Biz Buzz, Jan. 24, 2010

Doohickeys & Dinosaurs and AnimaLoo’s Kid Zoo, 127 E. Aspen Ave. in Fruita has been closed in recent weeks to prepare for the going-out-of-business sale it will run this week. The majority of items will be marked down 70 percent or more.

Owner Dawn O’Grady will reopen the store from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Saturday it will be open noon to 4 p.m., and that will mark the end of a short-lived business venture that O’Grady said was as much a casualty of the poor economy as anything.

O’Grady said she opened the store in late 2008 intending only to have it open for that Christmas season. She said she was talked into keeping it open as shoppers expressed their gratitude for having a toy store in Fruita.

People also told her something else: “Fruita is such a weird place to run a business,” she said. “I must have had 20 people tell me that. They were right.”

O’Grady said AnimaLoo’s will become an Internet business run from her home, which is how she ran it before trying the storefront. Otherwise, she doesn’t know what’s next career-wise, except she’d like a job with less stress than the last one.

“I follow my heart,” she said. “I just pray for guidance, and sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you don’t. Closing a store is just closing a chapter. You move on from there.”

Aspen Avenue is losing one business, but it recently gained another. It’s A Girl Thang, 126 E. Aspen Ave., opened for the holiday shopping season, closed one week for some remodeling and reopened Jan. 5.

The business includes a salon, but its main focus is selling beauty products at affordable prices, according to Melissa Raley, who co-owns It’s A Girl Thang with Wanda Malone. Malone ran a successful salon for eight years in Wyoming, Raley said, and the two had been thinking about starting the business for more than a year before opening for Fruita’s Parade of Lights in December.

“It was a great, great start,” said Raley, adding It’s A Girl Thang has benefitted from foot traffic generated by next-door neighbor Kl!k Clothing Co.

Among the beauty products customers will find are Big Sexy, Kenra, OPI, Moroccanoil, Biolage and Pureology. Raley said people have told her they saved as much as $20 on a product at her store.

“We do a lot of footwork to get the best prices,” Raley said.

Down the road, Raley said she anticipates selling clothes, purses, swimwear and jewelry, “a lot of girly things.”

On the heels of its departure from Mesa Mall, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory exited Grand Junction altogether with the closing of the store at 1230 N. 12th St., Unit 2. It opened there in late October 2008.

Many people may miss the chocolate, but a few native Texans at The Daily Sentinel say Grand Junction suffered a greater loss: The city no longer has an outlet for Blue Bell ice cream.

“It’s a sad day, absolutely,” said Daniel Humphries, a proud Texan who works in The Daily Sentinel’s information technology department.

Ice cream, he claims, gets no better than Blue Bell, a product of Brenham, Texas. When it became available at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Humphries recalls his reaction being: “Heavenly day! We don’t have to go to Montrose.”

He was referring to drives he and his wife used to make — and no doubt will resume — to Montrose with a cooler in tow to stock up on Blue Bell. It is sold at the Russell Stover Candies store, 2185 Stover Ave. in Montrose.

Hank Bosco, the 87-year-old president of the Glenwood Hot Springs, has been named to the Colorado Business Hall of Fame by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement.

Bosco, who will be inducted Feb. 4, is a Glenwood Springs native who grew up in the hospitality industry. His father owned and operated the Hotel Denver.

In 2006, Bosco was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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