Biz buzz, Dec. 30, 2012

Ace Hardware on the Redlands, 2140 Broadway, Unit A, abruptly went out of business last weekend, putting some employees out of work right before Christmas and leaving shoppers wondering what had become of the hardware retailer.

An Ace employee said the store was originally scheduled to close on Christmas Eve but instead was shuttered on Dec. 22. The employee said some workers were transferred to other Ace locations but many were not.

“It was sudden for all of us,” the employee said.

The Redlands store, which opened in 2006, was one of four Ace Hardware stores in Colorado operated under a limited liability partnership known as Alpine Hardware of Colorado, according to Colorado Secretary of State records. The other locations are in Aspen, Carbondale and Clifton.

Jenny Stephen, a spokeswoman for Ace Hardware Corp. in Oak Brook, Ill., declined to comment on the closure of the Redlands Ace.

Larry Gruel, who owns the four Ace Hardware stores under the Alpine Hardware of Colorado umbrella, couldn’t be reached for comment last week.

A sign posted on the door at the Redlands Ace indicates that special orders can be picked up in Clifton and that the Clifton store will honor coupons and reward certificates.

■ When it comes to helping people looking to sell or buy a car, John Wampler wants to meet those prospective sellers and buyers wherever they are.

And, according to him, it’s not necessarily the car lot.

“When it comes to car buying and car research, 86 percent of all people who are actively researching their next vehicle are online right now,” Wampler said.

It’s why Grand Junction Subaru this fall opened Auto Internet & Retail Center, a division Subaru is calling the first virtual car dealership in western Colorado.

The Auto Internet & Retail Center, with an office located at 598 Northgate Drive, Suite B, sells both Grand Junction Subaru and private citizens’ vehicles through national websites such as AutoTrader.com, cars.com and their affiliates, according to Wampler, Grand Junction Subaru’s Internet director. The office features a photo studio and detail bays so vehicles can be cleaned and photographed in order to look their best online. For roughly $230, the business will list a vehicle for 30 days on the Internet, prepare a vehicle history report, perform lube, oil and filter work and professionally detail it.

The Auto Internet and Retail Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

■ One of Allstate Insurance Co.‘s Grand Junction offices has a new owner.

Rick Granger, a former underground coal miner, has taken over operation of the office at 1910 North 12th St., Suite A.

Allstate sells auto, property and life insurance, insurance for boats, recreational vehicles and businesses and an array of financial services.

The 12th Street office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Atrium of Grand Valley, an independent retirement community at 3260 North 12th St., recently completed the installation of a new wireless emergency call system.

Transmitters have been distributed to all residents and will be able to notify on-duty manager and staff in case of a personal emergency. Atrium officials said nearly one in three seniors over the age of 65 fall annually, and more than half of those are over the age of 80.

“We feel that the new wireless call system will insure our residents’ peace of mind and a continued independent lifestyle,” Atrium said in a news release.

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