We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Leo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
Having my own business was created out of necessity of being a working mom. I needed a place where my kids could go to work with me and having my own business seemed to be the only practical way to make that possible. What I was not expecting was how it would affect them.
My kids were with me during the entire set up of my store. They sat in the store’s office and did homeschool while I painted and built shelves. They were around for all of the months of back and forth with the city and building department. They saw the times when it was tough and I felt overwhelmed, and they saw me get back up and keep fighting. I think they learned that when you believe in something, you sometimes have to fight for it. And if you dream it, you can make anything happen.
I created the store to support us as a family, but I never expected that they would gain so much from it. My son says he’s proud of me (which is adorable coming from an 8 year old) and my daughter loves to work the cash register and tell all of her friends to visit. It feels more like “our store” then “my store” and that has been the best end result!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Starting my own business was definitely a choice that was accelerated because of the pandemic. I worked in hospitality prior to starting a family, and then was a stay at home mom during my marriage. I got divorced on 3/16/20 right as the pandemic hit when there were no hospitality jobs. Plus, it would be nearly impossible for me to work most places since I had a lack of child care. When things shut down, I started to walk around my neighborhood more and wished that there were a corner store I could go to for my basics. When I saw the for rent sign in the window of the perfect location on 22nd and Lafayette St. in Denver, I knew it was the perfect place. Plus, it has an office that my kids could hang out in or use for home school if necessary.
The world seemed very bleak and overwhelming at the time, so I knew that I wanted my store to be more than a grocery store, I hoped it would bring light and happiness to people’s lives and be a gathering spot for the community. I also wanted to showcase people in the community, so there is a large focus on carrying locally made products, art, and goods. Sun Market seemed like the perfect name for all of it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love to go to City Park, so I always love to take visitors there as well. It’s great to go in the summer when Jazz in the Park is happening or anytime the swan boats are out. It’s also great for a picnic or just to walk, be active, or people watch. My other favorite thing to do within the city is to eat! There are so many good restaurants on 17th Ave.,Colfax, S. Broadway, Downtown/Union Station, Highlands, and RINO. Outside of the City, Red Rocks in Morrison and Horsetooth Reservoir in Ft. Collins are my favorite day trips.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is to my friends and family who had my back during the entire process which is a roller coaster of emotions. Starting a business is one of the hardest/scariest things you could do and having a shoulder to cry on or someone to say “you can do this” is so valuable! I send all of my love to all of you who stood by my side through all the ups and downs!
Yelp: Sun Market