Community at Its Core

Cornhole Players

Beyond expectations.

That’s how co-founder Matt Patrick describes the turnout at Boulder’s new Rayback Collective a few weeks after opening.

“We’ve been having just as many people on a weeknight as we do on a weekend night,” says Patrick as he reflects on the venue’s full parking lot, 200 bikes and over 1500 people that came through opening day.

With a staff of about 20, the main indoor space has a capacity of 332. In addition, there is an event and outdoor area. Christened opening day by Spyder Active Sports, the event space is already scheduled for a wedding reception and Bar Mitzvah.

Patrick had the original idea two-and-a-half years ago. But he’s quick to say that the team has taken the project way beyond the initial vision.

“I’ve never met three more resilient people than Justin Riley, Hank Grant and Corbin Grant. It really took the team to bring it to fruition. And now our General Manager Nicole Chamberlin came on and played a key part in hiring people and making it go.”

Co-founder Matt Patrick writes his Sunday sermon at the Rayback Collective.

Co-founder Matt Patrick writes his Sunday sermon at the Rayback Collective.

Patrick doesn’t work at the Rayback Collective. His full-time job is lead pastor at The Well Church in Boulder. “I’m a pastor with a bar. I’m just blessed that the team lets me be here and give insight and help,” he says.

The Boulder Source caught up with Matt Patrick at the Rayback on a Tuesday morning as he wrote his Sunday sermon from the couch and crews put finishing touches on the bar area.

The following responses have been edited for space.

Boulder Source: How has the turnout been?

Matt Patrick:  We sold so much beer on opening that we were calling local brewers asking for help and they were coming through on our second day. Guys like Wibby Brewing in Longmont, Avery and Boulder Beer, who are just like ‘What do you need? We want to see you guys be successful.’ And I’m leaving out 30 or breweries that also helped. It was a true community effort in just getting us beer.

We are jokingly saying we have a rotating tap list every day because we’ve been selling so much beer, right now we’re essentially taking what we can get.

Boulder Source: Is Avery Brewing a sponsor?

Matt Patrick: One of the benefits of being in Boulder is the awesome businesses that are already here. Avery is a special sponsor. We have the Avery Brewing Stage, hence the big A on it that was just installed. They’ve been a really huge supporter. I know that they are very aware of their brand and what they want to be part of and who they are, so honestly it’s just a huge honor that they would even want to be part of what we do. It’s a real community feel to make something like this happen.

Boulder Source: Why do you think this idea caught on so quickly?

Matt Patrick: This place has an ethos that people can attach to; it kind of matches why people move here. Nobody lives in Boulder by accident. People make a choice to be here. It’s a beautiful place with lots to do outdoors and great people.

And that’s what the Rayback is all about. You get to be outside where it’s gorgeous. If the weather is funky, you can come inside into a cool place that’s a repurposed existing building. But then you can go right back outside because we all know how quickly the weather changes here.

Boulder Source: What kind of plans are you making for the future?

Matt Patrick: We have so many options, but right now priority one was to get open and as you can see, we’re literally still under construction. It’s good to let the foundation settle a little bit, see what we’ve got, how can we become better neighbors, how can we serve the community better, or see if there are non-profits we need to work with. These are all things, the big things that are part of our heartbeat.

To keep this vibe up, we need to become part of the community, where the community literally would say, ‘Man, we are actually suffering because they are not there anymore.’ That would be a win for us. In so many businesses, it’s about making money, and yes, we want to do that, but it’s got to be so much more than that for a place like this.

The Boulder Source is pleased to honor the Rayback Collective as our Featured Friend for July. Opening night we captured the sights and sounds as Boulder got comfortable quickly in their new communal backyard. And we offered a glimpse into the backstory with a video interview with Marian Hejl, the granddaughter of the site’s original owner, Marion Rayback.  

To find out what is on the calendar for today,