Biz Buzz:
8th Street site leased, but no fast food

       There's no fast-food restaurant yet, but all three units are leased now in the freestanding commercial building at 555-559 S. Eighth St.
       Also, according to project architect John Nelson, the building property owners plan to implement a “facelift [and] landscape freshening” soon. The 5,000-square-foot, one-story structure is by the Moreno Avenue access off South Eighth Street, in the southwest corner of the commercial center anchored by Office Depot and Hobby Lobby.
       City Planning Commission had granted a parking variance last September that would permit a fast-food restaurant in part of the building. Those plans have not yet taken shape; instead, leases are in place with “three quality tenants who will uplift the building,” Nelson said. All three are part of chains: Colorado Gold and Silver Buyers (gem buyer), T-Mobile (cell phone service provider) and Edible Arrangements (fresh-fruit baskets). The latter business, which has been at the site since 2007, recently renewed for five years, he said.
       The fast-food plan could still materialize in the future because “a restaurant approval [from the city] doesn't expire,” Nelson added.
       The building is on a half-acre parcel owned by an investment group going by the name THJ & J LLC. The remainder of the center, including Office Depot, Hobby Lobby and most of the parking lot, is owned by another firm.
      
       Pottery continues on 22nd
       The 22nd St. Clay Pottery Studio & Gallery opened last summer.
       Owner Denise Vrecenar, who had previously worked out of her home, has more than 16 years experience as a potter.
       She said she likes the Westside's diversity, and her business location, 704 S. 22nd St., because she needed more space and there is plenty of parking. Also, it's in a mixed-use area (commercial and residential), and she likes neighbors dropping in, she said.
       The site had been a pottery studio for the previous 16 years, operated by Linda Sabo, who retired last summer.
       In addition to making and selling her own pottery, Vrecenar offers classes for adults and children as well as firing services (electric and gas kilns). A grand opening will be scheduled later in the spring.
       The phone is 447-0216.
      
       Gotta Love espresso bar
       An espresso bar has opened in the Gotta Love It Market, which features local food providers at 2521 W. Colorado Ave.
       Owned by Susan Van Dam, Chick's Espresso specializes in espresso, lattes, boba (bubble tea) and smoothies.
       This is the second location for Chick's. It has been a drive-through in the Security/Widefield area for more than 10 years.
       Van Dam, who has owned that business for 5 ½ years, said she chose Gotta Love It because “it was my desire to have a cafe spot [with a] relaxed environment.”
       The business is open Tuesday through Sunday.
       The phone is 210-1360. The website is:
       chicksespresso.com.
      
       Farmers Market tie
       People familiar with Bancroft Park's Farmers Market may see a familiar face at the new Sweet Elephant shop, 2514 W. Colorado Ave.
       One of the market's fruit sellers for about 20 years has been C&R Farms, a Western Slope family operation, and Sweet Elephant owner Susan Quintana is part of that family.
       On a regular basis, her shop will offer gifts, gift baskets, food, jewelry, pet accessories, pottery and miscellaneous gift items, with an effort to “supply as many Colorado or USA items as possible to support our local, state and country economy,” Quintana said.
       During the growing season, she added, produce from C&R will also be featured.
       For four years previously, Quintana had run a gift shop in the north part of the Springs called Harlow's (which she sold). An Old Colorado City location is closer to home as well as to the Farmers Market, and “my family loves the Westside,” she said.
       Sweet Elephant is currently open Thursday through Sunday and will be open daily starting in the spring.
       The phone is 635-1555; the e-mail is thesweetelephant@aol.com.

Editor's note: If you know any Westside locations not listed here, or you find that any of this information has changed, please let us know at 471-6776.

Westside Pioneer/press release