Founder Justin Gold won the 2012 Esprit Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Boulder Chamber Esprit Entrepreneur award event at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield on Oct. 16.
Gold founded the company in 2004, making nut butters with a food processor in his home kitchen and selling them at the Boulder Farmers’ Market. He said his roommates would steal the nut butter out of the refrigerator, and he had to label the containers “Justin’s.”
After a while, Gold’s roommates were paying him to buy the nut butters, and the company was expanding its popular snacks into Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) stores across the nation. Justin’s now has expanded the original nut-butter flavors to peanut butter cups and other candy bars.
We also know a little more about University of Colorado Regent Steve Bosley’s relationships with the runner Frank Shorter and CU President Bruce Benson.
Both men congratulated Bosley by video for the Lifetime Achievement award he received for Esprit 2012. Bosley founded the Bolder Boulder 10K running race in 1979, which now sees 50,000 participants annually. Bosley was president and chief executive of The Bank of Boulder from 1974 to 1998.
“You always do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do,” Bosley told the dinner crowd.
Phillip Villella and Chris Petersen, founders of LogRhythm Inc. in Boulder, received the Entrepreneurs of Distinction award. So did Dale Katechis, founder of Oskar Blues Brewery LLC in Longmont, the second largest craft brewer in Colorado. Nathan Siedle, CEO at SparkFun Electronics Inc. in Boulder, also received an Entrepreneur of Distinction award.
Siedle said growing his consumer electronics company has been a “fantastic journey. I never dreamed we would be here, or this big.”
Jeff Bisberg, CEO of Albeo Technologies Inc. in Boulder, and John Spiers, CEO and founder of NexGen Storage Inc. in Louisville, received the Companies to Watch award at the Esprit 2012 event.
For 28 years, the Esprit Entrepreneur event, sponsored by the Boulder Chamber, has been celebrating the success and vitality of the local entrepreneurial community and its leaders. This year, Esprit included a breakfast/lunch series in which entrepreneurs spoke, as well as the Tech Alliance Breakfast, where innovative local products were discussed.