Holly Arnold Kinney
Proprietress, The Fort
Executive Director, Tesoro Cultural Center
P.O. Box 569
Morrison, Colorado 80465
Holly Arnold Kinney was raised in an adobe replica of Bent’s Old Fort (1833-1849), part historic museum and fine dining restaurant called The Fort, serving “New Foods of the Old West.” In 1997, The Fort was chosen by President Bill Clinton to host the official Summit of Eight dinner to the leaders of the industrial world. The Fort is located in the scenic foothills outside of Denver, Colorado. As a young girl, Ms. Kinney learned the restaurant and advertising industry through holding many positions in the family businesses. Frequent trips with her parents to London, Vienna, Switzerland and Mexico helped Kinney develop culinary knowledge and a worldly perspective at an early age.
In the 1970’s, Kinney was an account executive for KDEN News Radio in Denver and became the top billing sales representative. In 1978, General Electric Broadcasting Corporation’s KOA Radio hired Kinney as an account executive.
In 1981, Kinney founded Arnold Media Services (AMS), a public relations firm specializing in specialty food products and the restaurant industry. Swiss company Jacobs Suchard USA, makers of Toblerone Brand, hired Arnold Media Services to manage all promotions and media relations in the United States. This account launched AMS into the national and international markets. For more than 20 years, AMS provided public relations, marketing, and advertising and promotion services for local, national and international clientele including Nestle Specialty Foods Division, Perugina Chocolates from Italy, the Colorado Tourism Board, Colorado Restaurant Association, Hatch Chile Company, and Colavita USA launching the Mediterranean Diet in 1986. In 2001, Arnold Media Services became the in-house public relations, advertising agency for The Fort restaurant.
The passion that Kinney developed for history at a young age inspired her to create The Tesoro Cultural Center, (www.tesoroculturalcenter.org) a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization committed to protecting and making available to the community the artistic treasures and history of the Southwest. Bringing to life the traditions and events that shaped the West’s heritage, Kinney has created a series of living history events, including: The Indian Market & Powwow, The Spanish Colonial Market & 1830s Rendezvous, The Historic Dinner and Lecture Series, and the Christmas Eve Las Posadas reenactment. The Tesoro Cultural Center offers historic tours of The Fort and provides historic interpreters to present a cultural recreation teaching the diversity of cultures at Bent’s Fort through play acting, using a Trunk show dressing the kids up as characters at Bent’s fort including the many Indian tribes, African American traders, Mexican and Spanish colonization of the West, French fur traders, as well as early American pioneers, etc. The Tesoro Trunk Show is for K-12 students at area schools, and taught over 3,000 school kids in 2010-2011 school year.
In 1999, Kinney returned to her roots at The Fort, becoming her father’s business partner and 49% owner of the landmark restaurant. Active in the day-to-day management of the restaurant, Kinney was the driving force behind the Fort’s internet marketing and technology. She hired a full time Web master and advertising designer for The Fort’s web site and recently markets The Fort through Facebook, YELP , Open Table, TV station web sites and other social media. She introduced an extensive wine list offering more than 130 varieties of fine wines. The Fort’s wine list has been honored by Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for eight consecutive years since 2005. Kinney also developed a mentor relationship for her restaurant, The Fort with the National Restaurant Associations’ Pro Start program and sponsored a high school student team in their scholarship competition. The Fort has funded and worked with the Pro Start program for over 8 years.
Holly Arnold Kinney became the sole owner of The Fort LLC in December of 2006 after the passing of her father, Samuel P. Arnold. She is passionate about cultural heritage and cuisine, including the history of recipes and culinary traditions of the 16th, through the 19th century. She inherited her father’s 3,000 rare cookbook and western history library for her research and continues to hire antiquarians to continue to build and expand the library. Kinney remains loyal to The Fort’s historical and fine culinary roots.
In January 2012, Kinney was tapped by Secretary of Commerce, James Bryson to serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board giving private sector recommendations to Secretary Bryson, and President Obama on important industry issues on creating jobs through Travel and Tourism. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), and received the highest honor the CRA gives an individual: the Distinguished Service Award in 2010. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Historical Society (History Colorado) and as an advisory Board for the Department of Agriculture Colorado Proud program. She is the former president and founding member of the Colorado Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier (http://www.LesDamesColorado.org). Kinney is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), Meeting Planners International (MPI), Denver Metro Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Marketing Committee.
In 2009, Kinney formed a publishing company, the Fur Trade Press, LLC and in the Fall, 2010, published an award-winning cookbook called “Shinin’ Times at The Fort…stories, recipes and celebrations at the Colorado landmark restaurant” which was nominated as a finalist in the Colorado Humanities Book of the Year Award. It is now in a second printing. The James Beard Foundation in new York invited Kinney and her Executive Chef to prepare a “Shinin’ Times “ dinner in New York City as a fund raiser for the Beard Foundation. She was also invited back to the James Beard House for a Meet the Author “Beard on Books” event August, 2011.
Kinney is married, and is passionate about tourism, the restaurant industry and building community cultural programs through the Tesoro Cultural Center.
Kinney has a fully operational year round green house at her residence and an organic garden She home composts and is growing The Fort’s gardens to include heirloom vegetables, herbs, and is setting up The Fort to compost, to provide for the gardens. Kinney also manages The Fort’s teaching Fur Trade Garden in the Courtyard that grows corn, beans, squash and Mandan tobacco. Kinney owns over 40 acres east of The Fort which is zoned agricultural and already has the Colorado bee keepers housing bees on her land, making over 40 pounds of “Sissy bear honey” per hive.