Biz Buzz, Dec. 29, 2013

A Grand Junction woman with three small children opened a new business in November that looks like an excellent fit for the working mother who wants her children nearby. 

Imagine That! Kids at Play, 2923 North Ave., is ready-made for the children of Jessica Hemmer and any other parent who wants a play date outside the home.

“We are just another place for parents to be able to bring their kids to come in and play,” said Hemmer, a co-owner. “Sort of like if you’ve ever been to a child museum — a smaller version of that.”

Locals who remember DooZoo, formerly located on Colorado Avenue, will know exactly what Hemmer is talking about.

Infants and kids up to age nine can enjoy a variety of activities with their parents, but it is not a day care operation. Parents must accompany their children, Hemmer said.

“We have a kitchen area. We have a baby doll area. We have a mechanic’s station. We even have a little veterinarian clinic,” she said. “It’s a place where they can really use their imagination.”

Shorty chefs can shop for pre-formed plastic food items in many shapes and sizes and then prepare a meal on the wooden stove, Hemmer said.

Stuffed animals make the perfect patients at the veterinary clinic, she said.

The most popular times for children to visit Imagine That! seems to be 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Thursday. Hemmer said she would like to see more traffic on weekends. The place is normally open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cost to visit is $5 per child, but a membership with unlimited visits can be purchased for $100 a year.

Starting in January, the business will add craft and science projects to the list of favorite activities. The pretend kitchen and 6-foot-high climbing wall are among the most popular now, she said.

Child-appropriate snacks and beverages are available for purchase and a special room for birthday parties can be reserved, Hemmer said.

No Coast Sushi is working out some unexpected issues with the building for its new restaurant at 229 E. Aspen in Fruita and has decided to push back its grand opening until February, said co-owner Lisa Boyd.

Initial plans called for the restaurant to open in January, she said.

Instead, Boyd plans to hire and train staff for the new bistro at its Grand Junction location during the month of January.

Team Mojavaton finished out of the running at Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge Trials on Dec. 20 and 21.

The self-funded Grand Junction-based team, made up of volunteers led by Jim Crittenden, scored no points in the trials, same as the robot sponsored by NASA and at least one other entry.

“We tried our best and have learned a lot from the competition. We’ve a lot to accomplish,” the team said in a post on its Facebook page.

The robot sponsored by Google finished with the best score and will join seven other teams to compete in the robotics finals event, DARPA officials said.

The top finals finisher wins a $2 million prize.

“The trials provided a baseline on the current state of robotics today and their potential for future use in disaster response,” DARPA officials said.

This year’s team was co-sponsored by Crittenden and several businesses, including:

All Metals Welding and Fabrication

AutonomouStuff

The Business Incubator Center

Colorado Mesa University

Enstrom Candies

fitPC.com

High Country Technology Consultants

Pacific Northwest national Laboratory

Pro Powder Coating

Sparkfun

Stratasys

VXB.com Ball Bearings

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