Trail Blazing (con’t from part 1)
When Dani Grant and her husband Matt started their life in Fort Collins together the dynamic duo made a conscious decision to own and operate a small business. Matt had the opportunity to secure a high-paying, corporate position that required extensive travel but the couple valued community and quality of life.
“We wanted to find a business that we could hear laughter and be surrounded by fun and we could make a profit and we can could open up something to the community.”
Dani's happy face!
They purchased Chippers Lanes in 2003, and have been realizing their dream ever since. In addition to providing a bowling alley, you can also find live music and sand volleyball at Chippers. The business has done well and they recently expanded to Greeley. However, Dani continues to weave together new dreams of music, community and honoring her father’s legacy.
There will always be obstacles to overcome in life, Dani’s a realist like that, and she generally doesn’t let it hold her back. But when her father was terminally ill, and she was trying to care for him while organizing the SXSW Fort Collins Showcase she found herself rather distraught.
In the winter of 2009, Dani returned to the north east to help her Dad while he sought medical treatment. One time when they were driving a few hours to see a specialist, Dani was in the back seat coordinating the Fort Collins SXSW Showcase.
Dani with her Sister and Dad
“Even then at the beginning there were obstacles that were appearing and I was like, ‘you know, Dad maybe I shouldn’t do this, you’re sick.’…and I was getting frustrated trying to explain to people what this was and my father turned around and looked at me as I was complaining and said ‘You know, just because there’s people throwing up roadblocks, what are you going to do? Are you just going to cry and quit?’
But Dani doesn’t wallow for long. Her father’s straight talk and encouragement strengthened Dani’s resolve as she persevered. Dani reflected that SpokesBuzz was something that her father had given her and it “was the most fun thing we had to talk about” during that difficult time.
For Dani, the 2012 SXSW Showcase was a celebration of her Dad's legacy
At the end of 2010 Dani and her husband, Matt acquired the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. This legendary music venue is situated on the Poudre River up the Canyon where nature runs wild and there’s no cell reception! In 1916, Walter S. Thompson stopped at the site of the Mish (as we affectionately call it for short) as he was riding through the canyon. He was so moved by the beauty and tranquility of the river there that he began homesteading and built the music hall with his own two hands.
Ryan Montbleu playing at the Mish!
The Mishawaka Amphitheatre has changed owners over the years. Some of the previous owners have cared for the Mish better than others. As a result, Dani and her crew have invested a lot of time and energy fixing the place up and mending the Mish’s community ties.
“It is such a special and important place for Northern Colorado, my goal is that the CVB has a section in their booklet about the Mishawaka.”
Dani loving it up at the Mish
The TLC that Dani and Matt have poured into the Mish does not go unnoticed. They are dedicated to running a world class music venue with an emphasis on preserving the natural environment which makes it so special. I, for one, am very thankful for all of Dani’s hard work as the Mish is my favorite music venue and it once again is being recognized as a valuable asset in our community!
Mantras: “Dream don’t fantasize, go for it” Values: Community, Family, Music, Entrepreneurialism