Biz Buzz: Feb. 16, 2017

A combination of growing demand and aging equipment led Roan Creek Ranch owner Kathryn Bedell to remodel and expand this winter.

The end result is that customers who appreciate the small Fruita grocery store’s offering of locally grown, organic food now have access to even more of the store’s staples, as well as some new items.

The store, at 119 E. Aspen Ave., closed for six weeks while Bedell replaced all of the freezers — doubling the amount of freezer space in the process — and reconfigured the interior. When it reopened last week, it featured more of the same grass-fed beef and lamb Bedell raises on her ranch and pork she gets from Olathe, as well as wild-caught fish, scallops and prawns from Alaska.

Customers now can also shop for dried pasta, frozen pasta dishes and soup from Il Bistro Italiano, milk (and eventually cheese) from Rocking W Cheese in Olathe, and dried fruit and applesauce from Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss.

In another change, the store will soon begin accepting electronic benefit transfer cards.

It’s an evolution for the business and Bedell, who has been selling meat in the area for 12 years before deciding — through research and the help of the Business Incubator Center — to open a brick-and-mortar store in 2014.

“Fruita has been nice to me,” Bedell said. “That’s a great market over there.”

Reliable Estate Sales, a company that has done on-site, professionally conducted estate sales in the area since 2001, is touting a new industry recognition that owner Mark Bluhm says sets his firm apart.

In December, Bluhm said, Reliable was able to earn the Service Excellence Award from the American Society of Estate Liquidators, making it the only such accredited estate sales company in Colorado or Utah.

“It’s kind of a big deal to us because (to get the award) you have to provide ASEL with a survey from every client that you have over the course of a calendar year,” Bluhm said.

“In this industry, in the whole estate sale business, it isn’t always easy to please all of these families,” he said.

It’s tricky, Bluhm said, because oftentimes the children of a parent who has died are surprised by the financial situation the family then finds itself in. Family members of folks who have passed away can also often overvalue their loved one’s belongings, both before and after Reliable operates an estate sale.

“A lot of them think that mom’s Franklin Mint plates that she paid $35 bucks for in the ‘70s are still worth that or more today,” Bluhm said, adding that those items can sometimes fetch just a few bucks apiece at an estate sale today.

“Because of that, it can make it difficult for us to go back and say, ‘I pleased every single customer with 100 percent satisfaction over the course of a year.’” Bluhm said, of the rigors involved in the ASEL customer service recognition.

While Reliable conducts their estate sales on site, their website at usually shows off items that are set to be sold at future estate sales. Right now on the site people can see items set to be sold off at a sale planned for next Saturday.

The site also links to Reliable’s eBay page, where they usually have lots of other items for sale via online auction.

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