Business people can still count their blessings

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday and in recognition of the importance of an attitude of gratitude, here are some things for which Grand Valley business owners and managers can be thankful this year:

The onset of the holiday shopping season. While no retailer longs for the long hours and hard work that comes with the holidays, the hopeful payoff is increased sales. Thankfully, there are a number of indicators that point to a profitable holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation has forecast a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales. Grand Valley retailers are mostly upbeat as the so-called Black Friday start to the season nears. In actuality, Black Friday comes on a Thursday at a growing number of local stores. As an added benefit, Grand Valley merchants can be grateful they operate in a regional hub that attracts a tide of shoppers likely to lift all boats.

Entrepreneurial innovation. The variety of better products and services entrepreneurs bring to market constitutes a seemingly limitless source of amazement. The Grand Valley is certainly no exception to that rule. Consider, for example, the inventive woman who created a medical brace she now expects to market on a global scale. And how about the couple who developed a kit that enables people to attach small crystals to their teeth? They hope to literally cash in on what could become a popular trend. There are countless similar stories to tell of the innovative business people and businesses bringing money and jobs to the local economy as a result of their efforts.

Assistance from others. Presidential pronouncements notwithstanding, business owners and managers do build that. But they also get by with a little help from their friends. The Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction offers something of a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs in offering classes, individual counseling, low-cost rental space and a revolving loan fund. But that’s only the prominent beginning of a lengthy list of what could be called friends of entrepreneurs that also includes local chambers of commerce, Colorado Mesa University, the Mesa County Workforce Center and Grand Junction Economic Partnership. On a state and national level, there’s the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center and U.S. Small Business Administration.

Improving conditions. The recovery from recession has been slow and unsteady, but a number of economic indicators point to progress. Real estate activity in Mesa County has rebounded and both the number of transactions and the dollar volume of those deals remain on pace to top last year. Sales tax collections, a key measure of retail sales, have slumped in recent months. Nonetheless, collections for the year should exceed last year. The unemployment rate edged up in Mesa County in October, but once again remains below the level of this time last year. Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate changes from month to month, but the long-term trends have been positive.

Last, but certainly not least, thanks must go to the advertisers, subscribers and readers that make the Business Times a successful venture.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.