Curt • Owner, Smith + Canon Ice Cream Co.

Curt moved to Denver from Nebraska 15 years ago to play music and to be in Colorado, the state he’s always dreamt of living in. Today, the policy analyst turned entrepreneur is the proud owner of Smith + Canon, an ice cream and coffee shop located at York & E. Colfax. When I first visited Curt’s shop, he enthusiastically took his new guests on an ice cream journey of his exotic flavors like Foxy Brown, Butter Brickle, Thai Ice Tea, and Strawbenero. I was positive he always loved ice cream, but according to Curt, he has a passion for quality and that’s where he spends his time. In fact, making ice cream for a living is complete happenstance. Thanks to chance, the accidental creation is now a local hit drawing people of all ages. If you haven’t stopped by, you must visit and join Curt for a one-of-a-kind ice cream experience, affogatos, and coffee.

From the trailblazers in his family to the historical significance of the soda fountain at his shop, our conversation ran the gamut. But one thing Curt shared throughout our time together is that he’s razor-focused on creating a legacy and leaving something for his daughters, Smith and Canon, if that’s what they want, of course. Keep reading to learn more about Curt.

What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?

I can only be black like me, so I can’t be black like anybody else. I didn’t realize I’d only been black like me until I became an adult. For me, being black comes with all of its beauty, depth, history, and context, and I’ve always been acutely aware of that wherever I’ve been. The only difference in being black in Denver as opposed to being black anywhere to me is that I get to be black like me in the most beautiful place in the world.

So you’ve always been your true self. What are the benefits of being one’s true self?

There is a certain power and ease when you’re comfortable being yourself.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

The mountains.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

Denver has provided the perfect canvas on which I can paint a beautiful life for my family.