By Jennifer Pund
When Gene Brown first visited Central City with his son, it took his breath away, literally. He fell in love with the town, but had a hard time breathing walking the steep streets. He felt that if he had issues, others probably did, too. Working with local partners, Brown now helps others eliminate symptoms of altitude sickness, hangovers and stress with oxygen at the Mother Lode Oxygen Bar.
Three years after his first visit, Brown made the move to Central City from Kansas City, but he was again hit with the symptoms of altitude sickness. “I was really sick when I first moved here in August,” he said. Suffering from nausea and other altitude-related symptoms, he found solace with oxygen.
“I found an oxygen bar in Breckenridge and went there and it immediately cured me,” Brown said. Now, he enjoys using the therapy for relaxation and helping others find relief.
Brown, a retired marketing professor, first heard of the therapy from students who were required to research current events in marketing. “It started from a student and I just read up on it. I learned a lot more from my students than I probably taught them,” he said.
Since opening in early December, Brown reports that about half his customers have been in for altitude sickness and the other half have found benefits for relaxation or to lessen the symptoms from a hangover. “It’s really good for guys like me who are used to the altitude, but like a drink or two. We have a hangover special 10 a.m. to noon everyday,” he said. The Central City Oxygen Wake-Up includes coffee, hot chocolate or juice and a pastry along with a 30-minute session with a choice of aroma for $10. The all-natural, organic aromas vary from cherry and gardenia to cinnamon and vanilla. Orange and wintergreen are also available. If you need something on the go, they carry Boost Oxygen canisters for only $15.
Brown was attracted to the building at 109 Eureka St. due to its proximity to the Opera House, Teller House, Visitor Center and Ermel’s Emporium Thrift Shop, plus it had a living area upstairs. Being in downtown Central City, Brown has met many locals and has found support in the thrift shop and the Visitor Center. “I have made it a point to meet the volunteers and they have been telling visitors about us,” he said. “It’s been really good for referrals.”
In support of other local businesses, Mother Lode displays the work of local artist, and owner of Mountain Goat Gallery, Mary Bell. Brown frequents local establishments and claims the local ghosts don’t bother him. “I walk all over downtown, I just love it here. And the ghosts don’t disturb me, I think they’re too afraid.”
Mother Lode Oxygen Bar will soon be sharing space with Eureka Supply Company, the latest marijuana store approved in Central City. Although a partition is in, a limited access room created and licenses approved, the dispensary won’t be open for business until about mid-January.
“We wanted to open on New Years Day, but we will be a few weeks after that, being realistic,” Brown said. Issues with the point-of-sale system and the lag time for signing up with the state and receiving product has created the delay. “Once we get the P.O.S. system in place, we can’t order any product until we are tied into the state’s inventory system. It will then take about a week to get us hooked up.”
With an intention of being heavily involved in the community, Brown has talked to Chuck Spencer, owner of Central City KOA, about a take-back program. Spencer has noticed with legalization there has been an increase of marijuana items left on his counter or thrown in the trash by out-of-state patrons. In an effort to keep the substance out of kid’s hands, the two will develop a system for proper disposal. “ We have yet to work out the details, but we have to dispose of it legally. Obviously, you can’t resell it and you can’t offer refunds,” Brown said.
The Mother Lode Oxygen Bar is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will eventually be the waiting room for Eureka Supply Company, providing oxygen needs for visitors and a relaxing way to spend your time waiting to make a purchase.
Mother Lode Oxygen bar is located at 109 Eureka Street in Central City. For more information call 303-325-5392 or visit www.mloxygen.com or find them on Facebook.
Originally published in the January 2015 issue of the MMAC Monthly