Gypsum businesses band together | VailDaily.com

Gypsum businesses band together

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO, Colorado

Steve Oakson has been a dentist in Gypsum for eight years, but people are often surprised when they discover his practice on Red Table Drive.

“Oh, we never knew you were down here,” customers say.

That’s why Oakson has joined a group of Gypsum folks who are teaming up to promote their businesses.

“I’d like to see more visibility for the office but I’d like to see more visibility for Gypsum in general,” Oakson said.

The business group, which formed in April and convened for its third meeting this past week, has set out to tackle the challenges facing Gypsum’s business community.

At issue: Exactly how do local businesses form a cohesive identity in the absence of a downtown shopping district?

“We don’t have a Main Street,” said Anita Denboske, a leader of the Gypsum business group. “That’s probably our biggest challenge. We don’t have a core business area.”

Inside her office at Active Communications in Gypsum, Denboske pulled up a Facebook page on her computer.

In an effort to spread the word about Gypsum businesses, Denboske has been making heavy use of the Internet. The Facebook page displays ads for Gypsum businesses, along with descriptions of town assets like the recreation center.

Gypsum businesses are also creating a Web site of their own, http://www.gypsumchamber.com. Eventually, Denboske hopes to post a directory of local businesses on the site. She was surprised to discover that town records listed 150 businesses in town.

“People are not aware of all the businesses that are in Gypsum,” Denboske said. “Even the Gypsum businesses aren’t aware. If we want to support one another we have to know who we are.”

It’s important for local businesses to band together right now, she said.

“I think people have really noticed everywhere ” not just in Gypsum but everywhere ” the number of businesses that are closing. In these economic times more than ever we need to help one another.”

To that end, the Gypsum business group plans a “buy local” campaign. Denboske envisions creating a logo that Gypsum businesses can use to promote shopping in town.

At the group’s most recent meeting, people broke into clusters to discuss issues including how to get businesses involved in town events.

Although the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce has long covered Gypsum and Eagle, and will continue to do so, Gypsum businesses wanted to form a group focused on their specific needs, said Peter Struve, who belongs to both groups and owns Mac’s Liquors in Gypsum.

“What I’m trying to accomplish is to get people excited and energized about the community of Gypsum,” he said.

Online: http://www.gypsumchamber.com; Search for ‘Gypsum chamber’ on http://www.facebook.com

Phone: Call Anita Denboske at 970-524-0503 or Peter Struve at 970-524-6227