Biz Buzz, May 8, 2011

The reason for selling the steel supply and recycling business they started in a sagebrush field in 1982 was simple: Emmett and Helen Bonner wanted to retire.

They are 72 years old, and the couple sold Bonner Supply Co., 2365 River Road, to Pacific Steel & Recycling because it’s time to try hobbies like fishing, gardening and traveling. That will be quite a change, Emmett said, because “I think my main hobby was working.”

Given the companies’ similarities, buying Bonner Supply made sense for Pacific Steel & Recycling, which is based in Great Falls, Mont., and now has 43 branches in nine states after buying three in the past week. It closed on the Bonner sale April 29, and opened under the Pacific name Monday.

Ownership and the name changed in Grand Junction. Otherwise, new Manager Eric McCann said, “Basically, it will be business as normal.”

Pacific Steel kept all 19 of Bonner Supply’s employees, and Emmett and Helen’s son, Scott Bonner, will be the operations manager. Retaining the employees was a key reason for selling to Pacific Steel, Emmet said, adding the new owner offers a good benefits package, is employee-owned and had a good, 15-year, working relationship with Bonner Supply.

“We were blessed to be able to build such a good company,” Emmett said. And in Pacific Steel, he said, “I don’t know anyone we could’ve found who would’ve been a better fit.”

Jed and Mandey Murray frequently ate at frozen-yogurt shops when they visited larger cities, and once they stumbled upon Red Mango, they agreed on two things: It’s frozen yogurt was the best, and Grand Junction needed one.

So, they opened one.

Mandey said she and her husband had been looking for an investment, and they found it in Red Mango, a national chain that features a serve-yourself concept with a wide variety of flavors and a bar with a wider variety of toppings, ranging from fresh fruits and nuts for the health-conscious to chocolate and sprinkles to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Red Mango opened Tuesday, next to Qdoba Mexican Grill in the strip mall at 2356 Rimrock Ave. in Rimrock Marketplace, and by the afternoon customers were streaming in. Wednesday afternoon brought more of the same, to which Mandey said, “It’s been pretty hopping, nonstop, from about noon on.”

The Murrays believe the taste and quality of their product will sell itself, but it doesn’t hurt being across the street from Wal-Mart and Lowe’s Home Improvement and later this year adding American Furniture Warehouse and Hobby Lobby to the neighborhood.

Kristina Haws without hesitation says, “My prices are absolutely phenomenal.”

And that applies to trendy women’s clothing she gets from Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well as fire-resistant work clothes for men who toil in the area’s oil and gas fields.

Haws opened Zen’s Clothing & Specialty Items on May 1 at 122 E. Aspen Ave. in Fruita, just nine days after Kl!k Clothing closed there and moved its inventory to its Grand Junction store, 912 North Ave.

After several years as a stay-at-home mom — she has four kids — Haws decided it was time to work again, spurred by a couple of beliefs: The economy is ready to turn around, and she can provide clothing people want at affordable prices.

“This kind of dropped in my lap, and I jumped on it pretty quickly,” she said.

Right now the store has women’s clothing and items such as hats, purses and jewelry on display, and Haws put her prices in perspective by saying, “I don’t have any shirts over $30, and I refuse to have any shirts over $30.”

She says she makes that happen by being picky about distributors and passing along to customers the deals she gets.

Men’s clothing is coming soon, and her store will include an area for fire-resistant and fire-retardant clothing. Plus, she will offer home delivery because she knows firsthand how busy an energy-industry worker can get; she’s married to one.


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