In August 2004, Angelique Salazar started from the bottom as the receptionist answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Now, she’s here as the vice president of operations for Central Street Capital, doing what she does best: operations and customer service. The thirty-three-year-old wife and mother of two works for her family-owned business and adds to the mix her entrepreneurial spirit. She co-owns and operates the award-winning U Lucky Dog Daycare & Boarding Facility and the 2018 Diner’s Choice award-winning Crafty Fox Taphouse and Pizzeria.
Based in Denver, Central Street Capital is a privately owned investment-management firm that focuses on more than fifty entities, including real estate, healthcare, student housing, multifamily apartments, and the natural food industry. The company’s executive team is composed of Salazar’s family tree: Rob, her father, is the founder and president and is known as the idea man for his brilliance. Lola, her mother, is president of the Salazar Family Foundation. Isiah, her older brother, is the vice president of development and is known as the developer. And she is known as the operator.
“Each person has their own niche. You don’t need fourteen chiefs. You need one chief for each division, and we’ve really excelled at that,” says Salazar, revealing the family’s successful strategy in working together day-to-day. “We’re smart enough to know what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. That’s really important when you’re working with family.”
Should any conflict arise, communication is key, whether in person or via email. The importance of the matter in any relationship is to get the words out, Salazar advises. But the Salazar family has always been a tight family unit. Conflicts or work issues aren’t dragged home at the end of the day. The family spends quality time every Sunday having dinner together.
When Salazar was in the fifth grade and her brother one year ahead, their mother left her school teaching job to dedicate herself to raising her children while their father built their current empire. It boggles Salazar’s mind, she says, realizing how much her father worked during her youth because she never felt his absence. Her father dedicated quality time to the family, making sure they felt loved, special, and important by including his children in business discussions—by asking them their opinions on acquisition bids, for example. “My mom’s job was making my brother and I the best humans we could be,” she says. “My dad would make us feel equal, and I think they did a very good job at that.”
Salazar began working in the family’s business while attending college at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The biggest benefit of working for her family-owned company were the opportunities that arose while she was so young. She received her bachelor’s and learned all about business directly from her father.
Rob Salazar is a successful business owner, a graduate from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, which he attended because it was the only school that offered him a football scholarship. He started his career as a certified public accountant and formed his own CPA and consulting firm at age twenty-six. He also managed and owned nursing homes prior to the founding of his current company today. “I am literally the spitting image of my dad, and I love that,” Salazar says. “I love that I sat in his office and learned, learned, learned.”
Salazar shares her father’s wisdom. “No matter what you have or how successful you are, you are just a few decisions from having nothing,” she says. “Business decisions and personal decisions can go totally the wrong way. But if you are thinking, thinking, thinking, then you’ll be ok.”
She applied her business acumen to the first thousand-bed student housing apartment project that Central Street Capital developed, The Regency: Student Housing Community, which was the first student housing development to open specifically for the Auraria Campus in Denver. She was the project’s owner representative from 2005 until 2013, during which time she had her first-born child. “It was exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. “It was fast-paced, and it grew me into the person that I am today.” Then in 2006, with her brother, she formed and oversaw the food service company for The Regency, which she says was a stepping stone to what she’s doing today.
The ultimate goal for the Salazar children is to be successful and happy, to fulfill their lives and their children’s lives, and to continue building the foundation of their parent’s legacy, a legacy with the mission of providing support to Denver’s educational institutions. The Salazar Family Foundation supports The Denver Foundation, Escuela de Guadalupe, Mi Casa Resource Center, and other organizations to further the success of Denver-area students. The foundation recently donated $10 million to the University of Colorado at Denver.
“It is truly an honor to go to work everyday, and it doesn’t ever feel like work,” Salazar says. “I’m literally coming to see my family, do what I love, and see what they’ve built and be a part of that.”