Biz buzz:
Ranch House work gets started

       Work started last week that will eventually change the former Hungry Farmer restaurant building at 575 Garden of the Gods Road into the Ranch House - American Grill & Market.
       The business' opening had been anticipated this spring, but after a lengthy city review process, it's not likely to happen now until Aug. 1, according to owner Mike Callicrate. He said the process took longer in part because of a “very complicated set of plans” he had submitted to the city.
       Callicrate is co-owner of Ranch Foods Direct, a Colorado Springs meat-processing firm that stresses freshness and nutrition, sourcing products directly from farms and ranches. The business will be the first combination restaurant and market operated by the company. Callicrate led the start of Ranch Foods as a response to disagreements he'd had with corporate meat-packing firms in the late '90s. The company now supplies meat to about 45 area restaurants and has a deli/meat shop in Briargate.
       The remodeling work will not signficantly change the outside of the 11,000-square-foot Hungry Farmer building, which Callicrate described as a “good, sound structure.” But the inside will get “a total remodel,” he said.
       The market will be 1,500 square feet in size. The rest of the facility will be a restaurant, including two conference rooms that will allow up to 130 people for such gatherings as banquets, meetings and wedding receptions, according to Callicrate.
       The independently owned Hungry Farmer had operated at the site from the late '60s - when Garden of the Gods Road was scarcely developed - until it went out of business in 2003.
       A three-year-old, independently owned Westside sporting goods store has moved into the Old Colorado City shopping district.
       Red Mountain Sports, formerly in the 600 block of Colorado Avenue, has relocated to 2611 W. Colorado Ave.
       The 2,500-square-foot site is not only 800 square feet more spacious than the previous locale, it has convenient parking (the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District free lot just to the west) and a one-story layout that is more conducive to Red Mountain's servicing work - particularly for hockey and lacrosse equipment.
       “I've been looking for a place in Old Colorado City,” said Dale Straw, who owns the business with his wife, Judy. “We've been a destination store. Now we hope to get walk-in traffic.”
       Unlike typical Old Town stores, Red Mountain Sports is busier in the winter, because of its emphasis on school sports. To appeal to summer visitors, Straw said he plans to add tourist impulse items such as T-shirts, coffee mugs or kites.
       Offering equipment for a wide variety of sports, the store is currently open Monday through Saturday. The phone will stay the same: 447-0101.
       Patty Moos, owner of the Old Town Learning Center daycare, recently sold the center's location at 2200 Bott Ave. to Bill and Joanne Francese-Goodner of Personal Touch Gardening & Landscaping.
       The center will continue to operate at 721 S. 23rd St., offering day care to children from 6 weeks old to kindergarten age. School-age programs are no longer being offered.
       Amanda's Fonda has reopened at the Uintah Station location where Mark and Amanda Burr started the Mexican- food restaurant in 1997. This means there are again two Amanda's Fondas on the Westside - 1625 W. Uintah Street and 3625 W. Colorado Ave.
       Both restaurants are open daily. The phone numbers are 633-5585 (Uintah Station) and 227-1975 (West Colorado).
       Andrea Peters, author of the mystery, “Four Crows,” will sign copies of his book at the Book Sleuth, 2501 W. Colorado Ave., between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2.
       Westside Liquors recently opened at 1602 W. Colorado Ave. (the former site of Bottle Stop Liquors). The business is owned by Joseph Pahk. The phone is 635-1918.
       Westside artists Marc Jenesel and Karen Pierce are showing at Common-wheel Artists Co-op, 102 Canon Ave. in Manitou Springs, through April 25.
       The couple create vessel art objects combining Jenesel's clay with Pierce's fiber work.

Do you have any news about your business? Call the Westside Pioneer at 471-6776.