Business stories illustrate examples worth following

The privilege of telling stories about businesses and entrepreneurs is conveying information not only about the ventures themselves, but also the examples they set. This issue of the Business Times is no exception in featuring stories about businesses that illustrate the importance of adaptability, collaboration and meeting a need.

The cover story offers an update on Kannah Creek Brewing, a business that has evolved considerably since opening a brewpub in Grand Junction in 2005. Since then, Kannah Creek also has opened Edgewater Brewery and a restaurant in a facility constructed south of downtown as well as a third restaurant in Fruita.

Kannah Creek also has distributed beer to liquor stores and other outlets not only in the Grand Valley and Western Slope, but also across Colorado and into other states. Struggling to capture a share of what’s been a growing and increasingly competitive craft beer market hasn’t been easy, though. And the owners of Kannah Creek have decided the effort requires resources that are no longer sustainable.

In adapting to the situation, Kannah Creek will scale back distribution to focus on the local market and its local operations. The company will replace a 30-barrel brewing system with a 10-barrel system as well as switch from glass bottles to aluminum cans. As an added benefit, the move to a smaller system will free up room at the Edgewater Brewery for a larger kitchen and additional seating for the restaurant there. There could even be room for a venue for special events and live musical performances.

A second story reports on a collaborative effort of Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center in Fruita and St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction to offer care to transitional patients — those who no longer require intensive care, but still need rehabilitation and other specialized services.

Construction is under way on a $4.5 million expansion at Colorado Canyons Hospital that will add nine rooms and other facilities to accommodate transitional patients. St. Mary’s plans to align its patient care with the program.

Dr. Brian Davidson, president of St. Mary’s Hospital, said it’s a matter of offering the right care at the right place at the right time. The result, Davidson predicted, will be better care at a lower cost.

The effort raises the question of whether or not similar programs could offer part of the solution to lowering health care costs — or at least bending what’s been a steep upward curve.

A third story reports on another new business created by what its founders envision as a way to meet a need. In the case of Good Life Wellness Solutions, that’s helping small businesses and organizations offer wellness programs to their employees.

Rebecca Weitzel and Skip Hudson have seen the benefits of workplace wellness programs. Weitzel manages the program at Hilltop Community Resources, where health care costs have decreased even as employee engagement has increased.

While wellness programs typically have been implemented by large corporations and organizations, Weitzel and Hudson believe they’ve come up with a way for small businesses and groups to offer those programs. Wellness cooperatives will offer participating businesses and groups a way to share and, therefore, lower costs.

As long as there are successful and innovative businesses in the Grand Valley, we’ll keep telling stories about their operations — and the examples they set.