It’s been written here before and undoubtedly will be again. Nonetheless, the statement deserves repeating. The best part about publishing a business journal is telling stories about hard-working entrepreneurs and the remarkable things they do not only with their businesses, but also for the communities in which they live.
Every issue of the Business Times includes stories about entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting or expanding ventures, developing new products or services or joining in some sort of philanthropic effort. The issue you’re reading right now is certainly no exception, especially since two entrepreneurs are featured prominently in stories that start on page 2.
Let’s consider, then, the stories of Ron Allred and Chris Burns, entrepreneurs who’ve accomplished great things, albeit on different scales.
Allred, the keynote speaker at the upcoming Colorado Mesa University Entrepreneurship Day events, was the man who helped transform Telluride from a mining town into a destination resort.
A Grand Junction High School graduate, Allred initially worked as a dentist. But he soon became involved in real estate development — in a big way. He turned what was ranch land west of Vail into the town of Avon in conjunction with the development of the Beaver Creek Ski Area.
Allred then turned his attention to Telluride. He purchased the Telluride Ski Resort in 1978 and began the process of creating one of the top ski resorts in North America — along with the Mountain Village, a golf course and even an airport. By one estimate, Allred fostered economic development not only in Telluride, but also in communities within a 100-mile radius.
Burns started out with a part-time venture renting inflatable play structures for parties. But he soon became involved in the entertainment business in an even bigger way in opening Bananas Fun Park in Grand Junction. He’s continued to expand on the operation over the years in adding a laser tag arena and special events pavilion.
The biggest expansion of all is scheduled to open this summer in the largest water attraction in Western Colorado. What’s billed as Coconut Cove will tower 50 feet tall and include more than 50 water play features, include slides, splash pads and arching jets. A 10,000-gallon bucket at the top will tip, drenching the structure and those playing on it every three minutes.
In opening Coconut Cove, Burns figures to turn the hot summer weather in the Grand Valley into a competitive advantage for his operation with an attraction that’s cool in every sense of the word.
In the process, Burns adds yet another reason to the lengthy list of reasons why people should come to Grand Junction — whether they live in Western Colorado or they’re simply passing through on their way to other destinations. That’s economic stimulus, too.
CMU brings successful business people to its annual event because they serve as inspiring role models for students — and other wouldbe entrepreneurs, for that matter. The Business Times publishes stories about successful business people for precisely the same reason.
So keep reading. We’ll tell more stories.