Thursday, November 13, 2008

Business Briefs...and Boxers

Over the last week I've had occasion to pass by or stop in at several local businesses. Some are thriving, others not. Some are just getting off the ground, others are finished or are preparing to be. I thought I would share some of these observations. No 'Biz Buzz' here, just one set of eyes and ears.

I stopped into Quilter's Corner to order a quilt hanger. This store on Colorado Avenue has expanded greatly after moving from its' original Main Street location. Original quilts adorn the walls of the large, well-stocked business; there is ample off-street parking, and a good-size classroom for the many classes that are conducted there.

In speaking with one of the employees, the store has quite a regional following, with regular customers traveling in from Delta, Montrose, and Moab. They also have a robust web presence, and their online catalog is reported to be very popular.

On Sunday I took advantage of an ongoing sale at Dahle's Big and Tall Shop, on 24 1/2 Road near Mesa Mall. The store's website describes the chain as "the largest independent retailer of big and/or tall men's fashions in America".

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. An updated web page announced that Dahle's was recently acquired by Casual Male XL, another large big and tall chain. According to the local manager, this will mean the end of the store in Grand Junction.

It seems that a store in a market our size made sense for a family-owned (and Salt Lake City based) company like Dahle's, but not a larger corporation like Casual Male. As a result, the local store will close down sometime in January. If you're a big guy like me, this is a great opportunity to get some quality clothes that fit for a reasonable price.

While driving out toward the mall, I noticed that the former Quizno's Subs building near the intersection of 1st and Grand will open as a walk-in Urgent Care center starting tomorrow. This is part and parcel of what appears to be a disturbing trend locally, that being a lack of physician practices willing to take new patients. As a result, places like this one have been cropping up. It will be interesting to see how they fare. Best of luck.

Speaking of new businesses downtown, this past weekend was the grand opening of the White Hall Village, located at 600 White Avenue in what were rental offices. This space appears to have attracted at least one established business, and spawned some new ones. Heart of the Dragon has relocated from 12th and Patterson to the White Hall location. There is a Peruvian import store there, as well as a candle shop.

The busiest place when I was there was Confluence Books, a "
Community Center and Radical Bookstore" operated by Grand Junction Alternative Media, publishers of The Red Pill. When I was there on Sunday, they had just finished a seminar on knowing your rights when contacted by the police.

Confluence Books is described, among other things, as "a place to read, hangout, have coffee, talk politics, build community, hold a workshop, screen a movie, have a meeting or plot the revolution". Browsing through there was certainly interesting. I wish them the best of success.

On a bittersweet concluding note, I have to pay homage to Bill Hill, who I used to go to church with and is best known in Downtown Grand Junction as "The Junque Man". His shop on South 3rd Street (next to his son Bruce's business, Superior Alarm) was a place to disappear into when you had a couple of hours. Classic, eccentric, and (mostly) junque-y, all at the same time.

The shop has been closed for a while now, and a call I placed to Superior today confirmed that Bill has retired. As far as the contents of the store, I didn't ask, but I'd be very curious at what Bill and his family will fetch for what is probably the most extensive collection of Playboy magazines this side of Utah. Not that I looked at those too much, but they dated back to the 50's.

Have a good rest of the week.

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