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Ham for the holidays: Store reopens just in time

HoneyBaked Ham has reopened in Grand Junction, selling smoked and glazed hams that constitute a holiday tradition for many customers. (Photo courtesy HoneyBaked Ham)

Phil Castle, The Business Times

An entrepreneur who operates two other HoneyBaked Ham franchises in Colorado has reopened the Grand Junction store — and just in time for the holidays, when the bulk of sales occur.

Mike Dunlap reopened the HoneyBaked Ham at 2464 U.S. Highway 6 & 50.

The previous franchisee had closed the store in April.

Dunlap also operates HoneyBaked Ham franchises in Fort Collins and Greeley as well as temporary holiday operations in Loveland and Cheyenne, Wyo.

Dunlap said he’ll draw on the experience he’s gained over the past three years as a HoneyBaked Ham franchisee in running the Grand Junction location and expects the operation to work well with his other locations. “I just think it was a good fit.”

HoneyBaked Ham named Dunlap one of its rookies of the year in 2012, recognition based on sales as well as commitment to the brand.

The timing of the reopening of the Grand Junction location isn’t coincidental, Dunlap said, since about 70 percent of annual sales occur during November and December.

Melissa McFarlin, director of franchise development for HoneyBaked Ham, said the company’s hams, turkeys and other fare constitute a holiday tradition for many customers. “A customer can come in and put together an entire meal.”

Harry Hoenselaar founded the company nearly 60 years ago when he first started selling bone-in hams that had been cured, smoked and topped with a crunchy sweet glaze. Hoenselaar also invented and patented a machine that slices  a ham in a single, continuous spiral.

HoneyBaked Ham now operates more than 400 stores, but continues to process hams in exactly the same way, said Lee Griffin, a business consultant and franchisee for the company. “You’re getting the best of the best.”

The hams are smoked over hardwood chips for up to 24 hours, twice as long as other brands, and glazed by hand in stores, Griffin said. The hams are naturally juicy without injections of water or additives, he added.

In addition to holiday meals, the hams make for good holiday gifts for employees and clients, Griffin said. “That’s something they’re going to remember.”

In addition to hams, HoneyBaked Ham offers roasted and glazed turkey breasts as well as such side dishes as sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. HoneyBaked Ham stores also serve lunch and cater parties and other events.

With its large population and status as a regional shopping hub, Grand Junction constitutes a good market for the brand, Griffin said.

Dunlap said he’s optimistic about the Grand Junction operation in large part because of the quality of what it sells. “I’m confident. It’s a good product.”

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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