Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco counties applied for SET grant together
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office announced Monday three counties in northwest Colorado were chosen to participate in a rural economic development program in 2013. The program, known as Stronger Economies Together, helps regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities, according to a USDA RD news release.
For many people, giving back to their home community is a way to show appreciation for what the people and organizations that got them to where they are. Resident Mardi Anson takes it to another level. Anson, 40, is a third-generation Craig native who will be seen active in many of Craig’s organizations and groups. The mother of two has been doing it for years and has a list of activities outside of her job that doesn’t seem to end.
InsideOut Sports opened for business Saturday and started out strong. Offering half-price deals for use of the batting cages and shooting on the archery range to go along with food from the grill, it was a productive first day of business for owner Brad King. “It started real slow; I opened at nine,” King said Saturday. “I really didn’t get anybody in here till about 11, but we’ve been steady since then.”
If you make holiday shopping convenient, Americans will come in droves. It's estimated that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday. They were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving evening, updating mobile shopping applications for smartphones and tablets, and expanding shipping and layaway options. All told, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four-day weekend starting on Thanksgiving, up 9.2 percent of last year, according to a survey of 4,000 shoppers that was conducted by research firm BIGinsight for the trade group. Americans spent more too: The average holiday shopper spent $423 over the entire weekend, up from $398. Total spending over the four-day weekend totaled $59.1 billion, up 12.8 percent from 2011. Caitlyn Maguire, 21, was one of the shoppers that took advantage of all the new conveniences of shopping this year. Maguire, who lives in New York, began buying on Thanksgiving night at Target's East Harlem store. During the two-hour wait in line, she also bought items on her iPhone on Amazon.com. On Friday, she picked up a few toys at Toys R Us. And on Saturday she was out at the stores again.
A new business in Craig hopes to fill a need for residents looking to keep themselves sharp during the winter. Archers and baseball players from Craig can find themselves at a disadvantage when competing against competitors who can practice year-round. Beginning Dec. 1 InsideOut Sports, 561 Russel St., is looking to even the playing field. That’s one reason Brad King is opening the business, which offers Craig residents an indoor archery range and batting cages. But he also thinks it is something many people in Craig will enjoy.
There’s a new auto body and paint shop in Craig. After a lifetime of working on cars, James Hand and his wife, Brenda, decided to open their own shop, Custom Auto and Paint, 324 School St. in Craig. Open since Nov. 1, Hand said business has been good.
Buyer: Stewart, Wade C & Ripkoski, Aubrey N Seller: Schmedeke, Larry G & Elise Address: 933 Lincoln St. Sale Price: $185,000.00
Craig has become a hub of competition for an unlikely business-type: thrift stores. With a few thrift stores already in place for years, three more have opened in Craig in the past 15 months, making the city a hot spot for the shopper looking for great deals or unusual items. Without the massive infrastructure of an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, Craig residents have nonetheless dived into the thrift store business. For those owners, the businesses started for a variety of different reasons and at different times in their lives, but one characteristic is similar: a love for thrift.
Having been open for a little under a month, Travis Wondra, owner of Big O Tires said business has been very good, and is happy with his location in Craig.
As winter and hockey season approach, replacing old, worn gear or getting equipment for a first-timer becomes a top priority. While hockey never has taken a major hold in Craig, it does have a loyal following. That is why Samuelson True Value Hardware, 456 Breeze St., sells hockey equipment during the sport’s winter season. Storeowner Mark Samuelson has been involved with hockey for years and wanted to provide a place in town for parents and players to be able to gear up.
I've been advocating for and promoting Craig's business community nearly all of my adult life, and especially for the almost seven years that I've served as the executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, and here's what I have to say about shopping locally: It's your money. You should spend it however and wherever you want. To that statement, about half of you responded mentally with a defiant, “I will, and I don't really need your permission.” The other half is looking up my phone number to lambast me for writing the exact opposite of what my position, and my conscience, dictates.
State mandate requires certain percentage of utilities come from renewables
There was reluctance Tuesday among some Craig City Council members to support a nonbinding letter of intent for the construction of a solar array in Craig. Citing Tri-State Generation & Transmission, operator of Craig Station, as one of the largest employers and primary contributors to the Moffat County tax base, council member Don Jones questioned whether supporting construction of a solar garden in Craig City limits would send the wrong message to local energy industry employees. “Here we are trying to keep coal in the area and all of a sudden we’re going to buy into something like this?” Jones said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m for green energy, but what kind of a message are we sending to the power plant and the mines?”
Center for Western Priorities based in Denver
Last month a new, nonpartisan clearinghouse opened in Denver to serve as a source of information in the ongoing debate between energy development and conservation on public lands. The Center for Western Priorities launched in September to provide research-based accountability, data analyses and in-depth policy studies to ensure public lands and natural resources found throughout the western United States are used responsibly, according to a company news release.
Nauman-Cook: Everyone is welcome
Friday marks the official grand opening of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership’s business incubator. Named in honor of a late Craig resident and former county commissioner Mariana Raftopoulos, EDP Director Betsy Nauman-Cook said Friday’s event is all about growing business in Moffat County. "It’s an honor to the family and Marianna’s legacy of spurring growth and community involvement," she said. The grand opening of The Mariana Raftopoulos Business Incubator and One Stop Business Center takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower, 50 College Drive.
Funding for visitor centers debated by board, county, chamber
In July members of the Moffat County Tourism Association board began the process of compiling its 2013 budget. With fewer funds in the county coffers than a year ago, MCTA was forced to scale back nearly all of its proposed 2013 expenses, including assistance money to the Dinosaur Welcome Center and the Craig Chamber of Commerce. In 2012 MCTA budgeted $31,200 and $9,000 for the Craig Chamber and the Dinosaur Welcome Center, respectively. This year MCTA proposed a reduction to $19,170 to the chamber and $5,000 to the Dinosaur Welcome Center. Upon receiving the draft budget, the Moffat County Commissioners said they would prefer to see MCTA maintain visitor center funding at 2012 levels. On Tuesday the MCTA board discussed whether to send their budget back to the county as written — and run the risk of the commissioners changing it, or revise the budget in an attempt to come up with a compromise.