FOCUS ON ACTIVE LIFESTYLE can improve economy as well as health of residents

Posted by DB Wilson on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 2:59pm.

 The Boulder Valley is well known for many things, whether it’s our environmental-friendly people and companies, our highly intelligent and educated work force, the University of Colorado, our scenic countryside or our fairly wealthy population. But none of these individual characteristics alone can define our community to the world. What is the Boulder Brand? Or, better yet, what should it be? Even the city of Boulder is seeking ideas from the public on the Boulder brand in hopes of passing a bond measure in 2012 for a capital project that’s in line with whatever brand idea is chosen. In an effort to make our community more aware of the Boulder Brand ideas being discussed for the city and the Boulder Valley as a whole, RE/MAX of Boulder will feature organizations’ brand proposals in its e-zine over the next several months. We hope these articles are informative and that you feel welcome to provide your feedback to RE/MAX as well as to the organizations and your local government.
This month we talked to John Cody of the Longmont Area Economic Council about the Boulder Valley’s need to educate its own work force.

Boulder’s healthy lifestyle has already earned it recognition as one of the nation’s thinnest and happiest cities in America.


Barry Siff believes that Boulder residents are happy and thin because they are active and healthy, and that’s a foundation the area has and can continue to build its brand on. It can also nurse the economy to a healthier state.


“People who are generally healthy are happy,” he says. “It’s just a great, positive vibe you get in this town, and I believe that’s attributable to the active, healthy lifestyle that’s so prevalent here more than anywhere.”


Co-owner with wife Jodee of the recently resurrected 5430 Sports, Siff is a local entrepreneur and promoter of endurance sports. As co-chair of the local organizing committee of the U.S.A. Pro Cycling Challenge, Siff recently lobbied for bringing a stage of the event to Boulder this summer and will help produce it. His organization is bringing two past and one new running races to the community this year, and he hopes to add other running, bicycling or triathlon events to his company’s repertoire in time.


“My passion and love in life is strictly sports, endurance sports – whether it’s running, cycling or triathlon,” Siff says. “That’s why we’re in Boulder. Boulder’s certainly the mecca for endurance sports and known as such worldwide.”


He says events such as the U.S.A Pro Cycling Challenge introduce Boulder to the world and will draw sports enthusiasts to the area for years to come, not to mention the event itself will boost the economy.


Siff says during 2011, the event’s inaugural year in Colorado, the U.S.A. Pro Cycling Challenge brought in more than $80 million to the state. He estimates between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors will come to Boulder during the race’s one-day trip through the area this August, and they’ll spend several millions of dollars at area businesses.


“It’s a huge economic impact to Boulder,” he says. “When people who are bicycling or sports enthusiasts see the Flatirons and downtown, it will be etched in their minds. When they come to the U.S., they’ll put Boulder on their radar screen. People will come for years to come.


 “It further stamps Boulder as a true home for events like this and should continue to help us land other great events,” Siff adds, noting Boulder will also welcome the U.S.A. Cyclo-cross National Championships in 2014.


Boulder is home if not the training grounds for many international endurance sports competitors, and many businesses have set up shop in the area to cater to them and the multitude of other health-conscious and athletic folks who live or spend time in the area, he says.


Those businesses include outdoor gear and clothing makers such as Panache Cyclewear, Newton Running (shoes) and GoLite (backpacking and camping equipment and apparel); publications such as Velo News and Backpacker magazine; advertising agency Sterling-Rice Group; markets and eateries such as Sunflower Market, Trader Joe’s and Alfalfa’s; and headquarters for nonprofit organizations such as Bikes Belong, the International Mountain Bike Association and the Outdoor Industry Association.


Branding Boulder as the place to host outdoor athletic events will only help sustain and grow those businesses as well as attract more companies and entrepreneurs who serve athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, he says.


“Economically, it helps sustain the city to build on such a positive industry as the active outdoor industry,” bringing in jobs as well as tourists and temporary residents, Siff says.


In a community as landlocked as Boulder that does not want to grow, “it’s fantastic to have people who will come here, spend money, then leave.”


And children are the biggest beneficiary of a community focused on physical activity, because they will follow suit. Siff says he doubts as many children bike to school in other communities as they do in Boulder, and that bodes well for a healthy future for everyone.

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