O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
November 2021

Columnist — Joyce Trent

DENVER — K.C. Christian saw a niche in the convenience store industry that hadn't been filled and he set out to do something about it.

Its A Bodega has been a roaring success since it opened in 2019 to sell international snacks. It started as an online business with local pickup, then graduated to a small physical store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. But Christian plans to expand even further.

His motto is "Bring the World to Denver." And his product line reflects that. He offers such diverse items as No Shell Skittles from London to pink lemonade white chocolate Hershey bars from Brazil to white peach Fanta from Japan.

While the pandemic slowed him down some he is now back up and thriving.

It was a long journey for Texas-reared Christian whose visit to Colorado spurred him to move here six years ago. At first he worked for others: managing a shoe store and toiling for a cereal company.

Colorado flag

He often visited family in New York where he saw the popularity of bodegas so he decided to try selling snacks to the local populace. He relied on friends in the military to scout out convenience stores and other food outlets in foreign countries for unique products and mail some to him to sample. When he found what he liked he started ordering direct, cutting out the middle man so he could make more profit.

When he could travel to London he picked up some ideas there, such as Oreo Tiramisu, which has become a favorite among customers.

His hours are geared to help the after-work trade, not closing until 7 p.m. and open on Sunday afternoons.

DENVER — Kum & Go has partnered with the Colorado Energy Office to add DC fast-charging stations for electric vehicles.

Working with ChargePoint, Kum & Go has already completed installation at nine locations in the U. S., with five more slated for opening by the end of this year. The latest in Colorado was installed in Wellington.

"Kum & Go has been a great early partner in our EV Corridors charging infrastructure efforts," said Matt Mines, program manager for the Colorado Energy Office.

For its part, Kum & Go said the company is "committed to leading with sustainable options designed to meet the dynamic needs of our customers."

DENVER — One man managed to steal $410,000 worth of diesel fuel from Kum & Go in an elaborate scheme covering the entire state of Colorado, authorities said.

They believe Jose Romero-Brizuela heisted 100,000 gallons of diesel using stolen credit cards and a large fuel tank in the bed of a pickup truck. When the man was arrested in Colorado Springs, he allegedly was carrying 750 gallons of diesel, enough to drive from Colorado Springs to Waco, Texas and back one hundred times.

The thefts were first noticed in Denver and quickly spread around the state.

To transport the total amount of fuel stolen would require twenty eighteen-wheelers, authorities said. They are looking for the buyer or buyers.

The 24-year-old suspect was caught when a Kum & Go manager alerted authorities of a theft occurring at his station. The suspect was being held in jail in lieu of posting a $10,000 bond.

COLORADO SPRINGS — It seems dangerous, but apparently thieves will take any kind of risk to steal money from an ATM.

It is becoming a trend for criminals in Colorado to steal a vehicle and use it to plow into a convenience store to get at the device.

The most recent case occurred in Avondale where cameras captured a red Jeep ramming a Loaf 'N Jug. Three guys jumped out, loaded the ATM into the vehicle and took off. The Jeep was found abandoned in Fremont County with part of the ATM. The other part was dumped in Pueblo County.

In Colorado Springs thieves were foiled when they drove through the doors of a Loaf 'N Jug. The driver knocked over the machine but he failed to get any money out of it.

There have been two other incidents in recent days. Police don't know if the same people are perpetrating the crimes; however a red Jeep was used twice.

DENVER — Two convenience stores are slated to open in Colorado as part of QuikTrip's "Generation 3S" program.

One is in Denver and the other in Firestone. Both will contain the company's standard 4,900 square feet.

But the cities of Mead and Evans hope to get the larger travel centers with more than 7,000 square feet. Other locations in various stages of planning are in Aurora, Westminster, Lakewood and Parker.

LONGMONT — When the Castle family decided to sell their father's old abandoned gas station and looked through it, it was like opening a time capsule. Ralph Castle's Place contained rare items that had rested there for decades.

So rather than discarding them they put them up for auction.

They turned to O. J. Pratt, who not only knew their father, but owned an auction house. As Pratt and cataloger Cass Miller sifted carefully through the dusty stuff left behind people who had patronized the business in its heyday started stopping by, sharing memories.

It was the cheapest place in town to buy gasoline, get a car repair and enjoy a soda, they said.

"He never wanted to raise the price of anything," recalled his son Roger. And his dad made sure he had a joke or two on hand to entertain the customers. Roger, now a Denver lawyer, worked at the station starting when he was 12 and continuing into his early 20s.

Ralph Castle died at 92 in 1998. He bought the station in 1950 and maintained it as an independent enterprise. He did all the work himself, except for window washing, changing tires and a few other chores allocated to Roger. He also sang in a barbershop quartet, a memento of which — a red and white striped barbershop chorus pole — was among the items for sale. Castle sold tickets to the performances out of his house next door.

There were old 1930s and 1940s posters too, advertising oil and gasoline, remnants of his past gas station operations elsewhere. The Longmont station once had a tall Standard Oil sign standing beside the building but Castle took it down because people kept crashing into it, his son recalled.

Also in the array of collectables was an old McCaskey cash register containing the names of people and business owners who had charge accounts there. On the shelves were boxes of unsold Atlas and Tung-Sol headlamps, even a gasket for a Mercury car. Buyers could also pick up vintage clothing and shoes and giant dominoes. Hanging on the wall was a cigarette dispenser and candy machine.

DENVER — Conoco knows how much Coloradans love their Broncos.

The company is offering free coffee the day after each game through the final game of the season. Better yet, no purchase is necessary.

Conoco also has set up a contest where the winner will get to meet Broncos kicker Brandon McManus.

BOULDER — An uninvited passenger accompanied a motorist into a lube shop this summer.

A technician performing an oil change at a Meineke found a marmot nestled between metal wires and tubes. The shop had to call animal control to get it out. Unfortunately the animal had to be euthanized due to injuries incurred during the hundred miles it traveled under cover.

Originally published in the November 2021 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2021 by KAL Publications Inc.

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