CAÑON CITY, Colo.– Can you imagine starting your own business at the age of twelve? That’s what twin brothers, Albert and Mario DiNardo, did decades ago. Now they’re celebrating being the oldest business in Cañon City.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is the family recipe and friendly faces you’re guaranteed to be greeted by at DiNardo’s Cider and Farm Market at 1400 Royal Gorge Blvd in the heart of Cañon City.
It all began with a roadside stand where 12-year-old Albert and his twin brother, Mario, crafted their cider from cherries. That stand started out in the same spot where DiNardo’s shop still sits.
“My twin brother and I started the cherry cider business in 1941. We were picking cherries for our neighbor for 2 cents a pound. We would go there from 5:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night,” Albert DiNardo said.
“One day when we finished picking, he gave us cherries instead of money. And daddy said we have our own cherries to pick. What are we going to do with these? And I said to daddy let’s make juice out of it. And that’s how DiNardo’s cider started.”
And the rest is history! They’ve been serving up smiles and great service for 80 years. That’s why this business is a staple in Cañon City.
You’ll always get a welcoming smile from DiNardo, stepping back in time through this local treasure. At 92 years young, he never misses a day at his shop. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate about making cider.
That is unless he’s pressing cider. And yes, he still does it himself. DiNardo doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to making his special cider.
“I’m here every day at the store. Except when I’m making cider, I’m at the cider mill. I’m still making the cider. I love it. I like to make it. I feel very honored that we lasted already 80 years. And Heidi tells me I have to go 8 more years before I retire,” DiNardo said.
DiNardo’s shop wouldn’t be the same without Albert’s side-kick, Heidi Willard. She’s been helping run the shop, place the orders and everything in between for the last 15 years.
“I met Albert in 1967, and we became good friends. We treat everybody like family. It doesn’t matter if they come in for the first time,” Willard said. “I like to pick on people, and I like to tease them. And a lot of people enjoy that, and now they expect it. Everyone says they feel like are family to us.”
DiNardo’s Cider and Farm Market is one of the oldest businesses in Fremont County, and it will always have roots in Cañon City.
“I feel very proud of him, because that’s amazing. Not too many people can say that, that they’ve been doing it for 80 years,” Willard said.