A bank well known to customers in Colorado’s rural and mountain communities is finding a new home in Longmont.
Today, High Country Bank is opening a branch at 110 Main St., on the first floor of the South Main Station apartment complex between First and Second avenues.
“We think we have a pretty great location. We looked at a lot of options, and this is the one we fell in love with,” said Lisa Hamilton, High Country Bank’s branch president for Longmont.
The oldest bank in Colorado, with roots that date back to 1886, was looking to expand beyond locations like Salida, Buena Vista, and Canon City. Elements of its physical location highlight this expansion.
“This space is very different than some of our other branches. They’re in mountain communities, and branches are large but cabin-feeling. Being in a downtown is new for us, and we brought some wood elements into the branch but in a way that fits in with a downtown feel,” Hamilton said.
Longmont was picked as the bank’s first Front Range location partly because of the city’s strong economy, diverse population and primary employers, Hamilton said.
The way Longmont’s business community works together was another draw for the bank. Its location consultants appreciated how economic development agencies support Longmont’s small, medium and large businesses, she said.
“I have found that, in my experience, those organizations don’t always collaborate. They’re not always running in the same direction,” Hamilton said. “One of the things we liked about Longmont is that everyone is working towards common objectives.”
Longmont Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kimberlee McKee praised the bank’s coming to South Main Station and the First and Main Transit Area as key to the city’s continued growth.
“Having a financial institution place roots there is important as we continue to grow this area as a great place to live, work and play,” she said.
The business community’s cooperative spirit also is key to that growth, she said.
“When the Advance Longmont partner group was formed, everyone began working together to really foster the business and economic growth of Longmont. Now, Longmont businesses have a network of resources that work together to troubleshoot resources and bolster success, giving our community an edge,” she said.
Although Hamilton and her staff are excited to start serving customers, COVID-19 has delayed the timing of their first day.
“We’re waiting to make sure all staff is healthy and that we’ll get the support from our corporate office when we open. My worst fear is that we’re going to open and then have to close again,” she said.
The pandemic also is affecting the way the bank plans to celebrate when it puts out the welcome mat. While it would typically have an in-person event with food and giveaways, Hamilton recognizes this year isn’t the best time for a party. Instead, the bank is holding a softer opening and looking for ways to give back, something that’s especially fitting during the holiday season.
It is working with some Longmont-based nonprofits to support them, possibly through things such as food, toy or gift drives or fundraising efforts similar to those at some of the bank’s other branches.
Although the banks’ opening may be quieter than she’d like, Hamilton said she is looking forward to starting to serve this new market.
“We’ve created a really great team for this branch. They appreciate what High Country has to offer, and I’d like to encourage everyone to come in to meet them,” she said.