With hopefully more companies to come!

Colorado is known for a few different industries -- from major wheat farming operations on the eastern plains to fast-casual chains that caught on like wildfire. There's even a few out there that call Denver "the Houston of the West" because of all the oil & gas companies drilling in the Niobrara-DJ Basin just north of Denver, and the tech industry seems to be attracting people like no other. High-end small-plate restaurants are on the rise, breweries are spreading like dandelions, and then? There's actual weed. Meanwhile, coffee shops sporting a sanitary design and plenty of reclaimed wood prepare pour-over coffee for the person creating a quasi-workspace in the corner.
So what are we trying to say? That Colorado is exploding with economic growth (which is obvious), but did you know that there are a lot of big companies that got their start in Colorado, too? Companies like:

1. Coors

This one's obvious, but in the interest of being thorough, we had to include it. Founded in 1873, Coors features the largest single-site brewery in the world. companies

2. Chipotle

Founder Steve Ells is a CU grad with a Bachelor's in Art History. After graduation, he decided to pursue the culinary arts, and you know the rest. companies

3. Leprino Foods

Founded in Denver by Mike Leprino in 1950, this family-owned handmade cheesemaker now sells more than a billion pounds of cheese per year and is the 165th largest privately held company in the United States. companies

4. RE/MAX

RE/MAX has called Denver home since 1973 and currently has more than 100,000 agents in 6,800 offices throughout 100 countries. companies

5. Samsonite

Founded in Denver in 1910 by luggage salesman Jesse Shwayder, the luggage manufacturer used to employ 4,000 people in Denver. It has since been bought and sold a few times and now calls Massachusetts its American home and Hong Kong its financial home. [caption id="attachment_22185" align="aligncenter" width="423"]companies Photo: Pinterest[/caption]

6. Noodles and Company

Conceived by ex-Pepsi marketing executive Aaron Kennedy, this Broomfield-based bombshell (originally founded in Cherry Creek) serves noodles in the fast-casual fashion at 410 locations across the country. companies

7. Qdoba

Where there's Coke there's Pepsi. No longer headquartered in Denver, the first Qdoba opened way back in 1995. companies

8. Crocs

It just goes to show that any idea (no matter how odd!) is worth trying. The foam clog -- and 2006-2009 sponsor of the Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour -- was started just north of Boulder in Niwot, Colorado.

companies

9. Spyder ski apparel

Leave it to a Canadian ski champion to know exactly what skiers need. Founder David L. Jacobs started the business as a mail-order gig from his kitchen in Boulder. Now it's the official supplier to the U.S. Ski Team and sells products around the world. companies

10. Gates Corporation

Born in 1910 and raised in Denver, the Gates Corporation is a manufacturer of power transmission belts and fluid power products. Though the Denver factory has since been torn down, the company currently employs 14,000 people around the world and its corporate headquarters are still here. companies

Want to hear more about what's going on in Colorado? Did you hear about the plan for Hanging Lake?