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Danielson Designs

Company: Danielson Designs LLC

Entry Submitted By: Nantucket Marketing LLC
Company Description: Founded in 1991 to provide employment for their economically depressed mining town, Danielson Designs is a leading designer and manufacturer of home décor, recently named “Wall Décor Company of the Year” by Gift Beat magazine. DD’s decorative sign and photo frames feature upscale design, environmentally sensitive manufacturing, and are made entirely in Trinidad, CO.
Nomination Category: Company Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program

Nomination Title: Annie and Mark Danielson Help Restore Economic Stability to their Old Colorado Mining Town

  1. Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved since January 1 2007 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

    Annie and Mark Danielson fell in love with Trinidad, Colorado because the 
    beauty of the surrounding mountains and the turn-of-the century architecture
    downtown made it a great place for them to start their family. But they
    quickly realized that this beauty masked a discouraged and depressed community.
    With the closing of the mines decades earlier, the local economy had collapsed.
    40% of locals were on government aid. Main Street was boarded up. Thus was born
    Danielson Designs. Its mission: to provide jobs for the local community and to
    help renew the spirit of their town.

    Annie designed a dozen hand-painted picture frames, which Mark crafted in the
    woodshop outside the old red barn they called home. Within 5 years, they had
    become one of the largest employers in the county. Scores of cottage painters,
    many of them young, single mothers, some coming off welfare for the first time,
    were empowered to provide for their families while working at home. Others
    learned new skills in the workshop, making eco-friendly products crafted of
    100% recycled wood, and finished using water based paints and UV inks.

    In the late ‘90’s, with increasing competition from Asia, gift and home décor
    manufacturing saw a massive exodus to off-shore factories. But Annie and Mark
    were determined to hold true to their original mission. They fine- tuned their
    strategy, enabling them to continue domestic manufacturing, building their
    community while nearly all of their competitors headed overseas.

    By 2000, local unemployment now below the national average, DD expanded its
    mission to begin to address quality of living issues downtown. They renovated
    an empty Five ‘n Dime on Main Street into Danielson Dry Goods and Cafe, which
    set the architectural precedent for retail stores and restaurants that followed
    as Main Street came to life. To help the community create an anchor for
    downtown life, they helped found a repertory theatre company and remain its
    principal sponsors.

    As their company has grown, they have developed a unique profit sharing program
    where 10% of the company’s pre-tax profits are put into a virtual bucket.
    Every time it fills to $20,000 the bucket dumps and is distributed to
    employees – not based on salary or title – but on years worked at Danielson
    Designs. So a non-college educated employee in the shipping department often
    receives more profit sharing dollars than key managers, creating a sense of
    ownership, pride, and loyalty.

    As the company has grown, the Danielsons’ vision to improve communities has
    grown beyond southern Colorado. Every time the bucket dumps, Annie and Mark
    also donate $4,000 to dig a water well in Africa. In this way, a community
    across the world is built as well. In 2007, they dug ten wells, which now
    serve over 150,000 villagers.

    The Danielsons are realizing their vision to build a business that will build
    communities, not just in Trinidad, Colorado, but around the globe. We humbly
    submit this application to recognize the Danielsons with the American Business
    Award- Best Corporate Social Responsibility program for under 100 employees.

  2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:
    (A comprehenisve list of their awards and press)

  3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:

    Before founding Danielson Designs, Mark built custom furniture. Annie was a 
    product developer. Together, they turned their gifts and passions into a
    business to serve their community.