Biz Buzz, May 26, 2013

There appears to be new life at the former home of GJ Scores bowling alley, and while it remains a mystery exactly what sort of activities are moving into the site, one of the new owners says it will continue to appeal to teenagers and families.

Family Entertainment Group closed on the purchase of the building on May 17, according to Dale Beede, managing broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Prime Properties in Grand Junction. The 48,500-square-foot entertainment center at 2445 F 3/8 Road, which served as a bowling alley and hosted private parties, closed in 2011. Crews have been busy this week working inside the building.

Beede, who helped orchestrate the sale, referred to Family Entertainment Group as a “group of young guys that have great ideas for what they want to do with the property.”

The sale is “one off the books for the bank and hopefully a real improvement for the community,” Beede said.

Jon Labrum, a local business owner who’s part of that group, wrote in an email to The Daily Sentinel that the ownership group doesn’t yet know what attractions the new business will feature or when it will open. But he said the group will keep the facility a “family entertainment center targeting teens and families.”

Labrum owns a number of businesses in the Grand Valley, including the two Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches locations, ProVelocity Computers and Crestone Aviation flight school.

■ When Mesa Lakes Lodge and Resort went up for sale, Andy Brito told his wife, Gloria, that they should buy it. Her response, according to their daughter, Ashley, was to laugh.

“It was kind of a joke,” Ashley Brito said.

Really, though, it made sense. The family moved to Mesa County five years ago and almost immediately immersed itself in the array of outdoor activities Grand Mesa boasts. Within a year, Andy opened a fly shop in the Grand Mesa Visitor Center and offered guided flyfishing trips on the mesa through A-n-G Outfitters.

Last month, the Britos purchased the lodge on the northwest flank of the mesa from Steve and Ann Stiers and dropped the “resort” from the name.

Mesa Lakes Lodge, 3619 Colorado Highway 65, hosts a grand opening this weekend. There’s an afternoon barbecue today and Monday and live music beginning at 2 p.m. today.

With new ownership and management comes changes and expanded offerings. The Britos are in the process of renovating the cabins and will offer all-terrain vehicle tours and bicycle rentals this summer and hay rides this fall. The lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with pasta featured on Friday nights, ribs on Saturday nights and Mexican food on Sunday nights.

“It’s huge,” Ashley Brito said of the expanded food service. “We’re really excited about it. People all around here are excited about it.”

An application to obtain a liquor license is in process. The lodge also offers wireless Internet service.

The Britos have enhanced the lodge’s website, too. Visitors can go to mesalakeslodge.com and look at a webcam pointed out at Beaver Lake to get a sense of the weather on the mesa.

Alpine Bank in Rifle is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and instead of getting gifts it is giving gifts, worth $20,000 in total.

The bank says it commissioned an oil painting, called High Plains & Picturesque Plateaus, for donation to the Garfield County Library District’s new Rifle branch.

It also donated grants of $5,000 to:

■ The Rifle Visitor Improvement Fund to help attract other donations for the relocation of the boat ramp on the Colorado River in Rifle.

■ Colorado Mountain College Foundation, to go toward the fees fund that offsets costs for equipment and supplies for students in the dual enrollment program for career and technical training at the Rifle/West Garfield CMC campus.

■ R.I.D.E. (Riding Institute for Disabled Equestrians), as part of a matching grant fundraising campaign to help pay for equine therapy certification for volunteers through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.

Alpine Bank is headquartered in Glenwood Springs and has 36 Colorado locations.

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