Paige Piper Leads Localworks to Renewed Success

Paige Piper walks along the golf course at the Applewood Golf Course on Sept. 21. Photo: Guy Namiach

Paige Piper stood on the Applewood Golf Course on Sept. 21, watching the sun rise behind dozens of players gathered for Localworks’ first-ever golf tournament, and knew she had succeeded. 

A year and a half since Piper had taken over as Localworks executive director, it was a huge victory to see so many people come out to support the organization, she said. 

“I just feel very personally attached to this mission and Localworks has grown a lot,” Piper said. “I’m really proud of everything that we were able to do in the past year.”

Piper set out to completely rebrand the Wheat Ridge nonprofit, which supports business and residents to create a vibrant local network, and recenter its mission to be more suited towards community needs and challenges. As the organization heads into the new year, Piper is grateful she can give back to the community that raised her. 

As a Wheat Ridge native, Piper saw the city evolve from an older, quieter town where the only thing to do on a Friday night was to go bowling at the former Gold’s Marketplace, to one with a lively downtown, flourishing small businesses and scenic parks. 

But the city retains a small-town feel that helps people know they are part of a community that cares for them, Piper said. 

“Wheat Ridge is a place that if someone needs help, someone will help you here, and I think that’s the part that hasn’t changed that still makes this place special,” Piper said. 

Since graduating from Colorado State University in 2017 with degrees in Journalism and Media Communication and Business Administration, Piper has been involved in Colorado’s nonprofit sector. But when she got the chance to come back and work in Wheat Ridge and give back to her community, she jumped at the chance. 

For Tadd Overstreet, board chair of Localworks, Piper was a “wow” candidate for the position because of her commitment and passion for the organization’s mission, he said. 

Leading an organization like Localworks is unique because of the wide array of stakeholders and opinions involved in their work, but Piper has been able to combine all of those perspectives into projects that make significant progress, Overstreet said. 

“To stitch all those things together is not an easy task, and she does it flawlessly,” he added. 

When Piper came into the position, she felt like Localworks needed to reestablish its identity after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think Localworks was trying to be everything for everyone, and that just unfortunately, as great as that sounds, you can’t make it work,” Piper said. 

The team reevaluated their goals, landing on three central pillars to guide their mission: Revitalization, economic development, and arts and culture. Piper spent 30 hours per week meeting with city council members, residents and Wheat Ridge business owners, discussing how Localworks could better serve the community. 

“She immersed herself in this community and connected,” Overstreet said.  “She has all of the fun conversations and is more than willing to have those challenging conversations.” 

The team decided to focus less on business-to-business networking and more on connecting residents to businesses, helping local establishments thrive by focusing on central business areas like Ridge at 38 and Subarea 44. 

This year, Localworks launched a new website and an interactive internet application called Explore Wheat Ridge that lets users explore Wheat Ridge’s history to earn rewards that they can redeem at local businesses. 

In 2024, Piper is excited to open the Clear Creek Makerspace where residents can launch their entrepreneurial endeavors. Localworks is also offering more micro-grants for local businesses, and is creating a Community Block Party Library in the Makerspace with items like tables, chairs, inflatable movie screens and yard games that residents can check out to host block parties. 

Piper’s ambition and determination are exceptional, said Adison Wash, marketing and community relations assistant at Localworks. With her leadership, Wash feels that Localworks has been able to successfully establish its niche in the community and prioritize their most important projects. 

“​​It’s been really cool to be a part of that growth, and to be on the team that gives all of these really cool opportunities now,” Wash said. “I feel like we’re constantly needing to prove ourselves time after time, and I think that was Paige at the forefront of it, we’re able to do that.”

When Piper thinks about Wheat Ridge, she sees a city full of amazing potential that will raise another generation of kids who will see their hometown evolve as they grow up — just like she did. 

“I’m a big believer that your community grows you,” Piper said. “It’s a way for me to give back in the most special way possible, to give back to the community that made me who I am, and selfishly, it never feels like work.”

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