Local franchise owners Bob and Cecily Marolf will celebrate the grand opening of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza from noon to 7 p.m. on Jan. 9. The new restaurant will be located at 2478 Highway 6 & 50 next to Bellco Credit Union in the Grand Mesa Center.

The grand opening celebration will include free pizza. At the restaurant, customers can choose from a selection of signature pizzas or build their own with a variety of toppings. Regular hours for Smokin’ Oak will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. It will employ between 20 and 30 people in part-time and full-time positions.

“While Grand Junction has some fine pizza restaurants in town, we offer a unique concept,” Bob Marolf said in a press release. “Your pizza is baked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven in just 90 seconds; the time from order completion to food on the table can be as quick as four to five minutes.”

The original Smokin’ Oak opened in 2009 and began franchising in 2016. Bob Marolf said he hopes to open a second location in Grand Junction later next year and is actively searching for properties.

“We love our community and look forward to offering residents and visitors a new dining experience,” he said.

n A Mesa County resident who was a founding board member of Community Counts, which was created to improve relations between the oil and gas industry and local residents, has been honored by the organization after finishing up 12 years of involvement.

Susan Alvillar and a small group of energy companies in 2007 founded the group, which among other things offers a response line, 866-442-9034, that residents can call to try to get issues with the energy/extractive industry resolved in a timely manner.

Community Counts has grown to include multiple types of industry, local governments, businesses, associations and citizens, and operates in Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties.

Alvillar worked in community relations for several local energy developers before retiring in 2017. In 2016, she received the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s Industry Advocate Award.

She was honored by Community Counts at its meeting last month.

“It will be a challenge for the (Community Counts) board to live up to the standards set by Susan but we will definitely try not to let her down,” the group’s board president, Kirk Daehling of Natural Soda, said in a Community Counts news release.

Other board members for 2020 are Chuck Hall, a Mesa County resident, vice president; Monique Speakman, property manager for Cheryl & Co. Real Estate, secretary; John Doose, Ursa Resources, treasurer; Dave Morlan, Rio Blanco County road and bridge director; Brian Gardner, Mesa County resident; Zach Jacobson of Summit Midstream; and Kirby Wynn, Garfield County oil and gas liaison.

Community Counts’ next meeting will be Jan. 15 at the Town of Parachute small board room from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Its meetings are open to the public.

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Do you know about an area business opening, closing, moving or changing? Email bizbuzz@gjsentinel.com.

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