Biz Buzz, June 30, 2013

As Robert Mitchell puts it, he always has “some scheme in mind” as far as a business venture goes. But it wasn’t until recently, when he got married and bought a house, that he decided to start taking his own ideas more seriously.

The man who has spent nearly 20 years in the food industry spotted a hot dog cart for sale on Craigslist in Denver and, less than two weeks ago, rolled out Big Kahuna Dogs onto downtown Grand Junction’s Main Street, slinging all-beef hot dogs on Hawaiian bread buns with a variety of toppings.

“It’s been good,” Mitchell said of business. “We’ve had a really good response. The feedback has been that we have a good product.”

Mitchell believes he’s filling a previously untapped niche. Part of what drove his idea was his observation that a lot of people spill out of downtown restaurants and bars late at night but have nowhere to go in that area to grab something to eat. Having lived in places like New York, Seattle and Atlanta, he said, “I thought that was so crazy. Every corner (in those cities) has a falafel or a gyro or a hot dog (stand) or something.”

Patrons typically can find Big Kahuna Dogs at Fourth and Main streets during the afternoon, then at Fifth and Main late at night.

Mitchell operates his cart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday (except on Tuesday to avoid competing with another hot dog vendor) and again from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Changes in cart locations and specials are posted on Big Kahuna Dogs’ Facebook page.

■ A networking group has formed in Grand Junction to help small businesses grow through referrals.

W.A.R. Group, which stands for We Are Referrals, started in South Carolina two years ago, according to Cindy Hale, the president of the Grand Junction chapter. Hale’s brother-in-law, Mike, used to live in Grand Junction and moved in 2005 to South Carolina, where he launched two chapters.

There currently are just two members of the Grand Junction chapter: Cindy Hale, who owns Hale Bookkeeping, and a local real estate agent. To prevent competition within the group, Hale said the group allows only one member per profession, except in the event that the profession has multiple subsections — estate lawyers and tax lawyers, for example.

The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 8 a.m. at Sang Garden Chinese and Thai Cuisines, 687 Horizon Drive.

The initiation fee is $50 and annual dues are $60. For more information or to join, call Hale at 241-4880.

■ After operating out of the first floor of the Alpine Bank building in downtown Grand Junction the last 16 years, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra will relocate its office next month to Main Street next month, hoping to give itself greater exposure while waiting to move its performances into the Avalon Theatre.

The symphony will share space with Colorado Public Radio at 414 Main St. The move should be completed around July 10.

“We are excited to make a move to Main Street and develop a closer working relationship with Colorado Public Radio,” symphony Executive Director Kelly Anderson said in a statement. “We also feel that an office on Main will be great exposure for our organization especially as we look forward to the Avalon Theatre being the future home of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra.”

■ The city of Montrose wants to give shoppers a little extra shopping cash in exchange for patronizing local businesses.

The city’s Office of Business and Tourism will give shoppers an extra $20 when they purchase $100 in Montrose Bucks between Monday and Wednesday. Those interested can pick up a form at City Hall, 433 S. First St., between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., fill it out, pay $100 in cash and received $120 back in six $20 checks.

Sales are on a first-come, first-served basis, and buyers must be present to purchase. Montrose Bucks are accepted like cash by most Montrose businesses but are not redeemable for cash, according to the city.

The checks expire July 31.

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