The New Year brought at least one new Rifle business with it, as the Farm Fresh Cafe and Eagle Springs Meats opened Jan. 2 in the former Columbine Market building, 1733 Railroad Ave.
The building was purchased by Ken Sack, owner of the Eagle Springs Organic farm and ranch on Garfield County Road 346 outside Silt. The farm and ranch features organic vegetables and natural fed beef, pork, lamb and goat.
Toby Guccini oversees the new business venture, along with the ranch.
"We wanted to give the people in Rifle a new choice for a restaurant and some place to go in the winter," he said.
A sit-down delicatessen, the Farm Fresh Cafe features soups and stews made with organic vegetables and meat from the farm. The deli will have free Wi-Fi access and will cater meetings and events. It is overseen by Patty Reich, who operated Cowboy Bill's Steakhouse in New Castle.
The Eagle Springs Meats butcher shop features a big window so people can watch a butcher work on the meat they order. The shop will also offer whole animal processing for domestic livestock and wild game, Guccini said. Mark Montgomery is the head butcher.
Guccini said eight people are already working in the cafe and butcher shop, and plans call for the hiring of six or seven more to help with the deli.
"I think we could eventually have 20 to 25 people working there," he added.
Remodeling of the 60,000-square-foot building into the Eagle Springs Center began last spring, when Sack planned to include a year-round, indoor farmers market. A weekly outdoor farmers market was held last summer in the parking lot in front of the building, and Guccini said those may take place indoors this year.
The building will offer 10,000-square-feet of space for community members to sell their goods and crafts, Guccini said. Vendors, such as those with antiques, jewelry or pottery, are being sought.
"We've had a lot of interest in that," he added. "It's not going to be like what you think of as a flea market, though. We want local hobbyists who make something to come and show them off."
A meeting room that could hold up to 150 people, and be large enough for business meetings and weddings, may soon be available, too.