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New owners of Denver hydroponic farm vow to grow business

"It was our baby, so selling it was bittersweet"

By early 2020, Lauren Brettschneider and Jake Olson knew they had to sell Rebel Farm, their hydroponic farm in southwest Denver, in order to keep the business alive. “It got bigger than us, and we knew it,” Brettschneider said.

Shortly thereafter, the pandemic set in, and “we really just didn’t financially have the means to continue on or make it better,” she said. One pending deal fell through. By the end of the year, however, greener pastures had arrived. One Dec. 23, the pair sold the business and its property at 5445 W. Evans Ave. for $1.25 million, according to public records.

Business partners Tyler Weston and Scott Kilkenny, who purchased the property as KW Farms LLC, said in an email that they “are committed to growing the business” and want to invest in the future of sustainable agriculture.

Bittersweet sale
The leafy greens and herbs at Rebel are grown in an approximately 15,000-square-foot greenhouse. The 1.3-acre property also has 5,000 square feet of warehouse space on it. Brettschneider initially leased the property in the Harvey Park neighborhood, but then purchased it in February 2017, paying $900,000, according to public records.

In early 2020, having decided to sell, Brettschneider listed the property and business for $1.6 million, she said. She received an offer from a local nonprofit, but when the pandemic hit, it fell through and she decided to wait.

BusinessDen reported in June that Rebel Farm was on the market once again, this time for $1.39 million, excluding the business. Brettschneider said the buyers purchased the business and property at her “bottom price, but it was worth it to see our legacy carry on.”

“It’s a blessing that we owned the real estate,” Brettschneider said. “I’m not sure how we would have managed to get out of anything if I didn’t.” The pair helped the new owners transition into the greenhouse, but will no longer play a role in the business. For now, they said they plan to relax without the responsibilities that come with business ownership.

“When we started in 2014, it was kind of the most exciting time of our life, and, of course, nothing went the way we thought, as things do,” Brettschneider said. “But we kept going, and we built a brand, and that’s something we will be proud of forever. It was our baby, so selling was bittersweet".

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