Mark and Sarah Hammer, owners of The Adventure Company, strive to provide the complete package for their patrons, which is why they are opening Station 24; completing a comprehensive package of goods and services. For the Hammers, it isn’t just about rafting, but about the big picture.
“We’re trying to really think about what their experience is all about, see it through their eyes, and provide that.” Mark Hammer pointed out. “
The Hammers already provide outfitting and guide services for white water rafting, and guest lodging options at A Riverhouse Lodge. Opening Station 24 at 12867 US-24 in Johnson Village, next door to their outfitting and guide services business, just made sense to them.
“I’m aware that in this industry, providing everything your customers want is very powerful,” said Mark Hammer, who has more than 30 years of experience in the white-water rafting industry. “There are other things that [patrons] want and need in conjunction with their rafting experience. We aren’t just trying to give people a splash in the face.”
Station 24 has been serving patrons since mid-winter. The Hammers wanted to have a soft-opening in order to iron out any wrinkles in their business before the busy season starts in May.
Offering a variety of food and beverage options, Station 24 is ready to serve rafting patrons returning or embarking on their trip, explains Hammer. It also is a stop for those making their way through Johnson Village en route to enjoy any of the various opportunities offered in the Arkansas Valley.
“If you’re just passing through you can grab a little refreshment; a coffee and a muffin while you’re passing on through,” said Hammer. “That’s what we are seeing a lot of – people that regularly pass through here that say, ‘this is perfect for us.’”
The gas station-themed Station 24 (which is what it was in its previous life) is a one-stop-shop for coffee drinks, beer, wine, and grab-and-go sandwiches. With three retro seating booths inside and a large outdoor seating area, Station 24 has plenty of space to accommodate the busy summer season.
“Everything’s ready when you walk in. You can grab a breakfast burrito, choose a sandwich, choose veggies, choose chips, drinks and coffee,” said Hammer. “We also make some of our own pastries. Our cookies, brownies, and muffins have been selling really well.”
Mark Hammer renovated much of the building himself and had Station 24 ready to serve in less than a year. Currently, the Hammers are in a rent-to-own contract with the property owners.
“It was boarded up for about ten years,” said Hammer. “Our neighbors, Doug and Cindy, they bought it. They came to us and said, ‘Do you guys want to do something here?’ It was a team effort, between [Doug and Cindy] and us, to get [the building] up to speed.”
Hammer emphasized how critical local individuals and businesses are to the establishment of Station 24, and its potential.
“Our coffee roaster, Mountain Phoenix from Salida, is really outstanding. Our coffee drinks are outstanding,” said Hammer. “Some of our pastries we get from Danielle Anderson’s Bird and Mouse Bakery. We love working with her.”
Station 24 features a wide variety of local beer and wine, as well as out-of-state labels. Wine options will primarily focus on popular California wines, while beer selections will highlight Colorado and local brewers.
“We will have a tasting room from Frisco-based Hyside brewery, featuring three to four of their beers on tap,” said Hammer. “Other choices will primarily be from Chaffee County and other Colorado breweries.”
The Hammers hired four full-time staff members to operate Station 24. They include Shelby Goehl, who manages Station 24, bringing barista expertise to the café.
“She’s been recognized as the best barista in Buena Vista,” said Hammer with a laugh. “She’s well known in this area and is a great person. She’s got mad coffee skills.”