Biz Buzz, March 17, 2013

Downtown Vineyard Church wants to make people feel welcome — and save a few souls in the process.

The proprietors of the adjacent Downtown Coffee — the same ones as the church — similarly want people to feel comfortable. But the only message here is an invitation to enjoy a cup of traditional drip or French press coffee while helping some worthy causes in the process.

“People kind of freak out when they hear ‘Jesus,’ ” said coffee manager Leah Rice. “But we all know how to take care of each other.”

Downtown Coffee opened Friday at 644 Main St. in the space formerly occupied by Coffee Muggers. It’s a nonprofit venture operating under the Downtown Vineyard umbrella.

“We want to create a space where people can feel comfortable with who they are and loved through a cup of coffee,” Rice said.

The shop purchases organic, fair trade beans and ground coffee from Colorado Legacy Coffee, where it’s roasted weekly. It offers limited breakfast and lunch menus featuring quiche, pastries, oatmeal, yogurt, sandwiches and salads. It also sells coffee by the pound.

The shop also features so-called cause boxes, which line one wall and display items from and information about local nonprofits and programs, some of which are connected to the church. All tips go to the causes. New causes will be featured every three months or so, Rice said.

Downtown Coffee is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It also will be open in conjunction with events at the Avalon Theatre.

Doug and Ann-Marie Nielson wanted people in the toughest moments of their lives to have options.

They felt like several funeral homes in the Grand Valley offered quality service. But when it came to people who didn’t have a lot of money at their disposal, the Nielsons believed families were being forced to make arrangements based on what they could afford instead of what they felt most honored their loved ones.

After researching buying another funeral home in town, the couple on March 1 opened Legacy Funeral Home, 762 Horizon Drive, pitching the business as an affordable alternative without compromising customer service and individuality.

Funeral director Molly van Lawick said funerals are a difficult event to plan, and a culture that encouraged saving money — and an economy that more easily permitted it — aren’t so prevalent anymore.

“One of the things we realized is how few options people have when they don’t have the funds to be able to pay for a service. We found that to be tragic, that a person could live and contribute to their family, society and community and then all of a sudden because of cost limitations, they couldn’t have a service that is reflective of their life,” van Lawick said.

This is the first venture into the funeral service business for the Nielsons. But Ann-Marie has a medical background as a certified medical technician, and Doug owns other businesses. And van Lawick joined Legacy after working for a few years for another mortuary in town.

Legacy offers all-inclusive cremation packages for $1,599, while traditional burial services start at $2,999. Cremation packages for military veterans are $995.

Van Lawick said something else that separates Legacy from other funeral homes is its services are all-inclusive. She said some funeral homes offer a basic cost, then tack on professional service, transportation, container and handling and mileage fees.

“We have decided that some of those things should be included,” she said “Some of those things are things that you would have to do anyway.”

Legacy is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff are available anytime by appointment by calling 609-2233.

■ Starting Tuesday, it will be a new Old Chicago.

The Grand Junction restaurant at 120 North Ave., known for its array of deep-dish pizzas, calzones and draft beers, will close at 9 p.m. Monday. When it reopens at 11 a.m. Tuesday, customers will find an expanded menu as a part of a rebranding effort intended to increase the restaurant’s appeal to a wider audience.

Old Chicago will introduce a new tavern-style thin crust to its lineup of pizzas, nearly double its selection of salads and add seven new appetizers and six new draft beers. Pizza dough will feature a higher grade of flour, and the restaurant will rotate in and out a limited selection of beer every two or three days rather than every few months, according to Brittney Myers, who is representing Old Chicago in its grand reopening.

“We’re trying to make it a better dining experience,” she said.

Patrons will notice one other significant change. The restaurant’s game room has been converted into a banquet and conference room. The room, which was previously open, now features doors and can seat up to 36 people for business meetings, private parties or other events.

This is the third Old Chicago restaurant in Colorado to undergo the rebranding effort.

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