By Angie Grenz
You only need to pause for a minute and observe the buzz surrounding Timnath to know that its growth is only just beginning. Family and upscale neighborhoods are popping up all around the little community and the Harmony exit onto I-25 is in constant use, both as a gateway into Fort Collins and for access to Costco and Walmart on the east side of the interstate.
Another telltale sign would be Timnath’s city building, fire station and planned police department. All getting upgrades from their humble beginnings. And while a trip to Timnath may not pose the culinary or shopping experience that big siblings Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland have, the small town hosts a great afternoon of unique shopping, fine brews and quirky fun.
Not ones to pass up good food when we can find it, Ashley, NOCO sales representative, and I started our tour at Backyard Bird Chicken and Donuts. Backyard Bird took third last year for best fried chicken in our Best Of NOCO survey, and the kudos are well-earned. My Nashville Hot chicken sandwich was nice and spicy, without overwhelming the rest of the sandwich.
It is evident that owner Matt Smith put a lot of thought in the details, sourcing natural and local ingredients with his house-made pickles and local brioche-style buns. The humanely sourced chicken was delicious and compelling enough to bring us back in the future, preferably on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday when we can get their freshly made donuts, too. Matt assured us he has put as much thought into the coffee he serves (Denver’s Coda Coffee) as he does his delicious food.
Satiated, we headed out to one of Timnath’s not-so-little surprises: Springhaus, a massive interior
design center that sells to designers, builders and homeowners alike. Their tagline is “everything amazing” and this is no lie. Their “playground” is a wonderland of options for the home, from sculpturesque soaking tubs to breathtaking stained-glass tiles to the utilitarian-yet-still-aesthetic commercial-style sinks.
And then there are rooms of lighting, pockets of furniture, fixtures, faucets and fireplaces. You could easily spend an hour or more decorating the home of your dreams at Springhaus. The showroom was thoughtfully designed so builders and homeowners can meet in one of their conference rooms to go over design, and they utilize several areas to host parties, networking groups and more.
After the design delights of Springhaus, we drove down Main Street. It is a quick little drive, but certainly charming in its simplicity and its neighborhood feel. Our first stop was Fine & Funky, a clothing boutique and gift store. The store features a beautiful selection of dresses, both stylish and comfortable. They also carry some Italian fashions, brought in by the owner who lived in England for a time.
The store carries gifts and clothing upstairs, with many presents geared toward babies through grade school. A favorite from our trip? Their line of stuffed plants, many succulents, which make a great gift for the plant-loving mom to be. Fine & Funky’s hours are limited: they are open the first and third Thursday through Monday of every month.
Just down Main Street is the beautiful Jesi J Salon. The salon offers hair and spa services in a stylish environment with a small clothes and accessories boutique out back. During warm months, they open their property up to the community for events with outdoor seating, lighting and firepits.
With our shopping complete, we ventured over to Timnath Beerwerks, located in the historic Colorado Feed & Grain building, where we met up with owners Valerie and Craig Miller. Long-time homebrewers and residents of Timnath, the Millers recognized that little Timnath was poised for great big growth. They decided to get in early and opened Timnath Beerwerks in 2018.
Today, they are well-known for their quality brews (they were the favorite brewery in our 2020 Best Of NOCO survey), crafted by brewer/owner Cy Bevenger, but they have also become the meeting place for residents of Timnath to catch up and hang out. They supply a rotating list of food trucks, as well, which provides a much-needed addition to Timnath’s dining scene.
On this particular sunny Wednesday, I enjoyed their FnG Hazy Ipa (which stands for feed and grain, or whatever other euphemism you can work out). It was immensely refreshing, with great lemon and grapefruit notes and a very mild bitterness (pairs well with sunshine). I took home the double dry hopped imperial version for the husband.
Next door to Timnath Beerwerks is the Publick Market Coffee House, which was undergoing some construction while we were on our visit. The business started out as a summer farmers’ market, which grew to a gift shop and eventually a coffee shop. They now offer a full breakfast and lunch menu, local artisan gifts and still host the Timnath Farmers Market every month from May to October. The Pig & The Plow bakery is moving into the Publick Market this month and will expand their food offerings. Current hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Once COVID-19 concerns are lifted, they plan to open seven days a week.
Our very last stop on our way out of Timnath exemplifies the true magic of a small town. We pulled into the Swetsville Zoo with a little bit of apprehension but left completely charmed. Though Swetsville Zoo has sat on its spot along the river far longer than most of Timnath’s neighborhoods were even a glimmer of an idea, we had sadly never pulled in to truly experience this quirky bit of folk-art magic.
After parking, we wandered around the open parts of the “zoo,” which houses not animals, but metal sculpture and whimsical creatures made of someone else’s junk. There is more than a little bit of joy that went into these creations and wandering through them provides plenty of child-like delight.
Sadly, the fate of the zoo is unknown. Owner Bill Swets, who has lived on the property for more than 80 years, put it up for sale in 2019. Likely, the parcel will be sold for redevelopment—the 36-acres are perfectly positioned just east of Costco. However, we were glad we seized the opportunity to enjoy the park before it is gone.
Timnath provided a fun afternoon for us and we are keeping our eye on it as the town continues to develop. The population sits at about 6,400 people right now, but plenty of development is on its way, including a daycare, high-end senior living apartments, a medical clinic, a combined middle and high school, a new police station and more. The Town of Timnath is also planning development in the heart of its downtown, with a public square, parking and retail.
For Timnath, development is not an if, but a when…and we are sure the next few years will see a boom of amenities heading its way.
Explore NOCO is an ongoing series featuring downtowns throughout Northern Colorado. Click here to watch the original video we filmed to complement the article.