Grand Enterprise Initiative: New book store in Cooper Creek augurs good news for economy
Grand Enterprise Initiative
In my work as an enterprise facilitator with the Grand Enterprise Initiative, I have some good moments.
One of those moments took place this week when Miriam Roskam opened her new book store in Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park. Called Mountain Shire Books and Gifts, the store’s opening means that Grand County has a real bookstore again, nearly a year after the county’s only book store (Avis Gray’s Cascades bookstore in Grand Lake) closed, largely due to COVID-related issues.
I worked closely with Miriam. The store is an excellent addition to the business environment in the Valley, bringing sales tax revenue to the town and rounding out the business offerings and making the entire business environment much better for all.
First of all, it’s great to have a book store in the county again. Maybe we are not so backward here after all.
Secondly, Miriam did all the work and she did a great job. I stood there on the sidelines and helped. She had the Trinity of Management in place and she executed.
She had great cash flow projections ready to go. She had a marketing plan outlined and budgeted. She had done a great job perfecting her product. She became a member of a book store association for stores like her operation. She followed the association’s advice and listened to other book store owners. She used another consultant for specific book store advice.
With all that great preparation she was positioned to get a good loan for her business. She had cash ready to anchor that loan. She even qualified for a smallish grant largely because she was so well prepared. With all that in place, voila, she had a good book store ready to go. A grand opening event is set for July 17 with a raffle give-away and more.
The fact that she’s opened her store reflects a trend clearly seen in numbers compiled by the Colorado Secretary of State. New business filings through the state office are up by 30 percent. I am seeing this trend reflected here. We worked with a new retail store in Granby at the chamber visitors’ office (the honey store). We worked with several new service businesses as well, including a new and expanded fixed base operation at the airport in Kremmling. They are all busy and thriving.
But, importantly, one key common denominator for these businesses is that they don’t depend on lots of employees. They are either managed and operated solely by the owner or they need only one or two other employees, usually part-time.
Which brings us full circle back to the crisis in our economy here in Grand County. It’s not that we don’t have enough business. We have too much. Economic development efforts locally are working well in that regard. We just can’t handle it all because of a severe employee shortage that is largely (not totally) caused by a lack of affordable housing.
I can refer to three businesses that are simply shutting down this week because the owners have simply had it with struggling through either employee issues, supply-chain problems or simple burnout. Employees and owners are getting burnt out. This is real.
My secondary fear in this is that the people who come to the county are going to start to see it and experience it and become fed up with lodging accommodations that haven’t been cleaned, long lines in stores, and long waits and poor service at restaurants. This is where our economy begins to crash.
But it’s not all bad because for each business that closes or moves, another pops up in its place, as the new Mountain Shire Books in Winter Park demonstrates. We will grow and thrive, in spite of our issues. That says a lot about the business community in Grand County.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.
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