Home decor proudly made in Trinidad

11:14 AM, Apr 13, 2010   |    comments
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"I think we see the dream fulfilled when... you just have got to stop in Trinidad and you just cannot go down the highway without stopping here," Annie Danielson said.

Annie and her husband Mark are determined make Trinidad the center of activity it once was at the beginning of the 20th century.

"Trinidad has a history of being a vibrant and industrious community," Annie Danielson said.

"At the turn of the century, Trinidad was considered as a possible location for the state capitol. It had opera houses. It had theaters. It had an unbelievable hub of activity," Mark Danielson added.

Eighteen years ago, the couple moved to the community from southern California and instantly realized something needed to be done about the town's faltering economy.

"With the mine closing and ranching diminishing, obviously it's seen some tough years," Mark Danielson said.

The Danielsons felt a calling to found a company to employ the town's residents.

"Our way of showing God's love to this community is by providing good jobs," Mark Danielson said.

The company created Danielson Design, a home decor manufacturer. Originally the company's plaques and picture frames were created and hand painted by locals. Over the past two decades, however, the company has adapted, incorporating technology in order to keep up with other companies that outsourced their labor overseas.

"We may be small town America, but we're not low tech," Mark Danielson said.

Today, in a top secret room, the company employs cutting edge technology to personalize their merchandise with messages created by customers on their Web site. The company's location in the U.S. is one of its biggest advantages in the highly competitive industry. In most cases the products are received by customers within two days.

"One way we can beat our friends on the other side of the Pacific Ocean is by the very fact that there is a Pacific Ocean," Annie Danielson said.

While Danielson Designs has been successful, the couple continued to look for new ways to create jobs in town. They bought a property on the town's Main Street and opened a store and cafe, where an old five and dime once existed during Annie Danielson's childhood.

"In the back of this building there was an old lunch counter... where I could often find my granddad having a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee in the back," she reminisced.

They believe through acts like this Trinidad is slowly coming back to life. More and more businesses are taking root on Main Street.

"I think good progress is not necessarily boom progress. It's slow healthy progress," Annie Danielson said.

They're hoping that more people in Trinidad and elsewhere will follow their lead.

"We love the idea of small town America. We've seen what Wal-Mart and development has done to small town America, so this in a sense is a laboratory for what can happen in small towns across the country," Danielson said.

The couple is optimistic that Trinidad, with its beautiful Victorian architecture, can regain the popularity it once had. The couple hopes the town's museums and galleries, as well as plans to bring a repertory theater could make the town more than just a rest stop on Interstate 25.

Danielson Design was recently selected as one of the 50 Colorado Companies to Watch by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Every Thursday 9NEWS reports about another company, highlighting its success in this difficult economy.

To see those stories, visit http://www.9news.com/life/programming/shows/mornings/ctw/.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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