12/05/2012 06:56 am ET Updated Feb 04, 2013

Mary Ellen Vernon Loves Boulder

Mary Ellen Vernon, the CEO and founder of Fresh Produce, lives and runs her company in Boulder, CO. Originally from Kansas, Mary Ellen met her husband, Thom Vernon in college in Kansas State before moving to California and starting Fresh Produce Sportswear out of parking lot across the street from the coliseum at the 1984 Olympics. In 1990, the beach life relocated lock, stock and sunscreen to Boulder, Colorado. She has never left and doesn't plan on it.


Dear Boulder,

I've been a few places in this life and no other city, state, or town can compare to you. When my husband Thom and I decided to move from Sunny California to your graceful mountains, we were looking for a safe place and community to raise our children and grow our business. We know we wanted a place where there was a large airport nearby, where UPS could easily travel to and fro. More importantly, it was about the quality of life: Thom's brother lived in Boulder and we felt the soul and spirit of the city each time we visited.

One day, we looked at each other and thought, "Boulder. Why not?"

I was 32 when we moved into the 1909 brick house with the Chautauqua national park in the backyard and I've have been there ever since. Always drawn to the water and the coast, I found myself surprisingly at ease in the tranquility of the mountains and trees. Your wild temperament used to throw me: from the heat to the blizzards, we never knew what to expect. But what used to alarm me now gives me comfort and is a constant reminder of your ability to change.

The university's spirit has kept you youthful but, as we've grown, so have you. You are a vibrant city in which some of the most intelligent, healthy, dynamic and fun-loving souls I have ever met are happy to call home.

Your youthful spirit inspires those that live here to make a difference. It is Boulder residents' bright, spirited approach to life that inspires me in my business and in my day-to-day living. Everywhere I go, I find myself impressed by your inhabitants as much as the groovy, colorful textiles and healthy, delicious meals I encounter and beautiful scenery I get to ride past every day on my bike. That, my friend, is the Boulder way: We have a quality of life that makes me feel lucky at every turn.

We knew we'd found a home for ourselves and our brand as soon as we arrived, and we've never once looked back.

Mary Ellen Vernon