Vail Valley businesses resolve to be strong in 2009 |

Vail Valley businesses resolve to be strong in 2009

Daily file photoSteamMaster general manager Raj Manikam says the company's resolutions include continuing to provide good service to customers and competitive prices

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” The new year is often a time for self-reflection, a period when we think about things we’d like to do, or do better, in the next 12 months. But what about businesses?

A handful of local business owners talked recently about the things they’d like to see from their companies in 2009. For some, it’s time to get used to the “new normal” of slow or no growth; other companies just want more people to know about their businesses so they can grow a little.

One business owner said, perhaps too quickly, “I want to rule the world!,” but then quickly backed off that expectation. A year’s not all that much time, after all.

Here then, are the resolutions people were willing to share:

– “I want people to remodel their homes instead of building new,” said Leif Counter, co-owner of Atlas Construction in Edwards. “We’re remodeling contractors, you know.”

– David Smiley, co-owner of Alpine Party Rentals in Eagle, said his plan for the new year is to try to put more items into his rental inventory.

“We’ve looked into things like rollaway beds and different kinds of linens,” Smiley said. “The more products we have, maybe the more we’ll rent.”

– Jeannie Robbins’ resolution is simple: Keep the doors open. Robbins, the co-owner of Eagle Valley Music in Vail, said getting through the year will be an accomplishment.

“When you see Amazon having its best year ever, you know things are tough for home-town music stores,” she said.

– Fiesta’s New Mexican Cafe in Edwards has been on what can only be described as a fast up elevator through its first 20 years in business, growing from a counter with a couple of tables to its current size, and expanding into the quick takeout business in 2008.

“I think we need to be able to adjust our business to a period of no growth,” co-owner Debbie Marquez said.

“In this valley we’re all used to growing,” Marquez said. “I don’t think were doing to see that this year. Vail Resorts is facing it ” a lot of people are facing it.”

– Bill Lodge has a simple wish:

“I want to convince the restaurants in the valley to pour better beers and to have a better beer list.”

Lodge is the co-owner of High Point Brewing in Gypsum, which distributes a host of microbrews and imports, some of which are fairly hard to come by locally.

– Brian Jones hope people learn about, and visit, his company’s new home. Jones, owner of Mountain Comfort furniture, moved his showroom and warehouse from Eagle-Vail, near the Vail Daily building, to Gypsum, ironically next to the building where the Vail Daily is printed. It’s also about a block east of Costco.

“I want to increase the awareness of our new location, and the fact we’re the biggest furniture showroom in the valley,” Jones said.

– People are always going to need their carpets cleaned, or have someone remove mold or dry out a home after a water pipe bursts, so SteamMaster Cleaning and Restoration is probably in pretty good shape during a down economy.

But SteamMaster general manager Raj Manikam said the company could use a couple more “bank jobs.”

The company has marketed its services in Aspen, Steamboat and other locations, but the company was also called last summer to clean up a couple of bank vaults in hurricane-battered Galveston, Texas. Bank officials had heard about the company’s work, and flew a crew to Texas for the cleanup.

“We were cleaning money,” Manikam said. “There were cameras on us all the time.”

Besides out-of-town work, Manikam said the company’s resolutions also include continuing to provide good service to customers and competitive prices.

– While several people interviewed for this story had to think for a few moments before answering, Anita Denboske, owner of Active Communications, had a ready answer:

“When people think of cell phones, I want them to think about Active Communications,” she said.

– Ron Byrne, owner of Ron Byrne and Associates Realty, said a personal resolution he’s made is to travel more. He seems to be doing pretty well with that one, since he was in London when reached for this story.

“From a business perspective, I’d like to spend more time on the mountain with my clients and enjoy what we have here.”

Byrne said his company had just finished a big project in 2008 that kept him office-bound more than he’d like.

But, Byrne said, “We had a great 2008. I hope 2009 is as good.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

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