Biz Buzz, Aug. 26, 2012

After 15 years of giving customers the means to hit the open road and travel the country, Rick and Judy Gibson have decided it’s time to give themselves some freedom.

The owners of Gibson RVs, 2584 U.S. Highway 6&50, will close the business and retire in the coming weeks. The dealership will shutter after the last of the dozen or so recreational vehicles left on the lot sells. 

“For 15 years, the blinders have been on and it’s been Gibson RVs,” Rick Gibson said last week. “We’re just looking forward to having some time.”

Like many businesses that have operated in the Grand Valley for some time, the dealership has witnessed financial peaks and valleys. Five years ago, before selling its old location to American Furniture Warehouse, Gibson RVs boasted 30 employees. It’s now down to four: Rick, Judy and two daughters, Cindy Wheeler and Cheri Trout.

Gibson said the recession and slow-to-recover economy affected RV sales but not the couple’s decision to retire, indicating that was something he and Judy had planned for some time.

He said the community has consistently supported his business. In turn, the Gibsons have been charitable with organizations such as the Saccomanno Research Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital and Mesa County Partners.

This marks the couple’s second attempt at retiring. Unlike the first, this one will stick.

In 2001, two employees planned to purchase the business. The couple’s children threw a huge retirement party. Two days before it was scheduled to close, the sale fell through.

“We’ve had our retirement party. It was just 10 years ago,” Gibson joked.

Retirement will allow the Gibsons to spend more time with their grandkids and at a home they own near Vega Reservoir. Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that the couple will fade from public view.

Gibson said he might one day like to work in the public sector. He was coy when asked whether that meant he was interested in running for public office at some point.

“I can tell you the year I was the chairman of the (Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce in 2005), that was one of the most pleasant years I’ve had in my entire life,” he said. “Without getting too specific, let’s just kind of leave it at that.”

Jonathan Rashley has been working around food most of his adult life.

He graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in hospitality management, went through a culinary arts program in Switzerland, ran a restaurant in Fort Collins and now owns a small hospitality management consulting firm.

He’s found a new vehicle for his passion — literally and figuratively.

Rashley opened at the beginning of this month Craving, a food truck he says offers “contemporary comfort food.”

After selling his Fort Collins restaurant last year, the 38-year-old Grand Junction native decided to return home to be closer to his dad. He said he missed the Western Slope and missed cooking. Remember the cuisine he enjoyed while working briefly in Chicago, he bought a trailer from a former Fort Collins employee.

“I was eating at food trucks and trailers almost daily,” he said of Chicago. “They had some absolutely amazing food.”

He moved back to Grand Junction in May and teamed up with Ben Gaines to start his mobile food business.

The menu, which Rashley said changes frequently based on the ingredients, is currently heavy on peaches: peach-braised pork shoulder with cumin and coriander, fries smothered in peach green chili and cheese, and peach green chili and cheese bratwurst. Other items include a beef, bison and bacon burger topped with a jalapeno cilantro aioli, and a smoked salmon BLT. Prices range from $5 to $9.

“The goal is to be as sustainable as we possibly can,” he said, noting that he’s sourcing as many ingredients as he can from local farms and bakeries.

For the time being, Craving is operating in the parking lot of Peach Street Distillers in Palisade on Friday through Sunday. Rashley said plans to move the food truck around to other locations in the Grand Valley in the near future.

Information about Craving’s menu, hours and locations can be found on its Facebook page by searching CravingColorado. Rashley can be reached at 970-640-5114.

Eagle Xpress Tire & Auto Service Center, 215 N. Third St., has gone out of business.

The business, which was owned by Morgan and Sheryl Butcher, closed earlier this month. Neither a phone number nor a website for the business is active any longer.


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