Friday, November 17, 2006

EDC shines a spotlight on job-creating companies

A month after a first-ever reception to honor existing companies for their contributions to the community, the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. will hold its annual ceremony in December to recognize businesses that are bringing jobs to town either by relocating or expanding. Through mid-November, the EDC has announced 1,372 new jobs, with several announcements pending. The EDC also says it has received 76 new prospect inquiries since Jan. 1 and has hosted 31 visits by companies considering the Springs for expansion or relocation operations. The prospect activity is up significantly when compared with last year, the private, non-profit group says.
The EDC will honor 11 job-creating companies during an 11:30 a.m. luncheon Dec. 5 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in southwest Colorado Springs. Reservations may be made at; click on "upcoming events." Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera and El Paso County Commission Chairwoman Sallie Clark will present the awards.

Business notebook

Little Caesars Enterprises Inc. has launched a program in which qualified, honorably discharged veterans can receive $10,000 in benefits toward starting a Little Caesars pizza business -- a $5,000 franchise fee reduction for the first store and a $5,000 credit on the initial equipment order. Service-disabled veterans are eligible for enhanced benefits of up to $68,000. For details contact Donna Halinski or Rachel Simpson in Lansing, Mich., at 1-517-372-4400.

Within the next year Safeway stores in Colorado will install equipment designed to protect the privacy and security of shoppers with visual impairments. The new devices plug into existing point-of-sale payment machines and have tactile keys arranged like a standard telephone keypad. They will allow Safeway shoppers who have difficulty reading information on a touchscreen to privately and independently enter their PIN, telephone number, and other confidential information.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No drilling for oil, please

Here's your chance to own a piece of big oil in Colorado Springs. Well, sort of. As part of a sale of 51 surplus properties in nine states, a sliver of vacant land on the city's west side (right) and owned by Utah-based Sinclair Oil Corp. will be auctioned at 11 a.m. Dec. 1. The auction will take place at the site of the parcel, 1626 S. Eighth St. The chunk of ground is about 16,000 square feet -- slightly more than one-third of an acre -- and described in a marketing brochure as one of several "prime commercial locations" being sold by Sinclair. Interested buyers should call Higgenbotham Auctioneers International, 1-800-257-4161, or visit its Web site,, for more information and to verify the auction's location.

The EDC and the friendly skies

Local economic development officials are earning their frequent flyer miles. The Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. says marketing vice president Dave White recently led a team of representatives to call on 11 site selection consultants and two companies in Dallas. A visit also was made to the Storage Networking World Conference in Orlando, Fla. For 2007, the private, non-profit EDC is inviting its investors to participate in marketing activities that will include trips to California, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago. The Storage Networking World Conference in San Diego, Bio 2007 in Boston, the Medical Device and Manufacturing Show in Anaheim, Calif., and the RSA Security Show in San Francisco also are part of the EDC's schedule next year. For more information or to be part of the marketing efforts, contact White at 475-6426.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Medicare open enrollment underway

The open enrollment period for the 2007 Medicare drug prescription benefit begins Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 31.

Beneficiaries can switch plans or sign up for the first time. It's worth looking into changing plans, Medicare advisers say, because prices have changed.

The average monthly premium for next year's standard drug benefit will be $24. Some plans offer extra benefits at a higher cost.

Several recent surveys have found that about three-quarters of those enrolled in the drug benefit are satisfied with their coverage.

To sign up or get more information, see, or call 1-800-633-4227, a Medicare assistance line. The local Senior Insurance Assistance office, 635-4891, also can help.

Colorado Springs Airport has Business Park info on Web

The Colorado Springs Airport has a new link on the home page of its Web site ( detailing information about the new Airport Business Park, a 1000-acre industrial park being built being built on either side of Milton Proby Expressway.

On the Airport Business Park link News and Events will be posted along with images of the park and future developments, and documents including the environmental assessment report and the Business' Park's master Plan.

The park will have numerous research and development office spaces, hotel, some retail and a golf course. It is expected to employ about 5,000 people by the end of its build out in about 10 years, according to the Economic Development Corp.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Current USA Inc. completes its consolidation

Current USA Inc. has completed work on the 65,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing plant at 1025 Woodmen Road and moved all of its more than 100 local employees onto the same campus. The outlet store has already had a grand opening and company officials are mulling some sort of celebration to mark the completion of this long-sought consolidation. There is just a minor cleanup to perform and the old 128,107-square-foot manufacturing plant and outlet store at 3525 N. Stone Ave. -- a central part of the business for more than 30 years -- will be shut down by the end of the year. Current USA is a leading direct marketer of greeting cards, stationary, gifts and home-decorating items. The company, which employs 900, also operates several outlet stores, all in Colorado.

Five named to Colorado Hall of Fame

Ralph Peterson, who as president and CEO of CH2M Hill has overseen such massive projects as the widening of Interstate 25 between Denver and Colorado Springs, was named to the Colorado business Hall of Fame on Nov. 13 along with four others. Joining Peterson in the 2007 induction class, as selected by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement - Rocky Mountain Inc., were Herb Bacon of United States Bank of Grand Junction, Al Cohen of Cohen Construction Co., John Fuller of Fuller Real Estate and Henry Cordes Brown, who built the Brown Palace Hotel. The induction ceremony will be Feb. 7 at the Denver Marriott City Center.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pikes Peak Floral Co. lives on .... in Texas ... and Louisiana ... and Tennessee

Pikes Peak Floral Co. was registered to do business in Colorado Springs on Dec. 10, 1904, and is still carrying the Pikes Peak name more than century later ... even though its nearest office is 963.25 miles away from its mountain namesake, in Houston. Pikes Peak Floral Co. was a retail, wholesale and flower growing business initially and stayed that way until brothers Charles and Ora Ben Haley, Jim Kelly and several other investors bought the East Columbia Street company after World War II and rebranded it as Pikes Peak Greenhouses Inc. They split off the retail operation to a former employee to concentrate on growing and wholesale in the early 50s.

The Haley family opened a branch in Houston in 1978, which was incorporated as Pikes Peak of Texas in 1982, adding its own branch offices in New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas and Austin. The last vestiges of the Colorado Springs arm of the original Pikes Peak Floral Co. were removed within the past five years when Charles T. Haley sold his Flower Stop retail location to Wild Birds Unlimited and brother Tim Haley closed the Pikes Peak Greenhouses on Nichols Boulevard. Pikes Peak Floral, the retail shop which was spun off from the company in the early 50s, shut down its store at 17 E. Kiowa St. just over a year ago

Colorado Health Foundation holds information session

Colorado Springs nonprofit officials working in the areas of health or health care are invited to participate in an information session presented by The Colorado Health Foundation.

Nonprofit officials can voice local needs and learn about funding priorities and application deadlines.

The session will begin 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave. A free lunch will be served.

RSVP to the Community Resource Center, 1-800-516-6284 or at and click on Applicant Information Sessions.