Biz Buzz, Dec. 12, 2010

Large, red letters blare Natural Grocers where they used to highlight Vitamin Cottage. That’s what’s new on the outside.

But it really is what’s inside that counts: more space and more products for a grocery and vitamin store that never actively sought to grow. It just worked out that way.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has been working on an expansion since August, when it took over the two vacated units to the north of it, a move made possible when next-door neighbor Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Colorado left the Grand Mesa Shopping Center, 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50. Customers didn’t know about the expansion, though, until a few weeks ago, when the wall that used to separate Natural Grocers from Beneficial came down.

The store went from 9,800 square feet to 15,200 square feet, and Manager Joe Leech said that space means more aisles for grocery, produce, dairy and frozen foods; six checkout stands instead of four; restrooms nearly twice as large; and a lecture/meeting room that can host small seminars.

Some construction is ongoing but should conclude by the month’s end, Leech said. In the meantime, it’s not hurting business, which he said increased 5 to 7 percent in the previous two weeks.

Leech said the expansion is the store’s second since the Lakewood-based chain arrived in Grand Junction eight years ago. Five-and-a-half years ago it added 2,000 square feet when a unit next to it became available.

In both cases, Leech said, “The store was doing really well, and the timing of spots opening next to us was right. ... We had to take advantage.”

When Larry and Tammy Jaudon decided to leave their moving business behind, John Wishart made his move: He and his common-law wife, Lisa J. Riccillo, bought All Pro Moving, 2439 River Road.

As operations manager for All Pro Moving for the past nine years, Wishart knew exactly what he was getting last month when he took over the 10-year-old company, which has been an Atlas Van Lines agent since 2007.

“I’m just going to continue to do what I know how to do,” said Wishart, who emphasized he was born in Collbran and lived most of his life in Grand Junction, meaning the company truly is locally owned.

He doesn’t anticipate much change. All Pro Moving will continue to operate five moving trucks and provide 18,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage space for its customers, he said.

Wishart said All Pro Moving has remained profitable during the recession, and, “It wasn’t by luck. It was by design. We’ve gotten lean and mean. ... During a recession you have to do more with less, and that’s what we did.”

When Amanda Brand and Michelle Shurtleff met recently at a local event where one was selling western items and the other was selling domestic goods, they struck up a friendship. Soon after, they struck up a business partnership.

The duo will have a soft opening Thursday and Friday for Two Divas Boutique, upstairs in the Real Deals on Home Decor building at 2463 U.S. Highway 6&50. The grand opening will take place Saturday, and the boutique will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days.

The grand opening will feature specials, including a 5 percent discount to anyone who mentions this write-up in Biz Buzz.

The store will sell purses, jewelry, scarves, kitchen items, aprons and unique clothing.

Normal business hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays.

Lakeside Salon, 3154 Lakeside Drive, No. 105, recently received a total make-over. An outdated look gave way to a modern look with light blue and chocolate-brown paint, new lighting and new stylist stations.

Salon coordinator Cierra Lard called the changes a major overhaul, adding, “We just have a whole new theme. Now it’s brighter and more inviting.”

Lakeside Salon is a full-service salon offering services including hair, nails and massage for clients of all ages. To make an appointment, call 245-1808.


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