Learning from the Curtis

The Curtis is in downtown Denver, CO

The Curtis is in downtown Denver, CO

The team recently stayed at the eclectic Curtis hotel in Denver, Colorado where every floor has a different theme, the elevator talked, and games from a bygone decade scatter the lobby. Although the hotel was definitely a unique experience, I think that beef consumers and producers can both learn a few things from the Curtis.

Pieces of a Whole

Every floor at the Curtis was themed differently. For example, I stayed on the “Fun and Games Floor” where Rubik’s cubes and other game-inspired art decorated the walls. What does this have to do with beef? The beef industry is segmented into different phases of production such as cow-calf producer, stocker and feedlot and although these phases are often drastically different than others, they are still a part of the overarching beef industry and must work together. So as cattle go from phase to phase, or floor to floor, it’s important to keep the big picture, or hotel, in mind.

In the same sense, the different floors can be analogous to the choices consumers have in the meat case. Although traditional, grass-finished, organic, non-hormone treated and branded beef are all distinctly different from one another, they still comprise pieces of the whole beef industry and should be viewed as such.

Every floor at the Curtis is themed differently - like this dun dun dunnn!! themed floor.

Every floor at the Curtis is themed differently – like this dun dun dunnn!! themed floor.

Speaking Out

The elevator at the Curtis announces a particular floor’s theme. While a talking elevator is startling at first, it shows the importance to speaking out and knowing what to expect. Beef producers need to speak out about their operation and announce to interested consumers what exactly farmers do so their questions can be answered. At the same time, consumers need to speak out to producers about their questions and concerns so the farmer can know what the consumer expects.

Old Doesn’t Mean Outdated

Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots were in the lobby of the Curtis for guests to play with.

Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots were in the lobby of the Curtis for guests to play with.

The lobby of the Curtis had games such as Rock’em Sock’em Robots and Monopoly to play with and a lava lamp in the corner. While it was fun to play with these games for the first time in a long time, I think these olden games prove that age doesn’t correlate with obsolete. Many production practices in beef are old, to say the least, but still work remarkably well. Not to say new practices shouldn’t be explored, but progress for the sake of progress doesn’t always result in improvement. Whether that’s new by-products or rations for feedlots or new choices in the beef case, new shouldn’t be equated with superiority, but rather simply another choice.

It might seem counterintuitive, but there is a lot beef producers and beef consumers can learn from the Curtis hotel.

Will Pohlman

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