Opening a business is a life changing decision and deciding where to open that business is a big piece of the equation. Ryan grew up in Littleton, graduated from Arapaho High School and attended the Art Institute of Colorado. However, he had never visited Loveland until May of 2002, when we started looking for a house in the Northern Colorado town.
We were living in Littleton had both grown tired of a long commute into Denver, plus, Ryan was starting to think about opening his own furniture business, but neither of us wanted to stay in the big city or the busy suburbs.
We bought the book, “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America” by John Villani, and decided to visit the Colorado towns first, and then expand our search beyond the state if nothing sparked our interested. Loveland was listed 8/100, and Villani writes that the town was the inspiration for the book.
After driving through Loveland on a beautiful spring day, we decided that this was where we wanted to move. We bought a home in 2002, and opened Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc. in 2004.
Ironically, when we told friends in Denver that we were moving to Loveland, they thought we were moving to the ski area. However, we used to vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when we told people there that we were moving to Loveland, Colorado, they were very familiar with the community – and that’s because Loveland is an art town.
It’s one of the main things that attracted us to the city of 60,000. Sculptures line the streets of downtown, and you’ll also find them sprouting up in other places around the city too. Two huge sculpture shows take place annually in Loveland, and you can’t toss a rock in town without hitting an artist, whether it’s a sculptor, painter or photographer. There are also a lot of writers here as well.
While we tend to sell more furniture in Boulder and in the mountains, we still enjoy our city and appreciate the artistic environment. It’s a place that works to foster art, and the city has recently refocused on making Loveland a destination for art and culture lovers.
Loveland is located along I25, approximately 36 miles northeast of Boulder, 50 miles north of Denver, 50 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming. It is home to countless art galleries, several museums, a couple of distilleries and a growing brewery industry.
City of Loveland
Loveland on Colorado.com
Loveland Reporter Herald
PHOTO: Benson Sculpture Garden, 2908 Aspen Drive in Loveland, CO. There are 125 sculptures at the park. Photo by H.M. Kerr Schlaefer, all rights reserved.
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is co-owner of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc. She is also a full-time freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com.