In my work as a business facilitator with the Grande Initiative Entreprise, I have good times.
One of those moments came this week when Miriam Roskam opened her new bookstore in Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park. Called Mountain Shire Books and Gifts, the store’s opening means Grand County has a full-fledged bookstore again, nearly a year after the county’s only bookstore (Avis Gray’s Cascades in Grand Lake) closed, on a large scale. partly due to issues related to COVID.
I worked closely with Myriam. The store is a great addition to the valley’s business environment, bringing sales tax revenue to the town and complementing the business offering and improving the overall business environment for all.
First of all, it’s great to have a bookstore in the county again. Maybe we’re not that backward here after all.
Second, Miriam did all the work and she did a great job. I stood there on the sidelines and helped. She had set up the Trinity of management and she executed it.
She had excellent cash flow projections out of the box. She had a defined and budgeted marketing plan. She had done a great job perfecting her product. She became a member of an association of bookstores for stores like her operation. She followed the advice of the association and listened to other booksellers. She called on another consultant for specific bookstore advice.
With all of this excellent preparation, she was able to secure a good loan for her business. She had the money ready to anchor that loan. She even qualified for a small scholarship largely because she was so well prepared. With all of that in place, voila, she had a good bookstore ready to go. An opening event is scheduled for July 17th with a raffle and more.
The fact that she opened her store reflects a trend clearly visible in the numbers compiled by the Colorado Secretary of State. New business filings through the state office increased by 30%. I see this trend reflected here. We worked with a new retail store in Granby at the room visitors’ office (the honey store). We have also worked with several new service companies, including a new and expanded fixed base operation at Kremmling Airport. They are all busy and successful.
But, above all, a key common denominator for these companies is that they do not depend on a large number of employees. They are either managed and operated solely by the owner, or they only need one or two other employees, usually part-time.
Which brings us back to the loop of our economy’s crisis here in Grand County. It’s not that we don’t have enough business. We have too many. Local economic development efforts work well in this regard. We just can’t handle everything due to a severe staff shortage which 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 owners simply had to deal with employee issues, supply chain issues, or simple burnout. Employees and owners are exhausted. It’s real.
My second fear is that people who come to the county will start to see and experience it and are fed up with the accommodations that haven’t been cleaned, the long queues in stores, the long waits. and poor service at Restaurants. This is where our economy begins to collapse.
But that’s not so bad because for every 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 prosper, despite our problems. That says a lot about the Grand County business community.
Patrick Brower is the Business Facilitator for the Grande Enterprise Initiative. It offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone wishing to start or develop a business in the Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.