Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Coussoules' Great Western Adventure: the Bonus Adventure

When we made our plans for the trip and the driving route clearly took us north through Colorado, we made a point of planning an overnight stop in Fort Collins to see my cousin Suzanne. Like many extended families, I don't see my cousins often enough, and we're spread out across America. As it was literally on the way from Colorado Springs to Grand Teton, it was an easy option to get together even if just for a quick meal.

Given the change in plans skipping Denver and heading straight to Fort Collins, I texted Suzanne to see if dinner together would work instead of breakfast on Sunday, and as an added bonus, I asked if we could meet at her shop.

You see, one of the items on my life list was to shop at my cousin's actual brick and mortar store, Akinz. She has an amazing line up of clothing and accessories with her trademark Akinz wings and a decidedly Colorado - specifically, Fort Collins and the snowboarding community - vibe underpinning much of her work.

It was a total thrill to drive through the Old Town Square and see the sign hanging right out front of her actual store:
Caroline wanted to know if Suzanne was famous!! In some circles, certainly she is; more than that, though, I admire her so much for her courage. Being a sole proprietor of a small business is no small feat; it is high risk, high reward, and there is no one to share the risk with when you're just starting out. But she's successfully moved from an online-only presence to a beautiful store front in downtown Fort Collins, and I couldn't be more proud of her.

Just being in the store wasn't the item on my list, though; shopping in the store was the key piece. There were cute tanks; cool slouchy sweatshirts; excellent t-shirts. Caroline chose a hand crocheted headband; John chose a hat to match my shirt.
When you know the owner, though, the storefront isn't the only part of the experience; Suzanne's employee Will gave a demonstration of the knitting machine, and then we got to go behind the counter to see the screen printing and drying set up. So much goes into the final product - it just impressed upon me, once again, exactly how gutsy it is for Suzanne to own and run Akinz.
Post-shopping we grabbed some dinner together, but headed back to the hotel pretty early to get the little man in bed for the night. The Great Western Adventure Tour is all about seeing the sights - lucky for me, I got to see the manifestation of my cousin's hard work, and crossed something off my life list, to boot.
There's more to do, more to see, and more adventures to be had, including crossing even more off of the list. Today was mostly spent driving across Wyoming, but that tale will have to wait for another time. If you've read all of my Adventure tales so far, thank you for sharing the journey with me! Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore and more await!


  1. Yay! Thank you so much! I'm honored to be included on you life list. :)