September 14, 2011

Milestones Icon: Frank Day

Frank Day is more than a Colorado native, he’s a local entrepreneur who has impacted the hospitality and health-care industries, among others.

Born in Denver in 1932, he moved away but returned to Colorado and settled in Boulder in 1973. While he was gone, he began his restaurant career by selling popcorn and snacks at some Chicago department stores.

It was in Boulder that he formed Rock Bottom Restaurants Inc., which is the parent company of Old Chicago, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Walnut Brewery the ChopHouse & Brewery,   and more.

In 1976, three years after opening the Walrus in Boulder, Day opened the country’s first Old Chicago in Boulder. Now the restaurant company operates more than 100 eateries in the United States.

But Day didn’t stop there. He bought the Hotel Boulderado in 1980, bought and revamped the Table Mountain Inn in Golden and formed the Day Family Foundation.

Through a $500,000 donation on behalf of the foundation, he sparked a $1.5 million fundraising campaign for Clinica Family Health Services in June 2008. Day’s wife, Gina, formerly worked with People’s Clinic, which is now part of Clinica Family Health Services.

He also helped found Downtown Boulder Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on promoting downtown Boulder, and served as its first president.

Without Day, many of Boulder’s most famous businesses wouldn’t be around, and he has numerous awards to show for it – such as being a 1988 Pacesetter for Business award recipient, a 2003 Boulder County Business Hall of Fame inductee, and being named an Entrepreneurial Innovator in 2004 by the Boulder Chamber

Frank Day is more than a Colorado native, he’s a local entrepreneur who has impacted the hospitality and health-care industries, among others.

Born in Denver in 1932, he moved away but returned to Colorado and settled in Boulder in 1973. While he was gone, he began his restaurant career by selling popcorn and snacks at some Chicago department stores.

It was in Boulder that he formed Rock Bottom Restaurants Inc., which is the parent company of Old Chicago, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Walnut Brewery the ChopHouse & Brewery,   and more.

In 1976, three years after opening the Walrus in Boulder, Day opened…

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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