Biz Buzz, July 14, 2013

Off-road enthusiasts have a new place in the Grand Valley to prime their Jeeps, trucks and other four-wheel-drive vehicles for bumping around the area’s dunes, hills and gullies.

Owner Jake Stone opened Pro Dirt Motorsports, 554 25 Road, Suite 1, this spring. The business offers a variety of services, whether customers need repairs, parts, custom fabrication or installation of light bars, lift kits, shocks, wheels, tires or other inventory.

“We have heard from more than a handful of people that they like him because he’s honest,” Jake’s wife, Jenny, said. “He’s not doing this to get rich. He’s doing this to make a living and be home with his family.”

Being with family was a primary reason why the Stone family moved to the valley from Southern California two years ago. Jake and Jenny discovered they were spending more time on the freeway than together as a family. Jake initially took a job in the gas patch but quit that line of work for the same reason: long work hours and lots of time away from home.

With Jake yearning to open his own shop for years, he and Jenny pulled money out of their retirement plans to open Pro Dirt Motorsports. In just the first few months, they’re already noticing return customers. Jenny said the business is currently breaking even — a desirable place to be for a start-up.

“Things are going well,” Jenny said. “I think that, to be realistic for a guy doing it on his own, we’re doing phenomenally.”

Pro Dirt Motorsports is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment on Sunday. It can be reached at 623-1499.

■ Even before they started a family, Rob and Kristin Fenwick wanted to own a small farm — a place where they could get dirt under their fingernails and connect with where their food comes from. For the last 15 years, they’ve tended fruit trees and a large vegetable garden.

Now they’re doing it on a bigger platform.

Last month, they purchased the Fruit Basket, a 7 1/2-acre farm at 253 32 1/2 Road and all of the appurtenances that come with it: a retail store, a commercial kitchen, a barn, farming equipment and more than 100 recipes for salsa, jelly, syrup, pickles, dried fruit and other edibles that can be made with the host of fruits and vegetables grown on the land.

“We’d been wanting to raise our kids in an environment like this for a long time, where they could learn the value of hard work, how to work the land, the value of a dollar, how to treat people right,” Rob said. “We felt those were important life lessons. We wanted to put them in an environment that was conducive to them learning it first-hand.”

Jay and Carolyn Davis built the Fruit Basket from the ground up roughly a quarter-century ago. Rob Fenwick, who works for a water monitoring equipment manufacturer, and Kristin, a former middle school teacher, acquired the property and business when the Davises decided they were ready to retire and travel.

The Fenwicks will carry on much of what the Davises started in terms of growing and selling produce and shelf-stable food made from that produce. They plan to develop a website and a social media presence and rent out the commercial kitchen. They also want to open the property to the public, offering farm tours and you-pick-your-own days when families can take advantage of a bounty that includes peaches, apples, apricots, plums, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and an assortment of veggies.

“There’s a lot of farms that seem kind of closed, where the only access point is the store.” Rob said. “But we love showing people around, showing them how things grow.”

The Fruit Basket is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Monday. It can be reached at 434-5309 or 970-310-8673.

River City Bagels & Deli, 936 North Ave., Suite 102, has closed.

The small shop, which opened three years ago on the Colorado Mesa University campus, was originally called Main Street Bagels and was an offshoot of the downtown Grand Junction shop at 559 Main St. Owners Mark and Missy Smith sold the business in 2011 to Gale and Stanley Foster, who changed the name.

The Fosters couldn’t be reached for comment last week.

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