COLORADO SPRINGS — 7-Eleven is expanding its Colorado "urban walk-ups" program this month in the downtown here. An urban walk-up targets high concentations of downtown pedestrians, shoppers and workers.
A 3,000-square-foot convenience store is scheduled to occupy a corner of downtown that has seen numerous businesses come and go with the shift to the suburbs. The last was a savings and loan. While there are several 7-Elevens on the edge of downtown, this is the first to be so centrally located.
An urban walk-up that has proven a success in Denver prompted the expansion. Company research showed the Colorado Springs area was ready for it.
About 10,000 people are on the streets of downtown at various times throughout the day. Numerous people actually live downtown in lofts constructed in the last decade. Residents have complained that there was no place to pick up a bandage, a pair of pantyhose or a bottle of aspirin in a hurry since the Walgreens left the downtown fourteen years ago, said Ron Butlin, executive director of the Downtown Partnership.
If the project meets expectations there may be a couple more 7-Elevens to follow, said Fred Stofflet, the retailer's senior real estate representative in Colorado. He doesn't think it will hurt sales at the existing store as they target a different crowd.
The downtown location won't sell gasoline; there is no room for pumps. But it will offer a diverse mix of products, such as Slurpees, hot dogs, coffee and sandwiches, as well as pastries delivered daily from a Denver commissary and bakery.
Downtown workers who need a few small items such as a gallon of milk can grab it at the store on the way home.
In keeping with the recent trend in Colorado, the store is a franchise. The franchise is owned by Russ Mallery, who owns three other 7-Elevens. The store will be open twenty-four hours to catch the restaurant and nightclub crowd.
COMMERCE CITY — Cities are known for offering economic incentives to lure big businesses to town, but not too often do they provide them for a car wash. That is exactly what is happening here.
Bear's Car Wash, a state-of-the-art facility, was considered a valuable enough asset to be included with two other businesses to receive rebates approved last August by the city council. The others are a wholesale baker and an office developer. In turn, the three businesses are investing a total of $2.7 million and creating up to 130 full and part-time positions.
Shelly Valentine, the owner of Bear's Car Wash, has another center in Littleton. She has equipment designed to use less water and energy than traditional car washes and reclaims 70 percent of the water it uses. That made it very attractive to the council.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The heyday of the Space Race Age has returned to this city with the re-opening of the Space Station Gas Station and convenience store, turning what had been an eyesore into a sparkling addition to downtown.
The fifty-year-old red and white Space Station sign, topped with a spherical "satellite," has been cleaned up and relit. It was constructed after the Soviet Union's launching of "Sputnik" in 1956 and has survived two remodelings of the property. It became a symbol of downtown in that era and Eric and Jodi Dorris, who have signed the lease, said, "We're really playing everything off that old sign."
Eric managed to find a rusty old-fashioned gasoline pump, and the interior of the store features an autographed poster of astronauts, including Steven Swanson, a Steamboat native.
Adding a modern touch, the store sells T-shirts with a picture of the Space Station sign on the internet. Artwork from local students hangs from the ceiling, mixing inventory from such businesses as Amante Coffee, Honey Stinger, Cugino's, Little Moon Essentials, and Chocolate Soup.
"We really wanted it to have a local downtown feel," Eric said. "We wanted to mix in as many products as we know work in a convenience store."
The property sat vacant for three years after the last person declined to renew the lease, and owner Monument Oil Company came close to being cited by the town council as trash and weeds built up. Monument Oil has since invested heavily to improve the exterior. The company had trouble finding reliable people to lease the property.
The grand opening was all old-fashioned fun. It featured fifty-cent hot dogs and sodas with proceeds benefiting Lift-Up of Routt County, an organization that aids the needy.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In other Steamboat news, Western Convenience Stores is taking over the Sinclair gas station and convenience store.
Developer Jon Peddie, who owns the site with Jim Woods, said Western will sell fuel under its own brand to be more competitive.
WHEAT RIDGE — It wasn't just the life savings the thieves took from the Wheat Ridge gasoline station. It was the entire recorded life of a family.
"I cried and cried," said the sixty-year-old immigrant woman who owns the gas station with her family. She is afraid to be identified for fear of retaliation.
The thieves drove a pick-up truck through the front door and scooped up the usual cigarettes, lighters, lottery tickets and chewing tobacco. But it was the taking of the safe in the back room that held 27 years of family photos and mementos, personal documents including passports and a son's birth certificate as well as their life savings that cut the family to the core.
"I don't care. You can take all my money, but the other things — we can't get that back," said the owner.
The woman and her family emigrated from Thailand and built their business from the ground up. They were celebrating the anniversary of their 27 years in business the night the break-in occurred.
"It's like they stole the American dream from us," said the owner.
COLORADO SPRINGS — The second child struck by a vehicle while playing at a car wash has died.
Within one week two children, one in Pueblo, and one here were struck. The Pueblo child died immediately. The other child lingered for eleven days before succumbing to his injuries.
Neither driver was charged as the children were both in blind spots.
COLORADO SPRINGS — A ConocoPhillips station here drew goodwill and bucks by allowing a church group to donate free gasoline to its customers.
Altogether the Inspiration Church, which called the project a giving back to the community, gave away a thousand dollars worth of gasoline — $10 to each driver — and some of the people who got it were very much in need.
"It's a great blessing," said an unidentified man who is unemployed and needed the fuel to job hunt.
The giveaway is part of the new church's program to inform people about the goals of the ministry.
Church members acted as attendants at the pumps and gave full service — not only fueling, but also wiping the windows of the cars.
At first some people were suspicious or disbelieving. One driver offered a donation but it was politely refused.
PARKER — Kwik Car Wash believes in involving itself in the community. In October, the company donated over 1,000 free bronze wash coupons to fans of the Legend High School varsity football team and participated in the game's halftime activities.
As a Titan Legendary Sponsor for the current winter athletic program, the car wash took advantage of its half-time appearance to also offer two fans the opportunity to win cash for their school by tossing a Frisbee at a Kwik Car Wash bull's eye. Although neither thrower hit the mark they still received $100 gift cards to the car wash.
Since 2007 the car wash has donated more than $40,000 in goods and services to worthy causes in the city.
DENVER — You wouldn't pass by this car wash without a second look.
A sign over the Jumbo Car Wash contains an elephant, squinting and squealing in pain, supposedly from the burning caused by the car wash cleaning solution.
The car wash was named after the first elephant purchased by P. T. Barnum in 1882 and is located near the neighborhood that bears the circus showman's name.
Originally published in the December 2010 issue of the O&A
Copyright 2010 by KAL Publications Inc.
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