Orchard Mesa: Open for Business
It takes a lot of vision to start a business in a slowing economy, but Orchard Mesa presented opportunities that partners Eddie Elari and Keith Simkins couldn’t ignore. “Business is good,” says Elari. “There’s no competition, everything else is downtown.” The partners recently opened Anytime Fitness on Highway 50 and have been pleasantly surprised from the reception they’ve received from locals.
“The No. 1 comment we’ve heard is, ‘It’s about time you guys got here.’ They (Orchard Mesa residents) have been waiting for a fitness facility, and now they’ve got one,” says Elari.
Members at the full-service gym are issued their own key, which they can use at the Orchard Mesa facility or at more than a thousand other Anytime Fitness facilities across the country 24 hours per day. The gym, which offers circuit training, weights, cardio-machines, massage, tanning, showers for both men and women and a personal trainer, is also staffed six days per week.
Anytime Fitness is the first tenant in the Shoppes on Orchard Mesa, a new commercial area east of City Market off Highway 50. Supercuts will also be opening soon in the same building.
West of City Market, the Orchard Mesa library has found a new home at Meridian Park. The library, which used to share space with the Orchard Mesa Middle School, now has more than 3,000 square feet, with a children’s area, six computer terminals and new programs for kids and teens.
“We’ve not had a single day go by that we haven’t had someone come in and say how grateful they are that we’re here,” says Jennifer Murrell, branch manager. “This has really increased traffic over here. At our old location, we had five adults who showed up regularly. We now have about 170 people per day.”
Murrell credits the visitor-friendly hours, which are during the daytime until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as seven hours on Saturday, for making the library more accessible. In its old location, the library could only open when school wasn’t in session. Several businesses have formed the Orchard Mesa Business Impact Group to promote business opportunities in Orchard Mesa. The group, along with the Business Incubator, is promoting the Summer Outdoor Market on June 27.
“We want to get the public down here and let them see what’s going on,” says Annalisa Pearson, program manager with the Business Incubator. Businesses all across Orchard Mesa may have sidewalk sales and other open house activities, while the incubator plans to have a band, a barbecue, booths and a car show to draw people to their site and let them know what types of businesses and services are available at the incubator.
“Most of the businesses are still doing well, even though the economy is struggling,” says Pearson. The incubator has recently opened a new video lab that allows businesses to make short videos, upload them to YouTube and link to their websites. Like the commercial kitchen, the video lab is available to other local businesses, not just incubator clients.
Colorado State University Tri-River Extension, which has long been a fixture on Orchard Mesa, has added new demonstration gardens to help both commercial growers and residents who enjoy seeing the possibilities, with both an herb garden and a lavender garden.
“We started a lavender association for those who are interested in growing lavender as a cash crop,” says Kathy Kimbrough, the president of the lavender association. “Agri-tourism is what we’re going for.” With the help of the CSU extension office, the association is trying to determine which types of lavenders will grow best here, and is also exploring marketing possibilities.
Spyglass Ridge, the residential development that promises some of the best views on Orchard Mesa, also continues to explore better ways to meet the needs of the residents and lot owners. The fenced dog park, which has a small pond and a large grassy area for play, recently opened and has been an instant hit. The pool at the Community Center also opened for the season, and will offer swim instructions this year for kids.
“The market has improved quite a bit in the last few weeks,” says Jay Fellhauer, the listing agent for many of the lots at Spyglass. “We’re seeing more activity. People are taking advantage of good interest rates and the good values out there. When people hesitate, waiting to see if prices will come down, they’re calling back and discovering that the house they want is gone.”
At Hawk’s Nest, a 110-home development at 30 Road and B Road, chances are good that buyers will be able to find a suitable home, since building continues despite the tougher economy.
“There’s nothing like it in the surrounding areas,” promises Janet Pritchard with 30 Road LLC, the developer of the property. Several builders are working in the neighborhood, and the company would like to offer lease options for buyers who may not be able to qualify for a loan right now, but who are committed to clearing their credit and owning a home. The houses all feature three or four bedrooms, with two or more bathrooms, a three-car garage and landscaping in the front and back.
With 30,000 cars that drive through Orchard Mesa on Highway 50 daily and new commercial areas beginning to fill, Orchard Mesa could be a great place for business. With new services and new housing areas that strive to give buyers what they need and want, Orchard Mesa is also a great place for to find home.