A sign of the tines | PostIndependent.com

A sign of the tines

John ColsonPost Independent staffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

“May The Fork Be With You.”The company’s slogan – a play on a famous phrase from the Star Wars movie series – “always makes people laugh,” said Tracy Stramski, co-owner of a small, young Glenwood Springs business called Keep Your Fork.But it also stops people in their tracks long enough to get them thinking about the concepts behind the business, which touch on economic development and being ecologically sensitive in one’s daily activities.And it all revolves around a fork, a spoon and a napkin.Stramski and her business partner, Liza Fulton, are a pair of entrepreneurs who share office space at 817 Colorado Ave. They each have their own businesses – Insurance & Wellness in the Rockies for Fulton, and Colorado Mountain Enterprises, a bookkeeping firm, for Stramski.Fulton and her husband, David, also runs the Best Kept Secret Bed & Breakfast, also on Colorado Avenue in Glenwood Springs.Through their joint business, however, they sell a novel, eco-friendly item called a Keep Your Fork Kit. It’s a cloth napkin with a pocket that holds a pair of stainless steel utensils, a fork and a spoon.The napkin-and-pocket are stitched together by a dozen or so seamstresses working from their homes from Grand Junction to Holyoke, They use a pattern developed by Stramski, the sewing expert of the business.Then workers at Mountain Valley Developmental Services of Glenwood Springs place the utensils in the pockets, roll the napkins up and package the kit in biodegradable plastic pouches.Once assembled, Fulton and Stramski sell the kits, at $15 apiece, on the web, in local shops, from crafts booths at community fairs, and anywhere they can find a market. For example, Stramski said, she will be at the Party For The Planet in Eagle on May 14, and at the Peoples’ Fair in Denver in early June.”This is our own economic stimulus act, we call it,” said Fulton, who handles marketing for the business. “Our mission is really to create jobs. And secondly, it is about recycling and ecology.” Using the Keep Your Fork kit allows people to forego throw-away plastic utensils and paper napkins.It was a brainstorm that started the business, Fulton explained. She heard a story about a woman who was dying of a terminal illness and gave instructions to her pastor about her funeral.The instructions included her wish to be displayed in her casket with a fork clutched in her hand. When the pastor asked her why, she explained, “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember when the main course ended someone would say, ‘Keep your fork.’ I knew that something better was coming, like cake or pie. “So, I want people to see me in the casket with a fork in my hand, because the best is yet to come.”Upon hearing the story, Fulton said, “I immediately had a vision that we should do Keep Your Fork kits. It’s a story of hope.”After less than a year in business, the pair have accumulated a pocketful of inspirational tales. A church bought 100 kits to help celebrate its 100th anniversary. A young seamstress signed up to make the napkins because she wanted an activity to share with her grandmother. The mother of a new baby needed a job she could do at home.”It’s been really a fun adventure,” said Fulton.The slogan, by the way, is featured on the company’s website – keepyourfork.net – along with an explanation of a symbolic hand sign to be performed while speaking the phrase, “May The Fork Be With You.”The sign “symbolizes the blessing you give from the heart,” according to the website.jcolson@postindependent.com

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