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Inspiring Stories from Fort Collins

The heart of our mission at VoyageDenver is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of Denver’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Fort Collins’ rising stars below.

Callie Mitchell

I’m originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I started taking photos when i in high school just with a $20 film camera. I started taking more creative photos after my mom got me a Nikon CoolPix camera around the time I started junior college. It was also in junior college that I took a few entry photography classes as electives and truly fell in love with the hobby. After graduating with an associate’s degree in Social Work I moved to Iowa City, Iowa to attend the University of Iowa with the goal of graduating with a degree in Psychology. When I got to the University of Iowa I used my student loan money to buy myself my first semi-professional canon rebel camera. It was at this time photography became my passion. Soon after starting college I found myself pregnant. Without financial stability, time to care for my baby and no family or significant other to help me I made the difficult decision to place my child for adoption. Around five months pregnant I started going to see a therapist. After learning my passion was in photography she suggested I get a job as a professional photographer at a local newspaper. I applied and got accepted as a photojournalist at The Daily Iowan. It was there that I met my mentor Danny Wilcox-Fraizer. Read more>>

Eugene Villines

I am in the army and started woodworking during covid back in March while everything went to telework. With not being able to do much in the beginning I was able to focus my time off on a new hobby. I completed small projects saving up for a CNC wood machine. I began making wooden flags as it has always been a goal of mine to make one to hang in my house. I donated a few to local police departments and the orders started flowing in. I am continuing to make everything from flags, family signs, to pretty much anything made out of wood. My goal is to continue my woodworking and have it been my full time job when I retire from the military in two years. Read more>>

Katy Patrick Carlson

I am Katy Carlson, the owner of Carlson Custom Handmade Goods – a Macrame shop specializing in home goods and jewelry. I am a proud Colorado Native, and reside in Johnstown with my Husband Russ and two dogs Beluga and Tobias. I’ve always been a creative person, dabbling in a wide variety of art forms. In Grad school I was hired to work in the Anatomy Lab (I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy) and a passion for osteology quickly developed. I found myself obsessed with skulls and skeletons, and soon after started collecting antlers, bones and skulls that I found in nature to compare and study. I find something so beautiful about these structures, and over time started decorating them with paint and feathers to try and highlight the artistry in anatomy that I was experiencing. When the pandemic hit Colorado and quarantine went into effect, my full time canine Physical Therapy business slowed dramatically. Read more>>

Dan Maguire

Owners Dan & Jenn met in 2014 working in the fine dining world at Game Creek Restaurant in Vail, CO. As F&B industry “lifers” the couple quickly connected through their passion for travel, culture and badass food and drink. Over the next few years, Dan would rise to the roll of Executive Chef at Game Creek and Jenn would take on the role of Executive Pastry Chef at the Arrabelle at Vail Square. Both were able to obtain several accolades including Forbes Stars and write-ups in Food & Wine Magazine. Throughout their travels, their hearts seemed to stay in Italy (Dan’s family’s home turf) having eaten their way from the Northern Alps to the Sicilian coast. Throughout their travels in Italy, pizza was always present; giving the duo the opportunity to sample styles from all over the peninsula.  After extended stays in both Napoli and Fierenzi, Dan & Jenn realized there was an opportunity to bring the flavors and culture of Italy back to Colorado. In the spring of 2020, the duo prepared to share these experiences in a brick and mortar restaurant in the Loveland/Fort Collins area….. Lo and behold, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans. Read more>>

Kelli Kroneberger

I’m a creative and an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve been this way since I can remember. The past several years, my work has included photography, retail ownership, business consulting and development, and art/painting. All of these experiences have refined my gifts and talents and ultimately led me to what I’m primarily working on today. Maker Hill is something my husband and I have been talking about for years because of a need we had in our other businesses and also our personal lives. We would finish a client project, and we would always talk about sending them a beautifully curated gift with a custom message. Or we would want to send a gift to friends and family far away, and we never had time to put it all together in the way we wanted. This need became even more evident not only for us but for our clients once COVID happened and we were all quarantined. With my past experience owning a retail shop. Read more>>

Sabrina Hulm

My husband Craig and I met and started dating shortly after I moved to Washington State in July 2013 working at an adorable seaside restaurant Poulsbo. I had lived in Colorado my whole life and at the time was needing to make some life changes and the move proved to be just that, Life Changing. Around January 2016 with a one-year-old in tow we moved back to my Home State (where my heart will always be!) and settled in Larimer County. We both are what we call “Hospitality Lifers”, We love the industry so much and both of us tried different trades and always came back to what we are truly passionate about, Food and People! Those trades we tried would come into play down the line. Fast forward to January 2020, Craig found a sweet little spot for lease inside what would soon be a small Supermarket, it was perfect for a startup! Remember that adorable seaside restaurant we met at? The owner is exactly who we called to pitch the idea to. Read more>>

Laura Schuler

My story in design starts with an occasional shop that a friend and I would source for, style, and host in her backyard every few months. After one of the sales, a realtor called and asked if we staged homes. We looked in each others’ eyes and telepathically decided, yes, we absolutely staged homes. We hustled to find all of the pieces we needed, drove to South Denver to pick up a sofa from Craigslist, and stole things from our own houses to complete that first job. It was a huge learning curve and also a great success. We knew some realtors in our area already so we put the word out and one job led to the next. We quickly moved out of my friend’s shed and into our own set of constantly expanding set of storage units. Once we had a rather convincing portfolio of our ability to style and create rooms that were more than just pretty, they were spaces that invited people into the kind of life that Coloradans are drawn to; we started getting inquiries about design projects. Read more>>

Nick Simonds

Unfortunately, it started off with me losing my job as an Audio Tech of 15 years due to COVID. But because of that, I had the opportunity to cash in all my chips and follow my passion for food. I wanted to adhere to a Fair Style food truck to keep things fun. I mean, we all need some fun in our lives. I played around with a few names, but Steamy Weiners was the one that couldn’t stop people from laughing, so that was that. The smiles on customers faces and the satisfaction their bellies receives is what means the most to me. I couldn’t do this without them. Read more>>

Bernadette Youngquist

I grew up in a family of creative makers and doers. When I was very young, I remember watching my grandmother paint at the kitchen table with watercolors in her limited free time. My mother also had creative learnings and liked to draw and paint. There were other women in my family who were creative too, but it was always a past-time pursuit. I grew up with lots of art supplies at hand but very little direction. It was not until I had children of my own that I started to really pursue creativity because I realized it filled me up and left me feeling energized. I dabbled in photography, drawing, and jewelry making before understanding that what I really loved was paint and the ability to make something from nothing. I found every practical way I could to express myself, from home decorating to surface pattern design, never believing I could actually become a fine artist. As often happens, my life entered a crisis phase where I was literally getting by moment to moment as I dealt with some personal family issues. And then my mom suddenly passed away at the age of 66. Read more>>

Kelsie Schiechl

After living 30 years in the busy suburbs of Lakewood, Colorado, our multi-generational family decided that we’d like to raise our next generation in a slower-paced lifestyle. Surprisingly, all the members of our family were on board when Leslie and Kevin brought the idea up! We searched for the perfect piece of property and settled with 80 acres of prairie in northern Colorado backing the Pawnee National Grasslands. Each daughter (Kelsie, Paige and Kaedi) was gifted 20 acres for their immediate family to live on. Being so close to each other meant that we would have our ‘village’ to help raise our children together and around their grandparents and great-grandma! Once the houses were built and the animals started to arrive, we decided to do something with the big plot of land. Mom always said she couldn’t see herself wrangling steers and we didn’t have the farm equipment to plant a traditional crop, so we decided on giving hemp a try. We knew very little about farming (literally nothing actually) but we felt the medicinal and environmental advantages for hemp outweighed all the negatives- so we went for it. Read more>>

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