Biz Buzz, May 29, 2011

Heading into 2011, things were going quite swimmingly for Flying Fish Sushi.

Owners Spike Howard and Jenny Northup, Howard’s son, Chad, and their 20-plus employees were making fresh sushi daily in 14 City Market locations across the Western Slope, pulling in anywhere from $300 to $1,200 a day.

But the Grand Valley company took a dive when City Market’s parent company, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger Corp., notified Spike Howard via email that the grocer would be replacing Flying Fish with Los Angeles-based Fuji Foods. After convincing Kroger to let it stick around for 90 days rather than 30, so it could clear $100,000 in inventory, Flying Fish’s last day in City Market was April 24.

Having lost virtually 100 percent of its business, Flying Fish laid off all of its employees except one sushi chef and is starting over. It’s now making sushi for the two Albertsons locations in the Grand Valley, Community Hospital, Wild West Steaks and Seafood inside Crossroads Wine and Spirits, Fisher’s Market and Premium Natural Meats and Family Food Town, and is looking for more customers.

The loss of business couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Northrup is battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, Chad Howard said

“Hopefully we can keep it alive and rebuild it,” said Howard, Flying Fish’s operations manager. “We’re trying to get any locations we can.”

Flying Fish is making sushi in the kitchen at the Clifton Dos Hombres. The company can be reached at 970-778-0867.

Pearle Vision was looking forward to a June 1 grand opening after renovating the Mesa Mall storefront that has housed the eyeglass carrier for 30 years.

But customers will have to wait a little longer to see the new digs after a glass pane for the storefront arrived broken this week. Store owner Melissa Stone said it could take up to four weeks for new glass to arrive, but she expects it to come sooner.

When the store does open, it will offer a wider variety of frames and brands. Pearle Vision will be the exclusive retailer for Koali brand eyeware in the Grand Valley, and customers can also peruse frames from Dolce&Gabbana, Anne Klein, Oakley and Prada.

Clients who shy away from designer prices can still check out the store. Pearle Vision plans to carry a wider array of brands so consumers can find the price that fits their lifestyle.

“Over the past two years, higher-end brands haven’t moved so well with the economy, so we accommodated that by bringing in some more affordable products,” Stone said.

Visitors to Mesa Mall also will see a newly remodeled Maurices. The new look for the women’s clothing store is set to debut July 14, according to store manager Tina Jones.

The store will get a new look and 1,275 square feet of additional space, and it will begin offering plus sizes above size 14 and clothes for taller women.

Jones said the new sizes were prompted by two things: plus size outfits already are available at Maurices stores in Glenwood Springs and Montrose, and customers here have asked for the change.

“We feel like this is a really good market to bring that into because there are not a lot of choices for our customers,” Jones said.

That target customer is women ages 16 to 32 for most Maurices locations, but Jones said the Grand Junction store tends to have several clients in their 40s.

Black cherry, cake batter and berry. Those are the new flavors Cold Stone Creamery, 2474 Highway 6&50, Unit B, is offering in its new line of frozen yogurts.

The shop, like all the others in the Tempe, Ariz.-based franchise, is best known for its ice cream and other parfaits, but it makes sense that the creamery would branch into frozen yogurts, too, said Cortnee Lanuto, manager of the Grand Junction store.

She said even though the home office decided back in January to create new “yogurt bars” at all of its locations in the nation, it didn’t reach the local store until a couple of weeks ago.

But cake batter?

“It’s really good,” Lanuto said. “You can mix a lot of other stuff in it.”

Earlier this month, the chain also announced two, albeit unusual, new ice cream flavors: poppy seed and basil. Lanuto said her shop is offering a lemon poppy seed, but opted not to try the basil. Instead, she’s coming out with a new chocolate hazelnut flavor in the next few weeks.

Grand Junction Canyon View Car Wash, 1110 N. Sixth St., is to open in June or early July after substantial refurbishment of the car wash.


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