There are some people who just know how to do it right. Cliff Bowran is one of those people. He spots opportunity, grabs it and makes the best of it, leaving him an easy-going guy with a great demeanor.
Owner of Conifer Kitchen Design and Branches Cabinetry & Design, Cliff was born and raised in Cleveland but finished high school in Houston. After beginning college he took a hiatus and was a roustabout on an oil rig. With his signature smile he said, “I thought, I don’t want to do this.” He happened upon a photo book of Colorado that his mother had on her coffee table and liked what he saw. Better yet, his brother was living in Breckenridge at the time. It seemed like a pretty good opportunity so he headed to the Colorado mountain town.
Cliff took a job at the Climax mine and also “was a ski bum. I would work seven days on and seven days off. With swing shifts, I had the whole day free to ski. For $125 season pass back then, life was pretty good.” Eventually he headed to Boulder where he not only attended business classes but also tended bar at the Boulderado Hotel. “They were just building the Pearl Street Mall when I was there,” he reflected.
He met his wife, and they traveled to England for a year. “We thought that we would work and be able to travel Europe.” He offered a wry smile as he explained that things don’t always go as planned. “We worked, but taxes took about half of everything we earned.” With an accepting and appreciative shrug he added, “We managed to explore the south of England and we made it to Paris and southern France.”
They returned to Colorado where they started their family. Cliff finds himself very fortunate that his son has settled in Boulder, his daughter in Ft. Collins, allowing him to see them as frequently as schedules allow. Cliff worked for a cabinet factory in Colorado Springs. “I was a rep’ for the company, which meant, that I got to really know pretty much all of Colorado and parts of New Mexico.” He started his own company in 2005 that allows him more time at home, but he continues to love to explore our state, especially all parts of Evergreen.
“I love to hike. I’ve explored Elephant Butte, Three Sisters, Bergen Peak…” He went on to share his recent discovery of climbing a back route to a favorite local mountain. “I do love to travel.” When his sister lived in Rome for a short time he made certain to join her. It just so happened that his brother visited at the same time. “He was a curator and a museum director with a specialty in the Renaissance. It was like having a docent with me through all the museums.”
Cliff is too humble to call himself an artist, “but I love to work in photography.” His love of art will benefit our community when, in January, he’ll take the reins at Center for the Arts Evergreen as Board President. “I was on the 2009 Leadership Evergreen team with Peggy Eggers, and she asked me if I would come park cars at Summerfest.” He grinned and added, “It’s tough to say no to that lady. Then she asked me to serve on the CAE Board.” The rest is history.
He sees that as Board President he will have “a dual mission. We want to continue to build and solidify the sustainability of the Center within the context of seeing the new building (the former Bergen Park church) become our new home. I want to do what I can do to help facilitate raising the needed funds necessary for both the building renovation and operating funds. I think that having successful events is essential to our continued success; I want to add new events.”
In addition to his involvement with Center for the Arts Evergreen, Cliff has also made Rotary a big part of his life. “I’m especially involved in the Mountain Area Home and Garden Show.” He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and supports many other nonprofits in the area. He has discovered what many parents know. “Look, for years a lot of my friends were parents of my children’s peers. When your kids move away, you find you don’t see old friends as often. By joining community groups and being involved in the community you stay connected and meet new people. It’s a great opportunity.” And taking advantage of opportunities is something that Cliff understands very well.