By Shari Phiel
It was with great sadness that, late last week, I learned a Berthoud institution in the business community was closing its doors. Ann Materasso announced she would be closing the Nightwinds retail tack shop after 27 years in business.
“The current economy and the growth of the online internet business has forced us to reevaluate our business model,” said Materasso.
Although she will be closing the store’s brick-and-mortar location, Materasso won’t be leaving the equine industry completely. Rather than having her customers come to her, she will now go to her customers. Materasso will continue to operate an online business and will also serve her customers through a mobile business, which will travel to various equine shows throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Oddly enough, it was in fact the Nightwinds tack shop that first brought me to Berthoud. Years ago, before too many injuries to count, I was an avid horseback rider. After riding in a Western saddle for most of my life, I decided try an Australian saddle instead. At the time, only a handful of tack shops along the Front Range carried Aussie saddles and Nightwinds was one of them.
In all honesty, at the time I had lived in Colorado for only a couple of years and had never heard of Berthoud. When someone first suggested I come here, I thought it was somewhere near Berthoud Pass. Of course, I thought the same thing about Loveland, too.
What I found was a sweet, charming little town with great specialty stores, lovely people and a wonderful tack shop. Over the years, I would continue to come to Berthoud to shop at Nightwinds, pick up a great deal at Dean’s Furniture, or grab some sweets at the candy shop.
The years went by and eventually I sold my horse and no longer needed to come to Nightwinds, except on sparse occasions when looking for a gift for a fellow horse enthusiast. But when the Highway 287 bypass came along, my visits to Berthoud became nearly non-existent.
When I started writing for the Recorder, and coming into Berthoud several times each week, I was surprised to find how little the Town had changed. Ask around and you will likely find people who think that’s a good thing as well as those who don’t.
Thankfully, groups like the Berthoud Economic Resource Team and the Berthoud Economic Advisory Committee are working hard to ensure Berthoud’s economic future. Both groups are looking at ways to bring new businesses, employers and homes to the area, along with working with Town officials and valuable outside resources like the Northern Colorado Economic Development Council.
But it will take more than just their hard work alone to guarantee Berthoud’s future. It will take the commitment and involvement of Berthoud’s residents and employee as well. And next week will present an opportunity for everyone to get involved in Berthoud’s future.
From Monday, Dec. 8 through Wednesday, Dec. 9, Berthoud will be hosting visitors from the Colorado Main Street Resource Team. The visit is being sponsored by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs along with the Berthoud Main Street Program and is aimed at reviewing the local Main Street program but will also meet with local business owners and residents. As part of their visit, the team will hold focus group meetings, group discussions and a presentation on Wednesday evening at Town Hall to review their findings.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Main Street Program or Berthoud’s economic development are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Eric Boyd, Main Street program manager, at (970) 532-5199.
Schedule of Events:
Monday, Dec. 8
- Focus Group: Economic Restructuring at 1:30 p.m., at Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC)
- Focus Group: Promotions at 2:30 p.m., at BACC
Tuesday, Dec. 9
- Lunch with Berthoud Economic Resource Team at noon, at Lighthouse Café (buy your own lunch)
- Group Discussion: Branding and Marketing at 1:30 p.m., at BACC
- Group Discussion: Way-Finding Signage and Creative ideas for roundabout at 3 p.m., at BACC
Wednesday, Dec. 10
- Presentation: Resource Team Findings at 6:30 p.m., Town Hall