Rodeo Super Market
Rodeo Super Market, 3915 West 73rd Avenue (click for map)
The Rodeo Super Market was owned and operated by grocer Fred Valente from late 1953 until the early 1970s, when the Valente operations relocated to West 72nd and Meade Street, where they continue their grocery and Italian delicatessen business today.
In 1948, Fred Valente owned a little grocery store at West 48th and Beach Court in Denver. The Rodeo Super Market building was constructed in 1953 by Roy Barnes. Rumors flew that the new building would be a bowling alley or roller skating rink, but ultimately Barnes sold it to Fred Valente so he could expand his grocery business. So Fred Valente opened the first "supermarket" in Westminster in 1953.
It is not clear where the Rodeo name came from. Fred Valente had acreage at 78th and Bradburn that he used for his horse and cattle business. Also, rodeos were a prominent form of entertainment in Westminster at this time, according to the Westminster Historical Society. The 1940s began what was called the "horse era" in the town of Westminster. Almost everyone in town had a horse and those who didn't would throw a blanket over the fence to make people think they did. At this point the town had grown and there were complaints from citizens about kids riding horses on their lawns. The town began holding rodeos in the park in back of the fire station during World War II to provide entertainment for the young people, especially those whose fathers were in the service overseas.
Another possible source of the Rodeo name is that Roy Barnes owned the Lucky Day Ranch where horse races were held. Barnes had a rodeo equipment store at West 56th and Federal where he sold saddles, lariats and Western clothing. The Lucky Day Ranch was a horse farm at the present location of Rocky Mountain Mutual Housing on the north side of Gregory Hill, which Barnes bought from Madison Orchard when it was selling off property.
Fred Valente worked with the local farmers and ranchers to sell their fresh produce and meat. He provided grocery home delivery service to ill and elderly people and sponsored youth activities and athletic teams. Although the Rodeo Super Market was not the first grocery store in Westminster, it was considered to be very large and was much more involved in community affairs. Fred Valente was also a volunteer firefighter from 1950 to 1970. Whenever the fire alarm summoned the firefighters, he dropped his grocer's apron and ran across the street to the fire station. Fred passed away in 1972.
Source: Rodeo Super Market Historic Landmark Application (2006).
The Rodeo Market Today
The Rodeo Market was sold
in the early 1970s to Niles Dingman, who remodeled it and used it as business offices for 20 years. The City acquired the property in 2004 for use as a community arts center. It was designated a local historic landmark in 2006 and received substantial grant funding from the State Historical Fund for assessment and façade restoration.