Outdoor rec company awarded for efforts

Sarah Shrader
Sarah Shrader
Kristi Pollard
Kristi Pollard

An outdoor recreation company that’s expected to become the anchor tenant of a new business park in Grand Junction has earned additional recognition for its efforts.

Bonsai Design received the EDIE Company of the Year Award from the Economic Development Council of Colorado.

“We couldn’t be more honored to receive this award from the EDCC,” said Sarah Shrader, who owns Bonsai Design along with her husband, Thaddeus. “Bonsai is excited to help promote and support the outdoor recreation industry in the Grand Valley, and we are looking forward to creating a vibrant and healthy economy for families to thrive.”

Kristi Pollard, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, praised the Shraders for their efforts. “Bonsai Design continues to be an integral part of establishing the Western Slope as a healthy, collaborative, outdoor community that strives to provide an outdoor-centric setting for businesses.”

In June, Bonsai Design was selected as one of 50 winners of the Colorado Companies to Watch program honoring fast-growing firms in the state. Bonsai Design was a runner-up in the Wright Awards program

Bonsai Design designs, builds and installs adventure courses and zip lines for customers around the world.

The Economic Development Council of Colorado honored Bonsai Design not only for its expanding operations, but also its support for economic development, including the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. Sarah Shrader serves on the GJEP board of directors and also helped establish the Grand Valley Outdoor Recreation Coalition.

GJEP in turned worked with Bonsai Design in negotiating with the City of Grand Junction over incentives to make the company the anchor tenant of a business park proposed for south of downtown.

The incentives for Bonsai Design included a low-cost lease for land near Las Colonias Park, a $1 million contribution toward the construction of new facilities and waiving fees and real and business property taxes over a 10-year period.

The Shraders expect to invest $2 million in new facilities at the site, including a research and development facility that will include a zip line and challenge courses open to the public. The Shraders also plan to hire 15 additional employees, bringing their staff to 50 with an average annual salary of $55,000. The estimated economic contributions of Bonsai Design total more than $20 million.

“Grand Junction Economic Partnership has taken such an interest in getting to know us, getting to know our business,” Sarah Shrader said. “They’ve been our partner along the way, whether it’s connecting us to resources or offering programs that benefit our business. They’ve helped guide us to success.”

If everything proceeds as planned, Bonsai Design will occupy two of four pads planned for the first phase of a 10- to 15-acre business park east of Las Colonias Park. Bonsai Design will work with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership in recruiting additional tenants for the park.

The park will be developed through public and private partnerships involving the City of Grand Junction, Bonsai Design, Downtown Development Authority and other businesses. The park is expected to draw $20 million in private investments and $10 million in public investments.