If you’re looking for Big Sid, check down in the basement
You’ll find Marvin rather than Jimmy at Jimmy’s 66.Gary Miller changed his store name after being introduced as Robert Wilson at a public meeting.There is still an Orrison to go along with the landmark Anheuser-Busch distributorship on Highway 82.Big Sid’s is a nickname on top of a nickname.And Gould Construction is so-named partly so that clients won’t ask, “Where’s Norm?”Those are a few of the stories behind the personalized names of local businesses. There are at least two stories to go with Gary and Monica Miller’s stores.The husband and wife team own Miller’s Dry Goods in Rifle, and Anderson’s Clothing in Glenwood Springs. They first met in high school while working summer jobs at the Hot Springs Pool.”My dad, Phil, opened Anderson’s Pants Pocket in 1974,” Monica said. “He mostly sold jeans. That’s why it was Anderson’s Pants Pocket.”The Millers changed the name to Anderson’s Clothing when Phil retired five years ago and they bought the store.The couple’s first foray into retailing came in 1981 when they bought the 70-year-old Wilson’s Toggery in downtown Rifle. Founded in 1911, Wilson’s had name recognition and loyalty of several generations, so the Millers kept the name until suddenly deciding to change it one fateful day.Monica said Gary was being introduced along with several other people at a large gathering in Rifle. The person doing the introductions got mixed up and introduced Gary as Robert Wilson.”That did it,” Monica said. “He said `We’re changing the name.'”So Miller’s Dry Goods it is.Thousands of locals know Big Sid’s Bottles is located at the busy intersection at 23rd and Grand. Owner Hayden Phillips said his late father, Virgil, first opened the liquor store downtown under the bridge in 1968. After a year or two, he moved the store “way out” to its current location.”People said `You’re crazy to move out there,'” Hayden said.Before opening the store, the elder Phillips was one of several foremen at the Thompson Creek coal mine outside Carbondale. “Someone decided to call him Big Caesar, and that was shortened to Big Sid,” Hayden explained.It’s not unusual for first-time customers to walk into the store and ask Hayden, “Are you Big Sid?” He often replies, “Naw, we’ve got him chained up in the basement.”-Marvin Claridge, 41, bought Jimmy’s 66 service station from Jim Gornick three years ago.”He had a good reputation, so I kept the name,” Claridge said.The station is located at 1304 Grand Ave., and Claridge thinks it first opened in the 1940s.Claridge expanded the operation, and took in Gorilla Motor Works, which explains all the motorcycles in the station’s parking lot. He also sells high-octane racing fuel (110 octane), which is primarily used by motorcyclists, snowmobilers and off-road racers.”It sells for $5.75 a gallon,” Claridge said.It’s common for customers to call Claridge “Jimmy.””If I don’t know them, I just let them do it. … Sometimes I correct them. I’ve been called worse.”-Orrison Distributing traces its local history back to 1965. Current owner Rick Orrison said his father, Carroll, and his father’s twin brother, Carl, first opened an Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1955.”Dad bought out someone in Glenwood Springs in 1965, but I don’t remember who,” Rick said.Orrison’s first location was on the Colorado River near the Garfield County jail. The operation moved to its distribution center between Glenwood Springs and the Colorado Mountain College turnoff in 1982.Rick and several Orrison employees bought out Rick’s father in 1987. They kept the name, “because it’s well known.”Rick said that often, when he is introduced to someone, the person will say, “You’re the Bud Guy, huh.””So I’ve been known as the Bud Guy.”-Gould Construction is the biggest “heavy and highway” contractor in the Roaring Fork Valley, and its current projects include the downtown streetscaping effort in Carbondale, the Rose Ranch golf course outside Glenwood Springs, the “snowmelt road” in Snowmass Village and more.”We do $27 million a year,” said owner Mark Gould.A quick trip through the Yellow Pages reveals that many, if not most, contractors and construction companies are named after a person. Gould said there are a couple of reasons for that.”In construction, you want to know who is standing behind the company,” Gould said.There are good construction companies and not-so-good companies, Gould said. “My reputation and integrity is behind the company.”Another reason for naming the company after the owner is that construction companies usually don’t get sold, so a name in and of itself doesn’t have much value.”In a competitive market, if someone wanted to come in, they would probably just start bidding against me,” Gould said.Gould Construction’s history dates back to upstate New York and Norm Gould & Sons Excavating. When the family moved to the Glenwood Springs area in the late 1970s, the name was changed to Norm Gould & Sons Construction. When Mark bought out his father in 1990, he changed the name to Gould Construction.Norm still lives in the Silt area, but Mark said it would have been awkward to keep his name attached to the business.”People would show up at meetings and ask `Where’s Norm?’ or `When’s Norm coming?'”
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