The sky is not falling, business survey finds

Companies who wish to survive the economic downturn could do their businesses a favor by diversifying their operations.

About half the businesses that responded to the survey by a Listening to Business program at Mesa State College, especially in the manufacturing and services sectors, said they see opportunities for increased market share or new competitive advantages.

Georgann Jouflas, the Mesa State business professor who conducted the survey, sent out an e-mail questionnaire last week to 200 businesses; 64 businesses responded within 48 hours.

That return rate is high, especially for the short turnaround and provides a “pretty good database” of responses, Jouflas said. “This is a great way to feel what is really happening.”

“Definitely national trends are affecting local businesses,” Jouflas said. Businesses that are on solid ground, however, seem to be well-situated to survive the national storm, she said.

“Those that are going under weren’t in good shape to begin with,” Jouflas said.

According to the snapshot of the economy from the survey, she said, “The sky is not falling, though there is a gray cloud.”

One local business that has adapted to survive is Quadna, 592 N. Commercial Drive.

Quadna manufactures, services and installs industrial pumps, manager Rob Giese said. They fabricate custom systems for any business that needs a pump, such as mines, oil rigs, hospitals, water delivery systems, wastewater and high-rise buildings.

There are six employees in the Grand Junction location. Quadna has branches in Montana,
Wyoming and Nevada, as well as a large manufacturing plant in Golden.

Giese moved to Grand Junction four years ago to focus on the oil and gas industry in western Colorado, but even in the downturn of that sector, the company has found work.

“We’re chasing a little bit different things now,” Giese said. “There is always something else to do.”

One of those industries is coal mining, which Giese says “will always stay strong.” He said that is because a majority of power plants are coal-fired.

Quadna has also increased its number of bids to contractors for municipal projects.

Giese said these projects may not be as profitable as the work his company did with the oil and gas sector, but as long as it can survive this slump, it will be around when oil and gas booms again.

Dean Massey, regional president of Wells Fargo for western Colorado and chairman of the board of directors of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed that for businesses to survive the down economy, they must adapt.

“They need to conserve liquidity and capital while remaining open for business,” he said.

Massey said in a recession, companies cut back on spending, which causes the economy to slump even more. 

“The mood of the economy needs to turn positive, and that’s the only thing that can stop it,” he said.

He added that Colorado’s economy is stronger than the nation as a whole, and the Western
Slope has fared better than other areas of the state.

“We need to realize there are some strengths out here, and we need to capitalize on that,” Massey said.


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