Small businesses you love in the Grand Valley |

Small businesses you love in the Grand Valley

Colorful, squeaky and fluffy dog toys line the wall at Fruita's Chow Down location. The popular pet-supply store also has regional locations in the Redlands and Montrose.
Caitlin Row / | Free Press

Editor’s note: “Small Businesses You Love” is a regular series featuring, well you guessed it, small businesses YOU LOVE! Want to nominate a small business to be featured? Email with business information, the service provided, plus any unique attributes that make it special.

Starting a small business is no easy task.

It takes capital, perseverance and a can-do attitude that sometimes borders on masochism for small business leaders.

Plus, a business owner’s biggest challenge is simply “trying to do everything,” Grand Junction’s Business Incubator Center Executive Director Jon Maraschin said.

“They struggle with being the janitor, doing the marketing, being the face of the business, and being the accountant,” he added. “Trying to figure out how to balance it and place energy is a big struggle.”

That’s where the Business Incubator (in Grand Junction or Fruita) and local chambers of commerce can help.

“As an incubator, we help a lot of businesses figure out what they can do themselves, what’s more important, and how to outsource or bring a specialist in,” Maraschin said.

How to implement search engine optimization (SEO) and social media is a perfect example of something small businesses should outsource.

“It’s something people are encouraged to spend a little money on for someone to do it correctly,” he explained. “A lot of small businesses don’t understand they can’t sell on Facebook, but if you’re not on Facebook you’re not part of the conversation.”

Finding lenders and capital to purchase equipment and expand services is another challenge.

“The good news is that banks are starting to lend again,” Maraschin said.

In addition, small business owners are more often banding together these days.

“People are coming together to talk about how to tackle challenges,” Maraschin noted. “It’s neat to see small businesses lean on each other for help. … People are starting to have fun and smile. You’re not alone. Chances are businesses down the street are having the exact same challenges. We’re all in this together.”

When readers were asked to nominate their favorite small businesses, suggestions flooded into the Free Press over Facebook and email. Highlighted below are some small businesses YOU love:


Irene May, a 63-year-old Grand Junction resident and pet lover, said Chow Down Pet Supplies is her top pick for a small, local business that excels.

“I have visited the Grand Junction and Fruita stores,” May said. “They have earned my loyalty with carefully chosen products and a helpful, well-informed staff. What I love even more, however, is that their commitment to animal welfare extends far beyond the profitable realm of business. I am involved with an animal sanctuary, and with animal rescue and adoption programs. Chow Down is consistently willing to help any charitable organization that supports animal welfare.”

Chow Down can be found in the Redlands (2518 Broadway), in Fruita (225 E. Aspen Ave.), and in Montrose (202 Main St.).

All three locations offer healthy pet food, toys, a self-dog wash, additional pet supplies, and more!

For more information, visit


Another Free Press reader, 27-year-old Grand Junction resident Laura Palmer, said she loves Roasted (a locally owned coffee shop and eatery) because the staff is always in a good mood.

It’s “not just a place to get coffee, but also a place to be seen and meet up with people you know for good conversation,” Palmer said, “and they show local artists, too.”

Roasted is located at 502 Colorado Ave., in downtown Grand Junction. It serves breakfast and lunch, snacks, plus hot and cold coffee/tea beverages.

For more information, visit


Palmer also nominated Planet Earth and The Four Directions Gallery, which is located close to Roasted at 524 Colorado Ave.

According to the gallery’s Facebook page, it’s “an arena for fine art, performance art, music and poetry offered in a arts-lifestyle shop, where everything, truly speaks with artistic savvy, designed to allow for joy and playfulness.”

It’s “one of the only places in town to find fun vintage clothing and retro wares,” Palmer said. “I feel like there are so many people that don’t know how magical and amazing the Four Directions is. It’s not just another antique shop. It’s full of good vibes and rescued wonders of the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.”

Palmer added that interested shoppers may find retro clothing and jewelry in “every nook and cranny.”

“I feel a connection to the past and wish I could buy everything in that store,” she said. “Not only that, it was one of the first places in town to show my artwork, giving me the confidence to continue and thrive.”

For more information, visit


Fruita resident Randi Cadwell Snow gave her two cents with a nomination for Hi River Construction, located at 1551 Independent Ave., in Grand Junction.

“They are a small construction company owned by Paul Horbetz,” Snow said. “They have seven or eight employees currently. They do pushpins for homes, concrete prep, rock walls and a variety of other things. They also dig many of the swimming pools put in the valley. My husband has worked for them for almost 16 years. We love it because it’s small and personal and very family-oriented. Hi River is very professional and experienced in what they do. It’s an awesome company!”

For more information on services offered, call 970-256-7550 or 970-210-5581. Find this local business on Facebook, too —

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