Are you an ambassador for the Grand Valley?

Nancy Watkins
Nancy Watkins

Those who work and live in the Grand Valley are familiar with the booms and busts, the ups and downs and good times and bad that occur here.

Just a couple years ago, we were still dealing with the lingering effects of the recession. But in a fairly short time, things have turned around.

A pattern has emerged: rooftops first, then retail and new development. Residential lots no longer sit idle, and new developments have popped up around the community. There’s movement as well in existing commercial space and economic development opportunities at Los Colonias Business Park and the Riverfront at Dos Rios.

These changes didn’t just happen on their own. Thanks to the concerted efforts of private and public entities, we’re seeing growth and diversification in Grand Junction and the Grand Valley.

The exception has been changes at the Mesa Mall and the closure of large department stores. These changes reflect national issues more than local conditions but remain disappointing nonetheless. As an optimist, I see these changes as opportunities for new and better stores or possibly changes to the mall that will make it a destination for more than just retail outlets.

New businesses, new jobs and new neighbors fuel the overall momentum, but individuals play an essential role in supporting a growing economy. Shopping locally helps keep your money here.  But just as important, we all need to serve as ambassadors for the community. As an ambassador, you promote economic development by conveying a positive impression.

Just a week or so ago, we were at the Rockslide and met several journalists from Canada who write for golf magazines. They came to our beautiful courses to play golf and write about it. They had so many positive things to say about Grand Junction and Western Colorado. We filled in the details and told them about why we loved working and living here. They mentioned how nice everyone was and left with an even more positive impression than expected or what they have experienced in other communities.

There are some who’d like the Grand Valley to remain unchanged or moved here to get away from growth. But a vibrant community depends on a level of growth, a proverbial rising economic tide that lifts all boats. Ambassadors can help others understand this concept.

All of us have these opportunities when we’re out in the community — eating at restaurants, shopping in stores or meeting someone new. Just by starting a friendly conversation with someone, you could make an impression that brings the next new business to town.

Let’s keep the momentum going. Let’s all serve as ambassadors to promote the economy in the city and valley we love.