – you must surround yourself with talent

· Other industries – look outside your core to see how others create uplifting experiences

· Customer experiences – listen, observe and always put yourself in their shoes to find what’s meaningful to them. They touch every aspect of your business.

· Status quo – never be satisfied and always test new ideas

· Patience – never give up

· Core beliefs – stay true to what got you where you are and never forget about the needs and demands of the ever-changing customer

· Past flavor (from the cast iron pot) – savor the organic creativity which was more prevalent in this industry 100 plus years ago.”


Brent Walker

Parker Garage

What’s your recipe for standing out 
in a crowded marketplace?

My commitment to our guests’ full dining experience is something we never compromise on. Our attention to the fine details and pursuit of quality ingredients, coupled with a constant desire to forage for new and unique products to expose our guests to, is a huge part of what I do. I love developing authentic relationships with our guests and the trust they put in us to help create lasting memories for them.


Dave Budniakiewicz

Minturn Anglers

What’s your recipe for maintaining 
long-term success?

“Minturn Anglers would not be the fly shop and outfitter it is without the goal-oriented staff we have working for us in the shop and on the water. Our staff truly loves to help people catch fish! There seem to be more and more fly shops and guide services popping up in Denver and the Vail Valley every year. We all sell the same darned stuff, so the best way we’ve found to maintain our strong brand and reputation is to offer the best service in Colorado – whether in shop or on the water. We work our tails off to show our loyal customer base an incredible fishing experience, whether that’s with our guides or on a DIY excursion. We’re blessed to make a living going fishing, and we never take it for granted that we live in a state that cares so much about its natural resources. It may be “just fishing,” but by making sure every in-shop and on-water encounter is a life-long memory for our customers, we’re sure you’ll keep seeing those Minturn Anglers stickers plastered all over Colorado!”


Todd Jilbert

Golden Toad Sauces & Seasonings

 What’s your recipe for standing 
apart from the crowd?

“Standing out isn’t always easy. We offer hand-crafted, single batch sauces and seasonings made from the freshest local, all natural, gluten-free ingredients. But so do many of the companies on the shelf next to us. So how do we stand out? I hear the word passion kicked around a lot, and while I think it’s overused, I DO believe in the power of doing something you love. Do it with integrity and honesty. Be honest with yourself, your products and your services. Surround yourself with a team that does the same. And listen, listen, listen to both your team and your customers! Offer them both something fresh, new and exciting on a regular basis. A consistent focus on honesty, integrity, listening and innovation will help build your reputation and brand recognition in a crowded market. ‘You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.’ – Henry Ford. Get out there and do it, and have fun while you do it!”