Biz Buzz, June 3, 2012

Colorado Flight Center got its start in Grand Junction in 2006 as a flight training school, assisting everyone from novice pilots working toward their certificates to veterans seeking to hone their skills.

It added an air charter service three years ago, a single-engine, three-seat Cessna Skylane catering primarily to executives in the oil and gas industry and other deep-pocketed professionals who wanted to get somewhere quickly while avoiding multiple connections, long lines and security inspections.

In April, the flight center,  at 800 Heritage Way on the grounds of Grand Junction Regional Airport, acquired and introduced a second plane that nearly quadruples its capacity.

“We’re excited about it,” General Manager Collin Fay said. “It’s a really big improvement in our capability.”

Though drilling has slowed on the Western Slope, it has picked up in other locations, particularly North Dakota and the Bakken formation. That makes the flight center’s addition of an eight-seat, Cessna Conquest II all the more important.

Traveling up to 350 mph, the Conquest can fly to Williston, N.D., in a little more than two hours.

“We can take them up there in the morning, they can do their business and we can have them home that evening,” Fay said.

The flight center is flying the new twin-engine turboprop three to four days a week.

“We fly whenever anybody wants to go anywhere,” Fay said. “We go wherever they want to go.”

■ Grand Valley diners who like getting their money’s worth when they go out to eat now have some additional options at one Grand Junction restaurant — and revamped environs in which to enjoy them.

Within the past few weeks, Golden Corral completed a $425,000 renovation and expansion of its location at 1100 Independent Ave.

Officials added storage space and coolers onto the back of the building, put on a new roof, installed new siding and incorporated a stone facade into the entrance, according to Gary Hurst, vice president of operations. Customers, though, are more likely to notice the changes on the interior.

The inside was fully refurbished with new walls, new carpeting, new tables and chairs, and new bathrooms. Managers also grouped similar foods together at different stations — Italian, Mexican, Asian, seafood and so on — so customers aren’t searching all over the place. Golden Corral also added about 20 menu items.

This is the second face-lift the buffet-style eatery has undergone since opening in 1996, Hurst said.

■ Since opening in the Red Cliff Pointe Shopping Center three years ago, the Sugar Shack, 2650 North Ave., No. 119, has prided itself on offering nostalgic sweets and items that aren’t readily available elsewhere in the Grand Valley.

Owner FayeAnn Morosini is keeping that niche by offering Blue Bell ice cream. She introduced the famous Brenham, Texas-based confection treat to her store May 1.

“I like to stay different. I like to keep nostalgic,” Morosini said.

A customer mentioned Blue Bell ice cream, a brand not easy to find here in western Colorado. Morosini located a distributor. The rest is, well, lickable history.

Morosini sells Blue Bell by the cone and cup and makes it the centerpiece of shakes and root beer floats. Soon, she’ll offer it in banana splits.

Asked how customers have responded thus far, Morosini said they want to know whether it’s available by the gallon. She wants them to know she’s working on that.

“I’m getting the call for it,” she said. “People are wanting to buy it by bigger containers.”

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