A serving of good news for worry weary readers

While it’s only natural the dreadful drubbing of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl and continued wintry weather here in the Grand Valley might sour spirits, there also are some positive developments that fill the proverbial glass at least half full. In fact, this very issue of the Business Times serves up an ample portion of good news that should improve the outlook.

Let’s review, shall we?

The impending opening of the new Mesa County Workforce Center in Grand Junction constitutes especially good news not only for the far too many residents looking for jobs, but also the businesses looking for qualified new hires. The newly constructed building brings under one roof the multitude of facilities and services the workforce center offers, improving convenience for those who use those facilities and services and improving efficiency for those who provide them. In addition, though, the new building also features a business center that offers a large venue for everything from job fairs and hiring events to meetings and presentations. The Mesa County Workforce Center long has played a big role in workforce and economic development. The new building will enable the center to play an even bigger role.

The improving outlook for tourism and travel business in the Grand Valley offers more good news — for hotels, motels and restaurants, in particular, but also more generally for a local economy that relies upon this important sector. Debbie Kovalik, director of the economic, convention and visitor services department for the City of Grand Junction, bases her optimism on a number of factors, among them growing attendance at local events, more conventions and projected growth in travel. What’s more, the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau recently won what’s considered the Oscar of the travel industry for its website and online efforts to turn people considering traveling to Grand Junction into people who actually come here. Kovalik raises an important point in stressing the potential of the travel and tourism sector to promote economic growth more quickly than other industry sectors.

There’s still more good news in the selection of a Grand Junction businessman as winner of the highest honor the Taco Bell chain of quick service restaurants bestows. Ken Basinger recently received the Glen Bell Award, a recognition presented to an owner deemed to best exemplify the qualities and entrepreneurial spirit of the Taco Bell founder. Basinger and his family own a total of 24 Taco Bell restaurants in Colorado and California, including all five locations in the Grand Valley. Those restaurants consistently rank among the best nationwide in evaluations based on customer surveys and inspections. At the same time, though, Basinger’s 36-year career in the Taco Bell business constitutes a true Horatio Alger story of luck and pluck. Basinger was barely 20 years old when he started out as an assistant manager trainee at the Taco Bell on North Avenue. Through hard work and a passion for excellence, Basinger made the most of the opportunities presented to him. The story is instructional for other business owners in that Basinger attributes his success in large part to yet another hallmark of his operations: treating employees like family.

While there are justifiable reasons for feeling gloomy, remember there’s always another NFL season and warmer weather soon will return with spring. Meanwhile, remain grateful for good news and count your blessings.