Local insurance agency widens regional business presence

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While many Craig businesses work purely within the confines of city limits, one continues to push beyond the boundaries of Northwest Colorado.

As of the beginning of April, Mountain West Insurance & Financial Services LLC, 100 E. Victory Way, has a new component to its business with the acquisition of the Grand Junction company Valley Financial Services, Inc. Merging with the business, Mountain West adds nine Valley Financial employees to its ranks.

Sue Voloshin, operations manager for Mountain West, said the addition, the process of which began in October 2011, will give the business an extra wealth of experience in the insurance industry.

“They’re very strong in life and health benefits, so by combining with them it increased our footprint on the Western Slope and lets them use expertise with our clients,” she said. “It also gives them a chance to do more with property and casualty, which is what we’re strong in. It works for both organizations.”

Mountain West previously had an office in Grand Junction before making a deal with Valley Financial. The Craig-centered business also has offices in Steamboat Springs, Meeker and Durango, as well as one in Arizona.

“Being in Grand Junction has helped us cover the whole Western Slope,” Voloshin said. “It’s right in the middle, so we go right from the top of the state to the bottom.”

Mountain West employees also recently received good news from the Farmers Alliance Companies of McPherson, Kan., being named a Farmers Alliance Advantage Agent for 2011.

A news release for the announcement defines Advantage Agent status as one indicative of a “high level of commitment to customers and the company” and “superior professionalism and profitability.”

“I’ve been here at least five years, and we’ve gotten one every year,” Voloshin said. “It’s a pretty high standard.”

Pet supply store hosts canine classes

With nicer weather on the horizon, it’s easier for you and your four-legged friends to be out and about.

However, the furry quadrupeds might need a refresher course in what constitutes good behavior when they meet up with others of their species.

Canines Unlimited Training has recently paired with pet supply shop Paddy Whack, 400 Mack Lane, for canine social skills classes. The courses, taught by instructor Glenna Grandbouche, are available for dogs and owners of all experience levels, whether it involves feisty puppies who need to learn the basics or old dogs that could stand to learn a few new tricks.

Fees begin at $35 per class and package deals are available as needed.

“They’ve gone really well so far and it’s let people know what we’re offering,” Paddy Whack owner Kelly Davidson said.

Davidson said she had first started offering classes in January before adding Grandbouche to the mix.

Other classes Paddy Whack will be offering in the near future include obedience and agility in the Rally-O technique, which encourages fun and exercise for both dog and owner.

She recently set up the class’s obstacle course outside the building to catch the eye of passersby.

“It’s a little less formal than regular obedience, but you’re also learning different kinds of skills,” she said.

Davidson also offers the space to members of the 4-H Club who work with canines.

“Not everyone can work with livestock, but most people can have a dog in their home, so it provides them a chance to learn all they can from that program,” she said.

Since opening in September, Davidson has seen her business grow from an increased variety of pet food supplies for numerous kinds of animals to a full dog grooming service.

“We’ve had a great response from the community so far, it’s just a matter of letting more people know we’re here,” she said.

For more information on dog training, call 824-7986 or 620-4068 or visit caninesunlimitedtraining.com or paddywhackpets.com.

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