Biz buzz, Dec. 9, 2012

Nate and Wendy Gill are banking on making a living off of people smiling.

Last month, the Grand Junction husband and wife, along with their daughter, Kia, launched a product known as Smile Sparks, a do-it-yourself kit that enables people to temporarily attach small crystals to their teeth.

“The biggest attribute is they draw attention,” Nate Gill said.

A so-called “classic kit” contains five, clear Swarovski crystals, dental adhesive, applicator wands, cotton rolls, an ultraviolet lamp and instructions. The crystal is positioned after drying the surface of the tooth and applying the adhesive. The UV lamp is then used to cure the adhesive. The crystals will remain in place for up to two weeks and can be removed using dental floss, the Gills said.

The classic kit costs $24.95. For an additional cost, customers can add crystals by choosing from 14 different colors.

The idea for the business grew out of a visit Wendy Gill paid to a park 20 years ago, when she saw another woman with a tiny star on her tooth. Earlier this year, she had her orthodontist attach a permanent star on one of her teeth.

Her fascination with the sparkling dental jewelry might never have turned into a business opportunity had Nate Gill not grown tired of 14-hour work days and decided this summer to leave his lucrative job as a lead superintendent for an energy company.

The Gills spent a month researching the type of business they wanted to launch. They identified female teenagers and young adults ages 13 to 24 as their primary target market and envision them applying the dental jewelry to go to a game or party. They have 1,000 units ready to ship.

Smile Sparks are available online at and at Turbo in Mesa Mall.

■ Grand Junction native Britta Nilsen moved back to her hometown in 2007, with plans to marry the following year. She shopped for wedding dresses locally but couldn’t find anything that met her needs. She ended up buying in Denver.

Nilsen now is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to other brides-to-be.

She opened Annelise Bridal Boutique last month at 203 Colorado Ave., Suite 102, kitty-corner across from Two Rivers Convention Center.

“I think there’s a need in Grand Junction that isn’t being met,” said Nilsen, whose store honors the middle name for both her mother and her paternal grandmother.

The 1998 Grand Junction High School graduate obtained a bachelor’s degree in apparel and merchandising from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She worked as a buyer in Denver for a period of time, then lived in the eastern U.S., before returning to the Grand Valley.

She said she had brides-to-be contacting her two months before she opened her store. Since opening, women from all over the Western Slope have been coming to her store.

Nilsen said her shop carries dresses that can’t be found elsewhere on the Western Slope and offers an intimate atmosphere with one-on-one attention. Dress prices range from $600 to $3,500.

“I want to reach that bride who maybe can’t spend $2,500 but still wants that experience,” she said.

Annelise Bridal Boutique is open by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call 640-0261.

■ Doughnut lovers need not weep over their chocolate eclairs. The closure last month of Daylight Donuts on Orchard Mesa is only temporary.

The shop at 230 E. Lynwood St. will reopen next month under new ownership and the same Daylight Donuts name, but with an additional focus on high-quality coffee and a light lunch menu.

Troy Ritter and his family opened the store in November 2011 but sold it to Jim Paregien last month.

“We were just spread too thin,” said Ritter, who also owns and operates the Daylight Donuts at 1410 North Ave. “The location was great, but it was too much for us.”

Paregien, who owns Junction Discount Furniture, which is adjacent to Daylight Donuts, and the strip mall in which those shops are located, knew Ritter was looking to sell the business. He decided to buy it, banking on the drive-up window as an asset while also believing Orchard Mesa could use a place for residents to get coffee and relax.

Paregien said he’s negotiating to bring in a “premium” coffee brand and, in addition to doughnuts and coffee, will offer Italian sandwiches, salads and a light lunch menu.

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