Biz Buzz: Sept. 1, 2013

A Grand Junction fixture in the furniture business for more than 50 years, Mike Bennett of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries, 865 North Ave., recently decided to retire so he can work on his golf game and tour the north country with his wife, Beverly.

Banff National Park near Lake Louise in Canada and other sections of the Great Northwest top the list of destinations he plans to visit behind the wheel of his 40-foot motor home.

Back in June 1963, Bennett began his five decades in the furniture trade working for his mentor, Ray Meacham. Starting in 1972, he bought stock in Meacham’s store — known then as American Furniture — and continued working as an owner through multiple incarnations of the business, which occupied several different street corners on Main Street before moving to its present location in 1994.

Bennett recalled the “goofiest” moment of his career may have taken place in the 2,500-square-foot Stratolounger Comfort Center he once managed downtown.

“It featured (a mechanical) Rip Van Winkle in the middle of the floor snoring with his chest heaving up and down. Thinking back on it, that was just the goofiest thing,” Bennett said.

Lessons he learned from Meacham kept the furniture store going through the 1982 oil shale bust and continue to sustain the store during the Great Recession, Bennett said.

“(Meacham) taught me to squeeze those dollars,” Bennett said. “That’s why we’re still in business. That and paying attention to advertising, which you have to maintain, and taking care of your employees as best as you can during hard times and even in easy times.”

Bennett’s son, Cory, a co-owner, said, “I am sorry to see him retire. To be honest, I’m not real happy about it. They say family shouldn’t work together, but I love it. He’s been a great teacher.”

■ Paula Rohr of Cupcakes by Loma Hill Farm wants her patrons from the Fruita Farmers Market to know that when the weekly, Saturday-morning market closes for the year on Sept. 21, they can continue to buy her gluten-free cupcakes and specialty dog biscuits at her new location at The Business Incubator Center, 2591 Legacy Way. The new location officially opened Aug. 20.

A caterer and baker who delivers, Rohr uses only the freshest ingredients, many grown locally, to make her creations. Fresh-squeezed lemons, for example, go into the frosting she slathers across her gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes. Fresh-squeezed oranges go into the frosting on her gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes.

Call (970) 361-7876 for more information.

■ Kannah Creek Brewing Company recently contracted with Republican National Distributing Company to distribute some of its most popular brewed concoctions throughout Colorado, spokeswoman Katlin Lubeley said in a news release.

The first shipment left the company’s Edgewater Brewery location, 905 Struthers Ave., on Aug. 16. Kannah Creek’s Lands End Amber and Standing Wave Pale Ale will now be sold in liquor stores, restaurants and bars around the state, Lubeley said.

■ Kevin and Valerie Brooks announced the opening of their new Big O Tires and Auto Service store in downtown Grand Junction, set for Sept. 9. Located at 215 N. Third St., the store plans to employ only certified technicians to work on vehicles. As many as 15 employees in all will work at the store, Kevin Brooks said.

“Whether you work, play or shop downtown, Big O is making it just a little easier and convenient to take care of your tire and auto needs,” Brooks said.

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