Category Archives: Design Trends

June Newsletter 2022

Happy Green 4th of July

Did you know that Denver Concierge was the very first certified green cleaning company in Colorado? Every year we get recertified with the Green Clean Institute and 2022 was no exception, as we have just been recertified for the year.

Back in 2007 we applied for certification and have proudly carried that with us through today.

What does that really mean for you? Simply it means that you are doing your part for the environment by using a certified company. Every product we use has been vetted as 100% green. Our people are trained in green cleaning practices and we take every step to ensure that we are taking care of the environment as we clean.

We do our best to stay humble over here, so we don’t really like to blow our horns too loudly. That said, we are very proud of this certification and what it means to our clients and the wonderful city we live in.

Also, this month we have a guest writer who covers the benefits of going green in your home. We hope you enjoy it.

We also want to wish you and your families a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. Denver Concierge will be closed on Monday the 4th so our folks can enjoy some time with their families as well.

Finally, some fun facts about the 4th. Did you know that 150,000,000 (yes million) hot dogs will be consumed in America on the 4th of July? “Enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times,” according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

Fun facts like that and many more can be found here, thanks to Parade magazine.

We hope you have a fun 4th of July weekend, as always thanks for being part of the Denver Concierge family.

School Enrollment Plummeting

What exactly is going on with Denver area school enrollment?

Of course, it seems that COVID started all of this, but we didn’t expect it to stay this way.

Jefferson County, for example, has proposed a plan to close multiple elementary schools in the district due to low enrollment levels.

From the article on Fox News, “According to Jeffco, the district has the capacity to serve 96,000 students in their traditional schools and currently has 69,000 students enrolled. Jeffco expects the enrollment to continue declining to 66,000 by next year.”

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online and at-home learning became the new norm for students in Colorado. When schools reopened to in-person learning, many failed to return to the traditional in-school education.”

The folks at Westword also did a piece on this, and they believe the declining population in Denver is also a factor.

Even as Colorado’s population grew (prior to 20-21), its public-school enrollment shrunk. Enrollment was generally increasing until 2020-2021, when it rapidly fell by a whopping 30,024 students, according to Colorado Department of Education data.

Most definitely a challenging time for education as funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis. Denver Public Schools predict another 6% enrollment decrease in the next 5 years and the plan is to establish criteria for permanently closing schools with low enrollment by 2024.

Finally, it seems we are not alone here in Denver. The New Y0rk Times recently published a piece on this topic and it can be found here.

Wages & Inflation

Before COVID, most of us were pretty happy with that good old 3% wage increase.

These days, it might not be enough.

One of the concepts few employees understand is effective purchasing power.

It is super easy to get intoxicated by a higher wage, but if all the goods and services around you are going up at a higher rate (see the chart above), then purchasing power is lost.

So even though wages have skyrocketed and are up 4.9%, inflation is up 6.2%, a net loss.

Closer to home, and from the DBJ article on this topic,  “In Denver, median weekly earnings rose 6.5% over the past year from $1,163.80 to $1,239.38. Meanwhile, the cost of living rose 12.9% since 2019.”

“That combination of factors means what would have been a traditional raise two or three years ago may not cut it for many employees — especially when it’s far from what they could fetch on the open market.”

It is certainly safe to say we are in trying times both as employees try to pay their bills, and companies do their best to retain talent with fair pay.

Sadly, the inevitable conclusion of all of this could likely be fewer jobs, as companies strive to automate and eliminate humans wherever possible.

Meanwhile, we will do everything in our power to keep a happy and well-paid workforce in your homes.

Navy Seals & Neuroscience

So, a Navy Seal and a neuroscientist walk into a bar…….

Just kidding, but it sounds like the beginning of a great joke.

In reality, it was a five-hour podcast between  Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford School of Medicine, and Jocko Willink, an ex-Navy Seal officer.

This was a treasure trove of information about how the human mind and our nervous systems actually work. More importantly, how can we use them to our advantage.

For example, do you know what “optic flow” is? We didn’t either but it can relieve stress.

Also, if you are like us, we hit the coffee button right when we rise in the morning.

We learned that the timing of the first caffeine in your body is important and that you should wait 60-90 minutes after waking to ingest it.

This is due to a molecule called adenosine. We won’t bore you with the details, but it’s all in this wonderful article we found on Medium.

The title of the article is 15 Learnings From a Conversation Between a Neuroscientist & Navy SEAL Officer and we found it to be one of the most informative pieces we have seen in a long while.

So, if you want to learn about cool things like adenosine and dopamine, and how a simple sigh might lower your stress, this is the place for you.

The full article on Medium.com can be found here, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Going Green in Your Home

By Guest Writer Ethel Lair

Whether you’re looking to buy a new house or planning some home improvements on your existing property, think about the many benefits of having an eco-friendly home and garden. Going green isn’t just good for the planet, it can also save you money. So here are some things to consider when you’re looking for a house, or if you want to turn your existing abode into an eco-friendly haven:

Save Money on Your Energy Bill

To keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, thus reducing your need for costly air conditioning, make sure it is well insulated, from attic to basement. When buying a home, look for one that has been outfitted with dual pane windows that keep the outside elements from affecting the temperature inside the house.

Solar panels have become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason: they allow homeowners to harness the sun’s energy to power their house by turning it into electricity. Additionally, installing a solar energy system will increase the value of your home, and may even help it sell faster.

When making home improvements, make sure you take before-and-after pictures of your remodeling and energy-saving projects, and keep all receipts and invoices you’ve received, both for labor and for materials. This will allow you to quantify the increase in value of your home when you’re ready to put it on the market.

Reduce Your Consumption

If you have leaks and drips around your house, you are wasting precious water and increasing your utility bill. Check your appliances such as refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine regularly to detect such problems early on, and replace your older appliances with high-efficiency machines that use fewer resources.

Upgrading your bathroom fixtures will also help in reducing your water usage. Replace your showerheads, faucets, and toilets with low-flow, high-efficiency options that are as effective as their older counterparts but use a lot less water. It’s a low-cost home improvement that can lead to big savings over time.

In your backyard, install an irrigation system that will help you conserve water while keeping your landscape beautiful year-round. Smart sprinklers deliver a fine mist of water that covers an area more efficiently, and if you install weather or rain sensors, they will prevent the unnecessary watering of your lawn, helping you reduce water waste.

Another way to reduce consumption, especially if you have a business, is to find ways to go paperless. For example, you can rid yourself of the hassles of printing by switching to a digital scheduling tool or a cloud based accounting system. You even save time by having automated processes and using efficient workflows. Plus, you’ll only pay for what your business needs with software that can grow with your business.

Reuse and Recycle

Use less paper and plastic products by investing in reusable cloth bags to do your grocery shopping, and opt for permanent storage containers instead of disposable plastic bags to store leftover food and snacks. Avoid using plastic cutlery and paper plates that end up in landfills, and save on gift bags and wrapping paper by creatively recycling what you already have on hand.

Choose reusable cloth rags over paper towels to clean your windows and countertops, and reusable mop covers to clean your floors instead of disposable ones to keep your home sparkling clean. Avoid harsh cleaning products that contain unhealthy chemicals, and use the power of steam to clean and disinfect your floors and other surfaces naturally. For a certified green cleaning experience created to reduce indoor air pollution, call on the services of Denver Concierge.

Repair and refinish old furniture to give it a new life instead of buying new pieces. A fresh coat of paint and some new hardware will update an old desk or dresser for a fraction of the price of a new piece of furniture. If the item is beyond repair, try repurposing the wood by turning it into a tray, frame, or bookshelf.

An eco-friendly house will save you money over time and protect your environment. Whether you’re in the market for a new home or planning some renovations, consider the green alternatives currently available and invest wisely, both for yourself and for the planet.

Denver Concierge provides more than 15,000 certified-green house cleanings per year. To see what makes us different, please visit our website or contact us today!

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for May were Patricia Rodriguez, Gabriela Barrancas, Maria Zapata, Maria Concepcion Reyes, and Guadalupe Caloca.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Paz Jimenez and Mayra Soto

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of May.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

I just completed 21 years with Denver Concierge. I have been working alongside the same two women in the office and several of our Team Leaders during the entire time. Pretty impressive.

However, I would be remiss to not include in my congratulatory mood, the many, and there are many, of our clients who came to Denver Concierge the same time I did.

Imagine 21 years of bi-weekly cleanings, given a holiday here and there. 21 years of births and marriages, celebrations and anniversaries, remodels and construction, leaky ceilings, and flooded floors. The good the bad and the ugly; we’ve been there for you through it all.

When I take on a new client it really does feel like I am welcoming them into the Denver Concierge family.  We are so proud that we have stood the test of time with our clients. It is no small feat. The service industry can be brutal.

As always, thank you!

Bee

April Newsletter 2022

National Small Business Week

The first week of May is indeed National Small Business Week.

Way back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

So, what defines a “small business”?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business has no more than 1,500 employees and less than $38.5 million in average annual revenue, depending on your industry.

We think $30 million is a pretty large business! If you look at the government definition based on the Affordable Care Act, they would characterize any business under fifty employees as small.

As a point of reference, 90% of businesses have fewer than twenty employees.

Supporting local businesses keeps tax revenue in the state and city as well as providing jobs and support for the overall economy. While we love Amazon too, buying locally has tremendous benefits for the community you live in.

We found a nice piece published by Verizon that gives 10 great ways to support small businesses and it can be found here.

We also know that COVID sadly put the hurt on so many small businesses and we know they need our help, which is another great reason to shop local. Colorado is also doing their part to support small businesses, and they have a great toolkit for promotion and it can be found here.

As a small business, we are so grateful to be part of your lives. As always, we will continue to earn your trust every day.

Thank you!

Universal State Tax Refunds 

Looks like we all have a refund coming and who doesn’t like free money?

It was recently announced that each individual in Colorado that files their 2021 taxes by May 31, 2022, will receive $400. Joint filers will receive $800.

The amount is fixed and will not be modified based on income or any information on your 2021 tax return.

From the article on the Denver Channel:

“Under the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights, when there’s a TABOR surplus, it gets refunded to taxpayers. What would normally come to taxpayers in April 2023 is being given in an advanced payment, due to the proposal, to address the rising costs of inflation, officials said.”

It seems that the coffers of Colorado are overflowing with money, and we are happy to see the state giving it back to the residents.

The complete article from the Denver Channel can be found here.

Denver’s Exodus

For years it seems we have been talking about the massive inflow of people into our city.

That trend is over.

For the first time since the early 2000’s, the population in Denver declined.

In fact, the population declined by just about 1%, with a dip of just over 6,000 residents.

Statewide, however, our population did indeed grow, but only by 28,000 residents. This is only about one-half of one percent over the previous year, which is well below our recent run rate.

It seems we are not immune to the migration pattern that seems to show folks leaving big cities for the country, or for cheaper locales.

New York City, for example, lost 328,000 residents, and metro Los Angeles gave up 176,000.

We aren’t smart enough to know what this all means. Part of it could be COVID, part of it could be rising costs in the city or our increasing crime rate.

At the risk of piling on, Denver was recently listed among the top 5 least affordable metro areas to live in. The only cities worse than Denver were San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Those of you that have been wishing for people to stay wherever they are and not move to Denver may have finally gotten your wish.

Here is hoping this trend reverses and our city transforms into one we can all be proud of, and that more people want to live in.

What’s in a (baby) Name?

We are always fascinated by the trends in baby names.

The days of Beverly, Doris, Chester, Clarence, etc. may be winding down except for the most traditional of parents.

There was a book written a while back called Freakonomics and they devoted an entire chapter to the evolution of baby names

The authors keep this concept going and their latest ideas can be found here.

Of course, there are many societal aspects to naming your baby. The most interesting tidbit we ran across was from the co-author of Freakonomics, Steven Levitt, who said:

I think it really is about the parents. As I’ve studied naming, what I’ve come to believe is that the primary purpose, when a parent gives a name, is to impress their friends that they are whatever kind of person that they want to be”

Very interesting statement, don’t you think?

Ok, so enough about the evolution of baby names. What are the top baby names for 2022?

For starters, the national trends are trending towards playful (Buddy, Sonny, Coco), earthy (Bali, Sequoia, Forest), and regency (Benedict, Simon, Genevieve). Also, for societal reasons we are seeing more gender-neutral names as well, such as Blair, Shiloh, and Wren.

Without further ado, here are the top three baby names in Colorado in 2022:

Girls-Olivia, Charlotte, Emma

Boys-Liam, Oliver, Noah

As you know, we are pretty old school over here, so we were happy to see William come up 7th and James 8th. No such luck on the girls as Sophia was the most traditional name we found.

The full piece on Colorado baby names can be found here.

Finally, Parade magazine listed the top 350 baby names of 2022, and their comprehensive list can be found here.

Oh, and folks….be careful giving your baby a hard to pronounce name. We don’t have an opinion on this, but studies indicate it may make life difficult for your future adult.

How Wise are You?

What is the difference between being intelligent and being wise?

Well, the photo we chose this month says it all. As we thought about this, however, it brought up many questions about wisdom and the difference between that and intelligence.

We know a few very, very smart people (intelligence) that may not function in society very well. Conversely, we know some people with high school educations that we go to with all of our problems because they are wise (wisdom).

Yes, you can be smart and not wise, or vice-versa. Intelligence is typically measured with innate ability and/or IQ. Wisdom is about experience, knowledge, and overall good judgment.

So, how do we cultivate wisdom?

As our loyal readers know, we love Medium and we found a lovely piece there about the 3 stages of becoming wise.

What did we learn? Becoming wise is a process, and fully cultivated it becomes a guide for your life.

Finally, an extensive piece on this was located at Upjourney, and it features a lot of depth on the matter. 

Here’s to being wise….and smart.

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for March were Gabriela Barrancas, Josefina Quinonez, Maria Zapata, Katherine Crespin, and Reyna Galvez.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Juana Olivas and Mayra Soto.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of March.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

I have a referral I would like to share.

Absolute Electrical Heating and Air is a company that by pure chance I used for an ongoing heating issue I had been plagued with for years. They diagnosed and fixed the problem and restored my faith in the American work ethic. All in the space of an hour.

Imagine if you can a company whose technicians are thoroughly trained and knowledgeable, equipped for the job at hand, who show up on time, polite and respectful but not chatty.

Their customer service folks answer promptly and listen to you. I’d even say I’ve met my match in that arena.

The list of their capabilities is long. Basically most anything that can happen in the lifetime of your home is under their care. What a soothing thought!

Forgive my over-enthusiasm but I think we can all agree that the service industry is sorely lacking on many levels. An exception deserves public applause, recognition, and gratitude. I offer all three.

You can find Absolute on their website, linked above, or at 720-381-1767.

December Newsletter 2021

Welcome 2022, Goodbye 2021

When we wrote our newsletter last December, we were hoping that in a year the majority of COVID would be behind us.

Alas, that is not the case.

Delta came this summer, and now we have Omicron. We don’t know which variant will come next, but we certainly won’t be surprised when it does.

2021 was a challenging year for us at Denver Concierge. We spent a good sum of money on safety protocols, equipment, and the like, trying to keep our workplace (and your home) as safe and sterile as possible.

As a result, we ended up managing the situation very well, with only one COVID case in our ranks. We were able to avoid any outbreaks or disruptions due to the virus and we feel good about our safety protocols.

We will continue our vigilance going forward. Your safety and the safety of our people are more important than a clean house, and we will always feel that way (even though we really like clean houses).

The labor situation could be a lot better. We are struggling to find the people we need to do the work at a level that we are satisfied with. Like everyone, we have raised wages to remain competitive, but it remains our biggest challenge for 2022 and beyond.

We thank you for your patience, kindness, and support. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve, and we will see you on the other side.

We appreciate you more than we can express. Happy New Year and here’s to a prosperous 2022.

Our Healthy Resolution

We don’t love New Year’s resolutions. Seems like most of the ones we have tried are over by February.

However, with all the stress around us these days, we have found ourselves in need of better rest.

In fact, good sleep is associated with boosting our immune systems, preventing weight gain, and strengthening our hearts, to name a few benefits.

In our quest for better sleep, we found a couple of great pieces for you.

In the 7 habits of exceptionally good sleepers, we learn that good sleepers go to bed when they are sleepy, not tired (nope, not the same thing). 

Finally, if you have ever said “I’ll sleep when I am dead”, you may be rushing towards that goal.

Berkeley Psychology published a great article on this, and the highlight for us was:

“Every disease that is killing us in developed nations has causal and significant links to a lack of sleep,” he says. “So that classic maxim that you may [have] heard that you can sleep when you’re dead, it’s actually mortally unwise advice from a very serious standpoint.”

That was enough for us. We are off on our journey in 2022 to improve our health in one of the most underrated ways possible.

 

Denver Housing Trends

I bet you are thinking that Denver is one of the hottest real estate markets around.

We were too until we realized we aren’t.

In fact, 9 News published an article that says we are only 48th out of the top 100 metro areas in terms of projected sale increases in 2022.

From the article, “Denver’s predicted increase is much less compared to other Western markets, like Salt Lake City, Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Washington, which are all expected to see a combined increase of more than 20%, according to the Realtor.com analysis.”

Shocking, considering at one time this year there were more realtors in Denver than properties available.

As we researched this topic, we found another item that could drive down demand, higher interest rates.

CPR news did an article on the impact of rates going up and it can be found here.

Finally and longer-term, there are 180 million people that will be looking for homes in the coming years. Who are they?

Millennials. We didn’t realize they are the largest living adult generation (yep, we thought boomers too).

Denver Business Journal did a nice piece on the impact of millennials and housing demand, it can be found here.

Still looks like a seller’s market to us.

U.S Consumer Spending Trends

How COVID has changed our spending habits.

We dove into this and were surprised by some of the trends.

For example, only about 3 to 4% of grocery shopping in the U.S. was done online before COVID-19, according to research from Bain & Company.

Fast forward to 2021, and the grocery delivery industry has drastically evolved due to the pandemic and emerging technology. In fact, a study by Coresight Research found that 60% of U.S. consumers are now buying their groceries online. Wow.

Also, the three rounds of stimulus boosted overall spending in the U.S. by 15.3% OVER pre-pandemic levels. Surprising.

Another interesting tidbit? It seems wealthy people “pulled back” the most, with the theory being the wealthy didn’t need the stimulus for consumption,

The best piece we found on this was done by Bloomberg News, and it can be found here.

It ties in race, inflation, and other factors. Fascinating data and conclusions for sure.

This chart clearly shows we have exceeded pre-pandemic levels of spending.

Let’s hope inflation doesn’t knock the legs out of all of it.

Guest Article

Get Tidy, Feel Mighty! Tips on Creating Tidiness Habits in Your Home

By Alice Robertson, Tidy Home

https://tidyhome.info

People encounter so many sources of daily stress. We worry about work deadlines, our health and whether or not we’re getting enough exercise, our children’s health or learning environment, money – you name it, stress has taken hold of us all at some point or another. The last thing we need is another source, yet if your home is disorganized and cluttered – or more succinctly put, messy – then you have unwittingly created yet another source of stress for yourself.

You will feel much better and more relaxed if you start to take control of the disorganization around you. While some people like to dive right in, you may find that integrating small steps each day creates longer-lasting habits that can more effectively ward off future disorder. To help you get started on your tidiness journey, the house cleaning experts from Denver Concierge share the following tips.

Reconcile that you can live without certain items

Have you ever unpacked a box that’s been in storage and recognized contents you haven’t seen for months – or even years – and come to the realization that your life functioned perfectly without them? Sure, it’s also nice to find that favorite shirt or a missing earring, but most of us, if we were truthful, would admit to stockpiling items that we don’t need and wouldn’t miss.

Ridding yourself of this extraneous clutter will energize you and help in creating your tidiness habits. Start with one goal. Don’t make it too ambitious; if you have to leave in an hour and you know cleaning your desk will take you two hours, you’re setting yourself up for an incomplete project and feelings of failure. Opt instead for tossing expired food out of the refrigerator or pantry or emptying your bookshelves of old paperbacks that you’ll never read but that might be better donated to a non-profit.

Start getting habitual

Once you’ve shed yourself of unnecessary items, ignite the tidying routine with one daily task that will be the start of your tidiness habit. For some people, it’s making the bed. It’s relatively easy to do, and this simple act can change the look and feel of your room. Or, if you spend more time in the kitchen, make sure that the dishes are done early each morning or in the evening. If you easily get overwhelmed by laundry, do a load a day instead of two or three over the weekend — and then be confronted with hours of folding and putting away.

While much of this is focusing on your home’s interior, don’t forget about your yard. Your outdoors should be a source of solace and relaxation, which is hard to achieve with overgrown weeds and grass or a complete lack of luster to your landscaping. If doing it yourself seems overwhelming, why not take advantage of your local landscape design services to help you out? You can hire an expert to help get your yard under control and add enhancements, like planting welcoming flower beds and additional greenery, and then you can take over. Or, if it’s in your budget and your thumb is more fuchsia than green, hire one to perform regular maintenance, like trimming hedges and mowing the lawn. It’s easy to check out reviews online and get a few quotes from local landscapers.

Finally, you’re not the only one who will benefit from the more relaxed ambiance of a tidy home, so get your family on board. They can all make their own beds each morning, and rinse their dishes after each meal. Have a discussion about what would work best with their schedules and your tidiness goals. For example, making them responsible for one room daily or one overall weekly task, like vacuuming or dusting.

Create your castle

Your home really should be your castle — and we’re not talking turrets and moats. It should be a welcoming place of warmth, security, and peace. Those feelings fight for their spot when they’re outmatched by an untidy room filled with dust and clutter. Of course, if you need extra help keeping your castle spotless, turn to the cleaning services of Denver Concierge, the Front Range’s premier house cleaners.

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for November 2021 were Patricia Rodriguez, Maria Reyes, Luz Reza, Josefina Quinonez, and Maria Zapata.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Rosa Chavez and Socorro Ibarra.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

Our annual winners will be announced next month, we have some tight races so stay tuned!

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of November.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Happy New Year!

Firstly, a big thank you to our clients for keeping our teams busy for another year, for the appreciation you have shown them, and for all of the year-end gifts.

As a company we can only do so much to keep our employees happy; how our ladies are treated in the homes they clean is equally important to their day-to-day well-being.

On another note, I would like to hear from you with recommendations for any work that you have had done in your home, to your satisfaction.

Clients ask me frequently for references and I have added a few pros and cons myself. It isn’t easy finding reliable, reasonably priced technicians or contractors who we actually feel good about letting in!

Again. thank you for yet another year. Will text you in 2022!

Bee

November Newsletter 2021

Holiday Schedule & Message

We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. With holidays upon us, we thought that we would publish our holiday schedule for this year.

With Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, we will be working one day longer than normal. We will give our ladies Friday the 24th off for Christmas Eve.

We will also be closed on Friday the 31st for New Year’s Eve.

For us, the holidays always bring out the desire to show the people we care about how we feel about them. Thanksgiving, of course, is the time to give thanks and we want to do that.

2021 has been nearly as challenging as 2020 for us as a company and we are grateful to still be here cleaning homes across the Front Range. Our clients are the best in Denver, and boy are we lucky to have you.

Between all the issues that COVID has created and the subsequent labor issues, many days have been a challenge, to say the least.

We want to thank you so much for your kindness, understanding, and patience in dealing with all the issues that have arisen during these challenging times. We couldn’t ask for a better group of clients to have, and for you, we are grateful on the deepest levels.

We wish you the best for a peaceful, quiet, and relaxing holiday season. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Boxing Day, or just the season, we join you in celebrating the ones you love, as we celebrate you here.

Thank you for being part of our locally owned company.

Angela, John, and Maria

Let it Snow. Please?

Ok, this is getting ridiculous.

As we compose this newsletter, we have gone 222 days without measurable snow. How does this stack up in history?

Currently, it ranks 4th and counting. The longest we have ever gone without measurable snow is 235 days, dating back to the 1800s.

If we make it two more days, our streak will move into the 3rd longest, and we are a scant two weeks or so from setting the all-time record for a lack of snow.

The average snowfall in Denver is 56.4 inches. The lowest snowfall ever? 21.8 inches in 2016-2017.

Oh, and we already set another record, the latest snowfall on record. The old record for the latest first Denver snowfall was set on Nov. 21, 1934.

The full article including our annual snowfall totals for the last ten years can be found here.

For those of you that have turned off your sprinklers or stopped watering for the year, it might be a good idea to water your trees, I am sure they are thirsty.

Here’s to some moisture soon!

Gift Ideas Made in Colorado

We do our best here to support local and Colorado-owned businesses.

As a local business, seeing our dollars stay in our local community and in our state is very important.

Beyond the obvious stores and shops that we encounter on a given day, what are easy ways to support our economy and buy locally?

We are glad you asked.

For starters, we found a site called Created in Colorado, which is a consolidated list of all things Colorado.

Also, the folks at 5280 Magazine published a great guide for Colorado-made goods and it can be found here.

Finally, did you know that this past Saturday was “Small Business Saturday”?

NBC News published a nice piece on how to support small businesses, including everything from gift buying to leaving positive reviews.

We thank you for your support of our small, locally owned business.

Happy Shopping!

Savings by Age

We remember when we were young and starting our careers, we always tried to earn our age. Those were the days.

Now we are thinking about things like IRA’s, 401K’s, and like you, how we will make it to the finish line with enough money to retire.

So just how much should you have saved, by age, for retirement?

The folks at Quicken wrote a great article about savings benchmarks and net worth by decades of age.

Did you know that the median US savings for age 40 is $63,000? By 50 it nearly doubles to $117,000.

As far as net worth goes, the benchmark net worth for someone 40 years old is twice your annual salary. At 50 it should be four times your salary, and at 60, six times.

Fascinating data, and even if you are personally set going forward, there are some great numbers for the younger people in our lives that may just be getting started.

The complete article can be found here.

Data Visualizations

Before we found this very cool article, we honestly had no idea what a “data visualization” really was.

Then we clicked and realized how much fun they are.

How about a moving chart that shows how COVID spread in the U.S.? So interesting to see.

How about our health and wealth history, in a minute, encapsulating 221 years of prosperity? You can see the effects of everything from the Vietnam War to the impact of COVID, all in one fast-moving chart.

Our favorite one is a 3D map of the entire fiber-optic network around the world. Who knew there were so many cables under the ocean?

We pulled those two from a fabulous piece on medium.com, which you can find here, entitled “The 10 Best Data Visualizations you of 2021”.

We love finding cool stuff for our readers and we are confident this will qualify!

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for October were Aurora Dominguez, Patricia Rodriguez, Sandra Vidales, Josefina Quinonez, and Maria Zapata.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Juana Olivas and Natalia Olivas.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of October.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Denver was recently rated the Booziest City in the country, but one only must look back at our immigrant history to see that we have worked hard to merit this distinction.

German immigrants in 1880 owned nearly a third of Denver’s taverns. Patrons could sing and speak in German, read German newspapers, eat German food and drink German Bock. Basically to feel at home in a foreign city.

The Irish immigrants came with the advent of the railroad and established bars between their homes and the tracks, where many had settled. By 1900 the Irish population of Denver was 3% but they owned 10% of the bars.

Jewish immigrants also found the liquor business easy to enter. One of the first sources of Kosher food in Denver was in a Jewish delicatessen established next to a synagogue.

Italian immigrants recruited to work on the railroad gradually moved into the north Denver area where they operated their Italian bars and restaurants. When prohibition came, rather than close, they moved operations to their basements.

Other ethnicities soon immigrated to Denver. By 1920, the Russians were the largest immigrating group and the Slavs had already established their community in Globeville.

Although few of the immigrant establishments remained after prohibition, they were the first of a grand tradition that we have proudly carried on to this day.

Happy Holidays!  Cheers!

Bee

October Newsletter 2021

Happy Halloween Denver

Last year was our first Halloween under the blanket of Covid.

While we are a little old over here for trick or treating, we always worry about the little ones and how this crazy world we are in affects them.

So, what has changed and where is trick or treating allowed this year? Of course, each neighborhood is different, but our friends at 5280 Magazine published a comprehensive list of all things Halloween around Denver, and it also includes the best 7 neighborhoods for trick or treating.

9 News also published a good list of events for the little ones, including a trick or treat parade at Union Station (it’s called BOOnion Station, which we think is cute).

It looks like we are back in business for places to take the kids, but what about adults?

We do know people that like to dress up every year regardless of age, so we wanted to share some things for them as well. Denver.org put out a great list of fun things for all ages and that list can be found here.

The weather on Sunday looks a little dicey but between now and then it should be beautiful.

The Broncos also host a game on Halloween at 2:25 at Empower Field, which should be full of Halloween celebrating fans.

All in all, we are inching back towards normalcy and it looks like a pretty nice weekend to be out and about.

Whatever you decide to do, please do it safely and have a Happy Halloween 2021.

Denver Performing Arts Reopening

After a long 18-month hiatus, the Denver Performing Arts Center (DCPA) has reopened as of October 5th.

With a holiday slate planned for the winter, they are currently building up to the Lion King, which opens on December 2,

The big event? Hamilton, which opens February 16 and will run until March 27, 2022.

So what do you need to know? There are new requirements for both vaccines and masks, including children under twelve needing a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours.

All adults will need to be vaccinated to attend the DCPA.

Masks are required for all audience members, and food and beverages will not be allowed inside the theater, instead offering designated areas for food and drink consumption.

The complete lowdown on the DCPA reopening and all of its requirements can be found here.

Winter Heating Bills up 54%

Yes, you read that correctly, 54%, which is a crazy number.

That is the average increase that is being projected around home heating bills this winter.

It seems the inflationary economy is impacting us all, and according to the article:

“With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas, and other fuels, the US government said Wednesday it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared with last winter.”

About half the people in our country use natural gas, with electricity running second, making up 41% of usage. Those of you heating with electricity can expect a more modest increase of 6%.

Natural gas is up to its highest price since 2014 and is up 90% over last year’s levels.

Crazy indeed.

The complete article on energy costs and what to expect this winter can be found here. 

Small Talk

“How are you”? “What about this crazy weather?” “Come here often?”

We all do this version of small talk, and studies have shown that we all hate it.

So why do we do it? How can we avoid inane conversations that add no value to either party?

Medium posted a great piece on this phenomenon that we felt compelled to share.

Evidently, most of us believe that strangers simply don’t care that much about us. From the article and the study:

“People kept conversations light-hearted because they each believed that’s what the other party wanted. They expected to “be met with blank stares and silence” if they revealed something personal. As it turned out, both parties felt the same way but held back for fear of awkwardness.”

We love stuff like this, as we hate small talk as well.

For some pointers on how to get out of this trap and engage others in a more meaningful dialogue, check out the full piece here.

We also found a nice article by business insider on tips to get past this awkward habit and it can be found here.

Here’s to trying new things with the next stranger we meet. Maybe they won’t be strangers for long.

Denver Restaurant Update

What a long road for all of the restaurants in Denver.

We have discussed the labor shortage here at length, but beyond that what is new around Denver and our restaurant industry?

Well, for starters, outdoor dining has been approved permanently.

Mayor Michael Hancock recently announced the City and County of Denver will work to create a permanent outdoor dining program in 2022 that builds off the success of temporary patios and dining space expansions throughout the city.

Great news for our restaurants and for all of us who like to enjoy the cuisine of Denver for sure.

Also, there are some new (and very brave) restaurants that have opened recently, and 5280 Magazine did a piece on 12 new restaurants to try, it can be found here.

We also ran across the 45 best dishes to try in Denver these days, and those can be found here.

We continue to support our local restaurants and hope that we can all do our part to keep them going in these tough times.

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for September were Guadalupe Caloca, Sandra Vidales, Aurora Dominguez, Josefina Quinonez, and Maria Reyes.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Isela Mendoza and Juana Olivas.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of September.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Of all the diverse celebrations in Denver throughout the year one of my favorites is Dia de los Muertos, not surprising, as it has a Mexican history.

The ritual of Dia de los Muertos, November 2nd, also known as All Souls Day, was started 3,000 years ago by the Aztecs.

When the Spaniards landed in Mexico in the 16th century they viewed it of course, as sacrilegious. Nevertheless, it has prevailed to the present day as a religious festival in parts of rural Mexico.

Celebrated now much more widely as a secular and popularized part of the Hispanic culture, Dia de los Muertos has taken on political aspects, spawned impressive literature and poetry, art, and tales of fantasy.

In Denver for instance, there is a yearly celebration at the Botanic Gardens and two days of festivities on Santa Fe Drive, appropriately.  There are many other venues.

As Denver grows, we are celebrating more traditions from other countries and from our heritage and history, and this can only  be advantageous to the vibrancy of our city.

Bee

September Newsletter 2021

Labor and Wages

What a crazy world we are living in. No one can find qualified help, yet wages are going up.

In fact, according to Forbes, wages have grown at the fastest rate in 35 years in the U.S. Yet 48% of companies are looking to hire (including Denver Concierge).

As you know, our people are what make us who we are. Many of our staff have been with us for nearly 20 years, and it’s safe to say they know how to clean houses better than anyone around. We don’t want to lose those people.

So, in the spirit of transparency, we offered our folks a very significant wage increase in August. We did this because they deserve it and also because external wage pressure is higher than we can remember.

Along with this wage increase comes a price increase. Our regular readers know that we take great pride in being open and honest about our company, and the truth is we could not absorb 100% of this increase and still run our company the way that you love.

Angela will be reaching out to each of our clients to discuss the increase and answer any questions you may have.

While we hate ever having to raise prices, this crazy economy has really left us with no choice.

As always, we appreciate every client we have and we hope that you understand what we (and most other businesses) are going through to keep our staff and our service levels.

Thank you for your loyalty and kindness during these challenging times.

Home Costs Going Up $36k

The perfect storm. Wonder why housing costs are going up? Well, besides crazy demand, there are other hidden reasons tied to the pandemic.

Our friends at Designer Premier published a great article about the “perfect storm” of events that are adding to housing costs.

From the article:

“Framing lumber prices have declined in recent weeks, but the overall prices of wood products, steel mill, copper, drywall, and gypsum used in home building continue to soar.”

“Supply chain problems delay projects and raise costs even more. Lumber cannot come down from Canada anymore, and builders have to wait for equipment to show up.”

The bottom line? Supply and demand for materials and labor are completely out of whack. On average, this is adding $36k to the cost of every home sold, which is a big number.

The full article from Designer Premier, which includes strategies to keep home constructioon costs down, can be found here.

What is “Meow Wolf”?

So, we weren’t sure what a “Meow Wolf” actually was, but we have heard so much about it we figured we better investigate and pass it along to our readers.

Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Meow Wolf is now open in Las Vegas, and most recently, Denver.

Great, you say, now what is it?

From their website:

“We create immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration.”

By collaborating with hundreds of local artists, Meow Wolf has created an immersive, artistic space, where visitors are encouraged to interact and touch everything inside what is known as Convergence Station.

The Denver Post did a complete article on the opening of Meow Wolf and it can be found here (might be paywalled).

More details of this very unique concept can be found here, on Meow Wolf’s website.

Economically, city leaders hope this will draw visitors much like Santa Fe, where the attraction has seen two million visitors since it opened in 2016.

Coloradans & Drinking

How many years of your life would you give up for the ability to have a drink?

The average Coloradan says THREE. Yes, you read that right, the average Coloradan would give up three years of their life to maintain the ability to drink.

Tops in the U.S.? Nevada, Idaho and South Carolina residents would all give up five years of their lives to keep drinking.

Also from the study and article:

Alcohol.org surveyed 3,700 people and also found one-third of respondents would also give up caffeine for life if they could keep drinking booze.

The research goes on to show 30% of people admit they ignore studies warning about alcohol health risks.”

The full study, titled “Life vs. Liquor” can be found here. 

Wow, I guess we are serious about our drinking here in the Rockies.

The complete article from Fox Denver can be found here.

Fall in Colorado

Welcome to fall, all you leaf peepers! Yes, we are right in the heart of the leaf-peeping season, and we wanted to give you some of the best places (and ways) to do it.

Fall in Colorado can be truly spectacular for the color changes and dramatic backgrounds of the mountains.

In fact, fall in Colorado has its own Twitter feed and Facebook page, #fallorado.

We found a great guide for you intrepid souls, courtesy of Our Community Now, and it can be found here.

For those of you that like to travel and view your leaves in style, 5280 Magazine put out a list of the five best train rides you can take to go see the colors, and it can be found here.

We hope you enjoy the changing of the seasons as much as we do, happy viewing!

 

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for August were Maria Zapata, Aurora Dominguez, Yesica Censo, Katherine Crespin, and Enedina Mendoza.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Laura Varela and Isela Mendoza.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of August.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

While most companies rely on feedback through client surveys or emailed questionnaires, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having our clients’ feedback unsolicited.

It seems that every interaction I have with a client ends with some form of compliment or praise for our ladies, regardless of the initial subject of our conversation.

I repeatedly thank our clients for their feedback, and I also continually thank our ladies for their hard work.

We have been fortunate in that our management style over the years has meshed well with our employee base to form not only a great company but a stellar company, with employees that truly care.

Without further ado, let me say thank you again for supporting our company and remind you that we know how lucky we are to have you.

Bee

August Newsletter 2021

COVID Update

Here we are, 18 months or so into a global pandemic.

Lots of things have changed here at Denver Concierge, and we are sure it is the same in your world. It has been a while since we communicated our COVID protocols, so we wanted to refresh everyone on what we are doing to stay on top of the situation.

In short, not much has changed here. In the time since COVID, we have yet to have any issues in your homes with COVID transmission. We have certainly had a few cases (unrelated to our workplace), but all of those folks have been cleared to return to work.

We currently have zero cases of COVID at Denver Concierge.

Our ladies will still be wearing masks and all other required personal protective equipment. We are also still taking all precautions to make sure our workforce is healthy before we send them out to you. Anyone not feeling well or exhibiting a fever is asked to stay home.

The best advice we can give to 100% ensure there are no issues going forward is to simply keep your distance from our teams. This is for the safety of both parties, as there is no 100% effective way to know if either of us might be contagious for whatever reason.

Any instructions should be given to Angela in our office and those will be relayed directly to our Team Leader in the field.

Finally, we do try to keep our website updated with any news on this front, and our current protocols can be found here.

We remain very confident in our ability to clean your home safely and without incident. If you have any questions about this or need further clarificati0n, please contact us at your convenience.

Thank you for helping us clean your homes safely and efficiently!

Top of the Town 2021

Ah yes, the best stuff in Denver. Back to our friends at 5280 Magazine who annually publish the best places in our fair city.

From culture and nightlife to dining and shopping, 82 categories in total are covered.

In fact, over 26,000 votes were cast, so this is truly a list of what “we” love in Denver.

The best burger? Well Cherry Cricket, of course! Santiago’s chimes in with the best breakfast burrito and GQue Barbeque won their category as well.

We still think it’s a bummer that they don’t list housecleaning companies in their poll, but we hope to get that changed sometime soon!

We certainly hope we would get your vote!

The complete 5280 2021 Top of the Town list can be found here.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

We are so happy that the Cherry Creek Arts Festival has returned this year, celebrating its 30th.

It will be held over Labor Day weekend, ending on Monday evening the 6th at 6 PM.

As we crawl back to normalcy, it is nice to see a Denver “staple” back in business.

There are some changes for this year to be aware of, however.

For starters, the festival has been moved from downtown Cherry Creek to the creekside area of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

More importantly, the festival is using a timed entry approach, which requires free registration via Eventbrite.

Beyond those changes, the festival will still be providing fabulous art and entertainment.

The music and entertainment schedule can be found here.

For registration information and to get your free timed entry spot, visit CCAF here.

We hope to see you there!

A Smarter Home

Just how smart is your home? We aren’t sure about ours, some days it is smarter than others.

Seriously, though, we know many of you have Amazon Alexa. Did you know that Alexa can control smart lights, switches, and plugs?

Even crazier, there are wi-fi-enabled light bulbs that can connect to your home network, with or without Alexa or the Google Assistant.

Of course, there are easy-to-use things like the Ring doorbell and Nest, but what about next-level tech? We have saved a lot of money in water by using Rachio, for example, which is a system that controls your sprinklers via an app, saving you water.

From smart lighting outside your home to carbon monoxide detectors, nearly every device in your home can be remotely controlled.

How fun to come home and have the lighting and temperature right where you want it, with your favorite music playing.

Not sure we can get something to have the wine ready, but that is another discussion.

PC Magazine did a fabulous piece on the best tech of ’21 room by room and it can be found here.

We also found a short article by TechHive that gives more insight, and it is here.

Lots of really cool stuff out there, pretty soon we will have flying cars like the Jetsons! 

U.S. Life Expectancy

For the first time in a while, U.S. life expectancy has dropped. In fact, life expectancy in 2020 was down 1.5  years, the largest drop since WWII.

Fairly obvious why this happened, as COVID-19 contributed to 74% of the decline. Not surprisingly, drug overdoses are making their way up the list as well, with more than 93,000 people dying in 2020.

We found some interesting quirks in the data that we wanted to share with you here.

From the article: “The study found the U.S. decrease in life expectancy in 2020 was 8.5 times greater than the average decrease in peer countries.”

“And the U.S. declines were most pronounced among minority groups, specifically Black and Hispanic people.”

“U.S. Hispanics — who have a longer life expectancy than non-Hispanic Blacks or whites saw the largest decline in life expectancy during the pandemic, dropping three years from 81.8 years in 2019 to 78.8 years in 2020. Hispanic males saw the biggest decline, with a drop of 3.7 years. COVID-19 was responsible for 90% of the decline among Hispanics.”

The full article by NPR can be found here.

While we weren’t surprised by the decline, the demographic breakdown was more than a little disturbing to us.

We aren’t smart enough to know the solution to these heady problems, but we do have a strong feeling that we can all do better for each other going forward.

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for July were Aurora Dominguez, Paz Jimenez, Maria Zapata, Maria Salazar, and Josefina Quinonez.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Juana Olivas and Isela Mendoza.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of July.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Almost from the beginning of the company, our image has been somewhat retro; proudly old school.

With technology leaping ahead to make lives easier we have been reluctant to partake in certain aspects of this new world.

We believe in customer contact in real-time with a real person. No bots or answering services here.

We also believe in letting the teams clean the way they have always cleaned; a full-on deep clean; you never have to worry about robotic vacuums here either.

Sometimes a little nostalgia can act as a soothing balm for the stresses of the world. We hope we are that to you.

Bee

March Newsletter 2021

One Year Ago

On March 24, 2020, the state was closed and Denver was told to “stay home”. All non-essential businesses, including ours, were closed.

It made us wonder just how this new world changed us here in Denver over the past year?

Let’s dive in. For starters, did you know that on March 20, 2020, Denver County only had 67 Covid cases? That number is now just north of 60,000.

DIA passengers dropped by 50%, and that included a Thanksgiving spike.

Bankruptcy filings were down, dropping 25% to only 8,300 over the period. This one surprised us.

How about housing? Active inventory according to the Denver Metro Area Realtors, dropped by 60%. Back in March of ’20, there were nearly 6,000 homes in inventory for sale across Denver. Today, that number is around 2,000.

Hotels have been hit hard as well, with occupancy rates currently at about 33%. It bottomed out at about 16% last April. Normal rates would be about 65% occupancy.

Lots of fascinating data, and we thank the Denver Business Journal for publishing it. The full piece can be found here. They also look at job posting data (down), restaurant reservations (down), and crude oil pricing (up).

Kind of a cool review, although most of the data is hard to look at, knowing the real impact of what we went through, and all the pain businesses and families everywhere have had to endure.

For the infographic showing the numbers we mentioned above, plus a few more, check it out here.

I think we can all agree that the last year has been one of the more challenging ones we have ever faced.

It has tested our resilience and resolve, but through it all we are still here, serving our wonderful clients. We thank you for your loyalty and for sticking it out with us!

16th Street Mall Renovation

What was once a bustling and iconic part of Denver is getting a facelift.

Our 16th Street Mall has been under fire for the past few years due to problems with homelessness, drug use, panhandling, and other unsavory behaviors.

According to the Downtown Denver Partnership, the original life span for the mall was 30 years. We now sit at nearly 40 years and most would agree the area is in need of a makeover.

Enter PCL Construction Services, the winning bidder in earning the right to design and build the “new mall”. Costs are estimated at $149M and construction won’t likely begin until the end of ’21 at the earliest.

The full description of the project by the Downtown Denver Partnership can be found here.

We aren’t sure about you, but we hope this project restores this once-proud area of our city back to its roots.

Of course, we aren’t 100% sure what a redesign and upgrade have to do with our homelessness and safety issues, but we will leave that in the hands of our elected leaders to sort out.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how they tackle this massive three-year project and if it truly delivers on its intentions.

Rockies and McGregor Square

Did you realize that Opening Day is tomorrow? This is not an April Fool’s joke, we promise.

We were surprised as well, it sneaked up on us.

So, baseball is back, and with it comes Spring, and the hope that our beloved Rockies will be contenders this year.

What will baseball look like in the mile-high city this year?

For starters, Coors Field will be allowing 21,000 fans in for each game. This is up from the original plan of 12,000 and hopefully will increase as COVID settles down.

The biggest news is the opening of McGregor Square, across the street from the ballpark. Named for former Rockies exec Keli McGregor, the mixed-use development will contain everything from residences to restaurants and bars. You can even find Top Golf hitting bays.

In short, it looks like a wonderful entertainment venue for those of us heading down to the ballpark this year.

5280 Magazine did a very comprehensive view of McGregor Square here and all that it entails. 

Now if we could only get over the trade of future Hall of Fame player Nolan Arenado to the Cards.

That one might take some time to recover from.

Enjoy the festivities!

Life Expectancy 

If you are a regular reader of our newsletter, you know we love to see where we rank as a region in various categories.

When we saw life expectancy by state, we had to share.

Colorado is used to being in the top-ranked places in most categories, and life expectancy is no different.

Overall, we came in 8th. Male life expectancy in our fine state is just under 78 years. Women actually rated just a bit higher, coming in 7th at an 82.3 average.

Even more fascinating are the ends of the spectrum.

Hawaii, for example, where men live until 81, and women until 84, both rank first.

The other end? West Virginia. Both men and women ranked 51st, with men averaging 74.4 and women 77.3.

We aren’t drawing any inferences about what that all means, only that we are fairly healthy here in the Rockies.

Finally, in a rare occurrence, life expectancy in total dropped by a full year, largely due to COVID.

The article from CNN can be found here, and the full table from the CDC (for you stat geeks) can be found here. 

Productivity and Working from Home

Nothing like debunking a good theory.

When COVID drove us all back home for work, there was a significant shift in our worlds.

It was also a shift for our employers and/or businesses that we run. In an instant, everything changed.

Almost immediately the call came that working from home would lead to increased productivity, a happier workforce, and would be very virtuous.

While both sides of this equation have learned to make do, we came across a fascinating article that flies in the face of the “increased productivity” narrative.

Stanford Grad School of Business economist Nicholas Bloom published an article recently titled “The Productivity Pitfalls of Working from Home in the Age of COVID-19”.

From the article, “We are home working alongside our kids, in unsuitable spaces, with no choice and no in-office days,” says Bloom, “This will create a productivity disaster for firms.”

“I fear an extended period of working from home will not only kill office productivity but is building a mental health crisis.”

Wow, it seems the “experts” aren’t so sure the way that it is currently working is the best.

We aren’t smart enough about this sort of thing to know the best solution but if you want to learn more, the complete article can be found here.

 

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for February were Guadalupe Caloca, Josefina Quinonez, Maria Zapata, Paz Jimenez, and Simona Estrada.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Juana Olivas and Isela Mendoza.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of February.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Peeps!

After a 9-month hiatus, they’re back just in time for Spring.

In their 1953 debut, a Peeps chick was a handmade specialty item that took 27 hours to sculpt. Currently, they have a daily production run of 5.5 million.

You can’t escape them, and you can’t buy just one.  They come in a joined row like cutout paper dolls. The original yellow and white chicks have morphed into other colors, animal shapes, and other flavors. They have found their way into literature, art, theater, and dioramas.

PEEPS are a cheery addition to our Spring this year.   Thankfully they bounced back from the pandemic just when we needed cheering the most.

Happy Spring!

Bee

 

January Newsletter 2021

2021 Labor Law Changes

2021 is starting with a bang. Lots of labor law changes are now in effect and they will impact both employees and employers going forward.

For those of you that haven’t dug into these yet, we wanted to encapsulate them here.

First off, on January 1, Denver implemented a new minimum wage of $14.77. Mandated in 2019 by the Denver City Council, it will rise to $15.87 beginning next year. This is out of phase with the state minimum wage which is lagging behind at $12.32.

Any employee of the city or one that works in Denver will be subject to the city minimum.

Also, starting in 2021, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act or HFWA will require that Colorado employers with more than 16 employees provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work, up to a minimum of 48 hours. Those hours are immediately available once earned and can be taken in one-hour increments.

Finally, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act has been implemented and the new law prohibits paying different wages for similar work on the basis of sex, beefing up existing federal rules on the topic.

There are also new provisions protecting whistleblowers primarily related to workplace safety and health.

We do our best at Denver Concierge to take great care of our people and support their safety, families, well-being, and ability to make good wages. We hope this shows through in the quality of work we do in your homes.

We will continue to do so, along with fully supporting all the city and state requirements to benefit our associates.

A full recap of the 2021 labor law changes can be found here. 

Restaurant Update

We may have mentioned we have quite a few clients and partners in the restaurant space and they have been hit particularly hard by COVID.

You also may have heard about the new “5 Star” program that is allowing restaurants and other businesses to gradually move towards normalcy. The basics are as follows:

The 5 Star State Certification Program enables businesses that meet enhanced safety guidelines in qualifying counties and municipalities to open at a greater capacity. The voluntary program recognizes businesses that have gone above and beyond to keep their communities safe.

Further, each county or municipality can decide whether to implement the 5 Star State Certification program.

So how is it calculated?

Well, it depends firstly on the dial level of the area the business operates in. Ranging from Green (good) to Purple (Very Bad), each area has a rating.

Establishments can then apply for variances based on where they currently operate and the “dial level” around them.

They are expected to exceed normal COVID requirements, hopefully making them much safer to visit.

We are excited to see the state helping small businesses get back up and running.

While we haven’t been able to find a certified list of 5 star approved restaurants yet, we hope one is coming soon.

Meanwhile to learn more about the program click here.

Better Peace of Mind

Yes, 2020 was a bear.

There were many days when we struggled with the uncertainty, chaos, and disruption caused by COVID.

We like to think that we are mentally tough over here at Denver Concierge, but we are human and are always looking for better ways to cope.

Along that journey, we ran across a solid piece by the folks at Medium.com (one of our favorite self-help sites) about how we might obtain better peace of mind during these tough times.

One of the great concepts from the article is to focus on the stressors, not the stress.

Our minds are hard-wired to outrun animals that might be chasing us, looking for their next meal. While those were real concerns for our ancestors, they really aren’t anymore (at least for most of us hopefully).

Yet our brains are hardwired to react with “fight or flight” reactions to things that truly are not life-threatening.

We found the article informative and helpful and we sure hope you do as well.

The complete piece on psychological habits for better peace of mind can be found here.

We wish you much peace of mind in 2021.

 

2020 Words of the Year 

Want to take a guess at the word of the year in 2020?

If you guessed PANDEMIC, you are correct.

Words fascinate us and the ones that come to the forefront each year are an interesting cross-section of what is going on in our world in a given year.

We were extremely interested to read Merriam Webster’s top 12 words of the year in 2020.

Based on search history they list the most-searched-for words

How about “Kraken”? “Schadenfreude”? Those were two words that were very popular, mainly thanks to the Seattle hockey team calling themselves the former and for people delighting in other people’s failure for the latter.

Our guess is our tumultuous political climate pushed schadenfreude into that spotlight. Plus, as the article says, it’s a fun word to say.

In respect to Kobe Bryant (rest in peace), the word “Mamba” was the most searched word shortly after his tragic helicopter crash.

It’s a quick read but gives great insight into our culture and the words we use in our daily lives.

The full article can be found here, and we are sure hoping that words like “vaccine” and “normalcy” are popular this year!

101 Ways to Enjoy 2021 in Colorado

Wait, isn’t there a pandemic going on?

Well, yes, it technically is still here, although we are making progress. Knowing that, what can we do safely and enjoyably in our wonderful state in 2021?

The nice people at 5280 Magazine published some great ideas in their article titled “101 Things to Do in Colorado This Year”.

Everything from adventure-packed road trips to cool classes you can take, the list is diverse and comprehensive.

Besides, if you are like us, we are ready to get out of the house at least a little bit (socially distanced of course).

Did you know, for example, that Denver has a “beer spa”? For $89 you can soak in a tub of unfermented beer. We aren’t sure about the health benefits of this but may just have to go see for ourselves, mainly because it involves the word beer.

Some great ideas to put a dent in the repetitive boredom of home confinement.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, the complete list can be found here.

Annual Award Winners

We are super excited to announce our annual winners for Team Leader and Cleaning Associate of the year.

First, our monthly award winners for December were Rosario De La Rosa, Paz Jimenez, Martha Garcia, Simona Estrada, and Juana Luna.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Laura Varela and Rosa Chavez.

Now, drum roll please…..

Our winner for best Cleaning Associate in 2020 is Maria Zapata. Runner up goes to Aurora Dominguez.

Our top Team Leader for 2020 goes to Socorro Ibarra. Our runner up is Juana Olivas.

It was a close race and one that was determined over only 9 months (thanks COVID) rather than the usual 12.

We continue to be grateful to you for allowing us into your lives during these challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for 2020, the year of COVID.

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Denver Concierge is a Green Certified Company.

This makes us a bit old fashioned, as we don’t use harsh chemicals or cleaning methods. Our cleaning is meant to be thorough and yet preserve what we clean, whether furniture, carpets, keepsakes, or collectibles.

We are not alone with our preservation mantra.  There is a local contractor who has bought several rundown houses in one area of the city and surprisingly renovated them, rather than razing them, preserving history with a touch of progress.

His current endeavor is a hundred-year-old church which he has somehow managed to convert to inconspicuous condos without changing the street view.

Preservation teamed with artistry and imagination. A good roadmap to the future.

November Newsletter 2019

Holiday Schedule & Happenings

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! We want to take this time to say thanks to all the wonderful clients, associates and partners that make our lives better every day.

This year we will be closed on Thanksgiving, November 28th and the following Friday the 29th. We will also be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the 24th and 25th of December respectively.

In this month’s newsletter, we are focused on ways to make your holiday season better. From living green in the winter to holiday stress management we want to try and contribute to making this season the best ever for you.

We feel y0ur stress with holiday parties, cleanings, and the challenges that weather brings this time of year.

We promise to do our best to keep your homes sparkling clean so you have one less thing to worry about.

Thank you for your business and your faith in allowing us into your homes each day.

We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving and a stress-free December with friends and family.

Winter Fun in Denver 

One of the things that we love about Denver is all the wonderful things to do year-round.

For you holiday lights lovers, there are fun things like the Denver Zoo lights, the Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens and the 9 News Parade of Lights.

Of course, the Colorado Ballet is performing the Nutcracker over the holidays, which usually gets us in the spirit!

Don’t forget the Polar Express train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum, which is a great time for the kids.

For the adults in the crowd, CU South is hosting Movie and Martinis, where you can drink your stress away and watch Christmas Vacation with your friends.

These are just some of the fun events in Denver this holiday season. For a complete list, visit the folks at Denver.org here.

Denver Housing Downturn?

All good things must come to an end. Or at least that is what we have heard.

Most of you probably have not-so-fond memories of the 2008 housing downturn. Hard to believe that was over 10 years ago.

It hit us hard, but as you can see from the graph above, we have rallied as well as any market in the United States….so what now?

Many experts have speculated on what might happen in hot housing markets like Denver‘s.

The folks at Redfin published a great article about housing bubbles and the likelihood of a downturn in the near future.

Fortunately, Denver is outside of the top 10 areas to be concerned with, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods.

To learn more and to see the cool interactive chart, visit the full report here.

Holiday Coping Skills

We have covered some fun things for you to do this winter, but what about those of us that get stressed at the holidays?

We read a study that 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas entirely.

Nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling “extreme stress” come holiday time, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association. Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51 percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”

So how do we cope?

We found a nice list from the folks at the Mayo Clinic (they are super smart) here.

Our favorite site that we found is chock-full of tips about how to beat the holiday doldrums. They cover everything from mindfulness to healthy boundaries. We found it useful and it can be found here.

Here’s to a low-stress holiday season this year!!

Green Living this Winter

By Guest Columnist Frances Black

When the thermometer plummets, challenges abound for keeping your green-cleaned house environmentally friendly. In Denver, where the weather changes in an instant, these challenges are amplified. A few steps can help

1. Be window wise. During the day, open curtains on south-facing walls to let in the warmth. At night, close them. Consider using thermal curtains.

2. Chill out. When you’re asleep or away, lower your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees. A smart thermostat makes this easy.

3. Plug the leaks. Caulk and weather-stripping stop heat loss from doors and windows. Don’t forget to look for leaks around utility cut-throughs, chimneys, and recessed lights.

4. Service your system. Clean your furnace or boiler and replace filters now. Keep flues and wood-burning fireplaces clean. Close the damper when not in use. Purchase grates of C-shaped metal tubes to circulate the fire-warmed air. Shut the doors and lower the thermostat to 50 and 55 degrees.

5. Drain the sprinkler system. Denver’s lawn watering restrictions are in effect from May till October. But a frozen pipe can send water gushing into the street, resulting in a fine and wasted water in the winter. Turn the sprinkler system off and drain all pipes.

For more tips, download the Energy Saver Guide. Going green this winter can save you a lot of green in the long run.

Monthly Award Winners

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for October 2019.

Our top Cleaning Associates for the month were Aurora Dominguez, Maria Zapata, Josefina Puga, Josefina Quinonez and Paz Jimenez.

In the Team Leader ranks, our top Team Leaders were Rosa Chavez and Socorro Ibarra.

Thanks to all our team members for their hard work, and a special thanks to our award winners!

Congrats ladies!

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon it seems to me that Thanksgiving is losing its pride of place in our holiday roster.  It’s but a shadow of its former self; more a stepping stone to Christmas than a stand -alone celebration.

Granted, the traditional Thanksgiving didn’t incur a lot of spending, which may have made it less exciting. Basically, food and travel, which I always equated in my mind with family.  Food plus travel equals family gathering.

Black Friday has shifted closer and closer, impinging on the long languid feast and after dinner nap in favor of – once again – spending.

I see a future where we just grab a turkey leg at the courtyard in the mall and keep on going.  Until then I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving!!

Bee