On November 1, Well Fargo reached out to longtime nonprofit the Fax Partnership with an offer: a $75,000 grant through its Hope USA program to improve small businesses in an effort to revitalize them following the challenges of the pandemic. And you can already see the results at bars and restaurants along East Colfax Avenue.
With a directive to use the funds before the end of the year, the Fax Partnership immediately went to work identifying businesses that could use the help and potential projects. "East Colfax is a little more complicated than just murals and twinkling lights," explains Fax executive director Monica Martinez. "So we said, 'Yes, let's do some beautification. But we also want to do some safety improvements.'"
Restaurante El Tamarindo at 7700 East Colfax Avenue. "My parents used to own this restaurant for twelve years," says Michelle Santillanes, who purchased it with her husband, Luis, two months ago. "It was a big change to take ownership, and it was a big change with this opportunity that opened up to us, so we are very thankful."
Restaurante El Tamarindo serves Central American food, and the grant covered a new, brightly colored mural by Denver artist Tom Ward that pays homage to Santillanes's Salvadorian heritage. On December 14, Wells Fargo volunteers were on hand, helping to stain tables that will be used in a new outdoor seating area; the restaurant also received a new sign.
Other businesses benefiting from the grant are East Fax Tap, at 8001 East Colfax Avenue (former home of the Hangar Bar), which has a new Colfax-themed mural by Denver artist Ratha Sok; Famous Buffalo Wings & Things and East Colfax Liquor, at East Colfax and Uinta Street, where safety cameras and lighting improvement were installed and broken windows were replaced; and El Chalate, at 8119 East Colfax, which also received new safety cameras.
"We envision East Colfax as an international destination where folks around the state and the metro area come to East Colfax for the wonderful kind of food you see at El Tamarindo, or the Asian spices you can get at Family Asian Market," adds Martinez. "Colfax is a destination, and this is the beginning of that investment."