Best Of :: Goods & Services
Ivonne and Bob Rosnik gave up their real-estate business in May, but over the past fifteen years, the statuesque Swiss matron and her soft-spoken lawyer husband helped more than 150 gay and lesbian couples and individuals buy into the American dream. "For us it was just natural, business-wise, to be involved with the gay community, because we have so many contacts in the gay community," says Ivonne. The Rosniks have four grown children, two of whom are gay; as soon as their eldest son came out in 1982, they joined Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- Ivonne running the hotline and coordinating the speakers' bureau. Business was so good, in fact, that they acquired clients only by referral. "One led to another, and that's how we built up a very solid business," she says. "There are a lot of gay and lesbian realtors, but what was unusual was that I was a mom, so I was involved as a parent working with gay couples."
Ivonne's favorite story involves two men. "They were delightful people. They wanted a property in the mountains where they could have non-traditional animals -- a llama and maybe a goat, which most zoning doesn't allow -- and they wanted land around it. We finally found a place in their price range on the other side of Bailey Mountain. That's a long way from Denver. I set up the showing, and when they saw the house and the sixteen acres, they said, 'This is our place!' I went to the door and it says 'The Joneses.' I rang the bell and this lady appeared, in her late fifties, and right behind her was another lady about the same age. This was a lesbian couple, and we found out there were about ten other lesbian and gay couples in that same area."
It's too late for the Rosniks to help you buy a house, but you can still benefit from their expertise: They're now selling Pre-Paid Legal Services ("It covers domestic partnership and is available for nonmarried heterosexuals and also gay and lesbian couples," Ivonne notes). But then, even if Bob and Ivonne were selling free condoms, we'd buy some.
Now you can get one leg tattooed while the other one is being waxed! No, seriously: The Blue Door does offer tattooing services, along with related applications of permanent cosmetics and henna body painting. But you can also indulge in every bit of new-age massage media, from Reiki to aromatherapy, all provided by experienced women practitioners. Kick back. Take the ring out of your nose. Relax.
One day earlier this year, a young woman arrived in Capitol Hill to get her hair done. Since her regular hairdresser was still snipping the locks of another customer, the woman wandered two doors down, walked into Twisted Sol and got her genitalia pierced. There are many ways to kill time while waiting to get a haircut -- reading a magazine, for instance -- but there's nothing as creative as getting a new piercing or tattoo, and finer tattoo aficionados can spot a Twisted Sol epidermis a mile away. Whether it's Jeff Kopp's pinpoint portraits or Jeramiah Clark's spray-paint style, this place has the finest den of young ink artists in Denver. "We'll work as many hours as there are in the day," says co-owner Alicia Cardenas. Currently, there's a three-month waiting period for any of the five featured tattooists, but that will change soon. This month, Twisted Sol will expand into an adjacent space (the former Majordomos coffee shop) and add two new tattooists and another piercer. Cardenas says the store will also sell tribal art and jewelry. Whatever you decide on, it's sure to go perfectly with your trendy new trim.
Imagine Baco-Bits made of yesterday's Firestones, and you're on your way to envisioning Crown Three, a nifty lawn-care product from a company called Jaitire. Sprinkle it on heavily trafficked areas of turf grass -- dog runs, the mailman's shortcut, the path your kids beat to the swingset -- and this tiny rubber carpet will protect the crown of the grass root while conserving water, extending the growing season and insulating your lawn from the winter blues. Keep your car off the lawn, though. Non-recycled tires tend to leave a mark.
Taking its design inspiration from the board game Candy Land, the folks at Can Land Recycling do their damnedest to put the fun back into recycling. Nestled among the modular-home dealerships of north Federal, the entrance to Can Land is marked by candy-cane-striped poles and a huge, festive sculpture of suspended wooden barrels with massive grins and outstretched arms. That welcome alone is worth all the drudgery of rinsing and sorting a truckload of garbage. The grounds are decorated with a profusion of brightly colored paintings of happy homes and grateful cans caught frozen for all eternity in mid-hug. Maybe hope and happiness can live on beyond the confines of a children's game.
These good people know all about lifting life's little burdens. Aside from being a thrift store, the nonprofit Family Tree Foundation is dedicated to improving the self-esteem of people needing to overcome family crises, violence and homelessness. The funding comes from donations by the materially overwhelmed, and the folks here run their store with the same care that they run their services. Most notably, unlike some other thrift stores, no item gets thrown away. Even if it's slow to sell, a donation may finally find its value in one of the signature mix-'n'-match packs that make shopping here interesting and affordable. The people at the Family Tree Foundation are experts at getting rid of -- and helping others get rid of or deal with -- unneeded stuff.