Coffee, clothes, and whiskey—three things Coloradans love, and arguably can’t live without. Now, you can drink, shop, and enjoy these staples simultaneously at Bellwether.
Opened in August, this business is a new type of hybrid. Its storefront offers a coffeehouse, whiskey bar, and “working class” clothing shop. Behind-the-scenes, Bellwether is also a members-only entrepreneurial hub, complete with communal workspace, a conference room, reliable wifi, extra seating areas, and an appointment-only barbershop.
Co-owners Athena Brownson, Adam McCarty, Josh Schmitz, and Rustin Coburn originally pinpointed the ultra-hip space on East Colfax as a potential office for companies Schmitz and Coburn were already running—Ruckus Apparel and Unfiltered, a branding and marketing agency.
“We didn’t want to limit the store to be just one thing,” Schmitz says. “We really wanted to build a community.”
As they started to plan the space, Schmitz says the idea of a coffee and whiskey bar popped up, and they couldn’t turn back. Now, visitors can grab a drink while they peruse the apparel wall, currently stocked with an assortment of men’s t-shirts, hats, and messengers bags, as well as a few items for women, including boots and lacy slips.
But it’s Bellwether’s exclusive membership program, which costs $10 per month, that helps the store stand out.
“A lot of coffee shops or retail shops can really just be about revenue. We’re here to help others in our community; to help other entrepreneurs stick out and be able to do the best they can in whatever position they are in in life,” says Rebecca Slaughter, Bellwether’s manager.
Members are allowed access to the separate coworking space in the back of the building—complete with its own members-only entrance—and are invited to attend private networking events organized by Bellwether and hosted in the space. Right now, many of these events focus on certain career paths, but the company plans to host broader member events in the near future.
Non-members and passersby can attend any of the store’s public events, shop brands such as Ruckus (which is only available in the store and online), Grifter, and Roam, and enjoy local coffee—we love Method Roasters’ delicious nitro brew—or sip a Manhattan or other whiskey cocktail.
“The ambience is really unique and fresh,” says Brian Badzmierowski, a first-time Bellwether visitor we met on the day of our visit. “This section of Colfax really needs more places like this. I will definitely be coming back.”
According to Schmitz, the name Bellwether portrays the unique, which is exactly what the space hopes to accomplish. “It’s an old-school sociology term meaning trend-setter or the first adventure out.”
Check it out: Bellwether is located at 5126 E. Colfax Ave. The shop is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 720-398-9251; bellwether.club