2023 Business Awards Small Business of the Year Finalists
Each year, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce recognizes organizations that are writing Denver’s next chapter in business. Join us for the 2023 Business Awards presented by BOK Financial on April 27, 2023 to see the winners announced live! This year’s Small Business of the Year finalists are: Bespoke, LVTD Design and Taloma Partners. Get to know each organization more below.
Founded in 2013, this year marks Bespoke’s 10th anniversary of operation. After spending 11 years in corporate America, Justin Ball, president & founder of Bespoke, wanted to reimagine what events could look like. “At our core, we turn ideas into experiences. Our best connections are made face-to-face. We bring those [interactions] to life through meetings and events.”
Since moving from Atlanta in 2005, Ball got involved with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Metro Denver EDC and Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and credits these resources for instilling the confidence it took to start his own business. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunities I have and the connections I’ve made,” said Ball. “The foundation of support was an incredible privilege and made my leap of faith possible.”
The name Bespoke means “custom-made in the client’s image,” and the team delivers on that promise; they meet the clients “where they’re at.” Whether it’s fulfilling an event for a small nonprofit or large corporation, Bespoke scales and personalizes each experience to best tell client’s story to its audience. “Our best gift is when we get to lean into the arts side of the business, not just the science and logistics of it. The arts side is the storytelling, making sure [clients] are effective in messaging to their audience and getting to the heart of their brand,” added Ball.
Ball describes the Metro Denver business community as one comprised of “born and raised barn-raisers.” “The beauty of Colorado is that we are greater than the sum of our parts. We are the vision of a well-rounded community,” said Ball.
It all started when a friend asked him if he would build custom furniture and the interior for their restaurant. After that, more friends flocked to Evan Jones, founder of LVTD Design, requesting him to design their restaurants. In 2012, Jones started his multi-disciplinary design firm out of his garage and for the first eight years, his business grew simply from word of mouth. LVTD Design now delivers high-end designs from banquette seating in restaurants to three-dimensional sculptures to everything in between.
The key to LVTD Design’s success? Perhaps the team’s willingness – and eagerness – to take on creative challenges. “I always tried to push the envelope on things that we can build,” said Jones. “I have a lot of architects that ask if we can build it. We may not know how to build it at the start, but we figure it out.”
The designers at LVTD Design use an assortment of mediums for their creations including concrete, aluminum, steel, glass, acrylic and wood to name a few. “We’re not just a wood or metal shop, we do everything we can get our hands on. We push boundaries and stay nimble and being able to do multiple things.”
As an artist who lives and breathes design, inspiration is essential – and Jones is heavily inspired by where he lives. “Denver is one of the greatest cities on earth. We have world-class architecture, art and food. This city is on the forefront of all those things.”
Taloma Partners is a mashup of the three founders’ first names: Tamra Ward, Lori Fox and Maren Steward. Founded six years ago, Taloma Partners is a public affairs issue management and strategic communications firm that offers a range of services from providing interim leadership to political advocacy work.
“We owe our existence to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce,” Fox said. “If not for the Chamber, we would not have met. We became work colleagues, friends and partners through our connections from the Chamber, LEX trips, committee and Board meetings.”
What sets Taloma Partners apart from similar firms is that clients receive the expertise of all three business leaders. “You get three senior-level executives doing the work. For better or for worse, you get what we sell,” echoed Fox and Ward.
When working on client projects, Taloma Partners is strategic and intentional about recognizing the client’s needs and, when necessary, pulling together the best talent from a curated toolbox of additional partner consultants. Built firmly in their relationships among themselves and the business community, Taloma Partners prides itself on being able to provide its clients with different a perspective to work and management.
The 2023 Business Awards Small Business of the Year award is presented by Delta Dental.