This town of Evergreen has been steadily sculpted by devout resolution, stamina and an inexhaustible effort to care for others. Although originally from Newport, Oregon, Dana Snider is one of those women who straight up belongs here, and her history proves it.
Among her many talents, Dana always seems to stay abreast of general and practical first-hand knowledge about Evergreen and the surrounding area. She says if anyone wants to know what’s going on, they come to her.
Her migration to Colorado didn’t begin until after she had taught elementary school in Kansas. Initially brought up by her mother and grandparents, Dana learned early that if you want something you must work hard for it. This belief system came as an inheritance, for the entire family unit has remained tight; and they continue to work diligently with one another, even today.
Dana is the oldest of three sisters, one of whom moved to Kittredge with friends in the 1980s and opened Mark Singer’s – the kind of eatery popular with locals and that tourists love to discover. Located just east of Evergreen along Hwy. 74, it was said to have been an instant triumph, known for “good food and plenty of it.” A former patron described it as “overflowing on a Sunday morning when area residents waited in line for a table.”
Borrowing her grandmother’s favorite name, her sister opened another restaurant called Blooming Idiots – a place flooded with the friendly, colorful, outgoing character of its operator, catering to locals and offering abundant portions. It wasn’t long after when Dana took a year’s sabbatical from work and joined her. She literally fell in love with the area on first sight. As it turns out, that was 25 years ago and there’s never been an inclination to go back or to travel on. With the two girls working night and day, the restaurant caught on; and success found its way to the tenacious duo.
Blooming Idiots did well until their building was sold and they were forced to move out. Undaunted, Dana immediately rose to the occasion and began a search for a well-needed enterprise the community would support. The end result was Gone Bananas, Tans and Rags, and was located above the Raccoon Tavern in Kittredge.
The business proved to be the beginning of a career in consignment sales and tanning for Dana. For awhile she was co-manager of the Evergreen Animal Protective League (EAPL ) thrift store, but a change in lifestyle and a drive for greater satisfaction led her back to Kittredge and an unplanned return to her previous location and business. With the intent to recreate Blooming Idiots and combine it with her other enterprises, she acquired a duplex known for the Indian spirit that haunted it.
Because of the 2011 listeria outbreak involving cantaloupe, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations dictated that all well water had to be chlorinated and repeatedly tested for the deadly bacterium. The costly and time-intensive procedure stopped Dana cold in her tracks, giving her no choice but to let go of her dream to recreate the café.
Dana has re-established herself and is currently making a go of another resale shop and tanning spa. But, that’s not the end of it. Because of her being up-on-the-latest around town, she was a natural for tending bar at the Elks Club twice a week. This warm hearted, easygoing woman mixes with the public like sugar mixes with water. Speaking from behind a huge smile, she admits she never meets a stranger.
Mostly though, she considers her store to be a dream come true and cherishes the fact that it sits right on Bear Creek. In fact, its picnic tables and barbeque pits make an ideal gathering spot and she often rents the backyard for various functions.
She insists that everything she touches be filled with peace and good will. Within her shop she keeps a black elephant facing her door and a ship facing inward as though it has reached port. In front of the store you will find large stones painted gold – all spiritual representatives of good faith.
Yes, Dana’s persistence is remarkable, and she never misses the opportunity to address its origin. She maintains, “Hard work runs in the family” and she gives her family all the credit for her successes.