Stories about longtime Loveland businesses closing and new businesses opening dominated the top 10 list of most popular business stories on the Reporter-Herald’s website in 2019.
Based on the number of views each story received throughout the year, here is the Reporter-Herald’s top 10 business roundup:
1) Town and Country pet shop to close
The owners of Loveland’s Town and Country Pet Center, which has been the target of anti-puppy-mill protests in recent years, announced Nov. 15 that they would retire after 45 years in the business.
Mark Aine, who owns the store at 130 S. Cleveland Ave. with his wife, Sharon, said it’s the right time to move on to other things. The prices on all merchandise and pets in the store were marked down 30%, and Aine said he expected to close by February.
2) Chillers Bar and Grill closed
Chillers Bar and Grill in downtown Loveland closed suddenly after the city of Loveland declined to renew its liquor license and barred it from selling alcohol on Nov. 21, according to a story Dec. 6.
Owner Tom Hamblins said he regretted having to let his nine employees go with no notice right before the holiday season. He said he was attempting to fix the issues that the city listed so that he could apply for a new liquor license, but he felt like his hands were tied.
3) The Brands at the Ranch plans pivot from retail to Disney-like experiences
Developer Martin Lind announced sweeping changes to plans for The Brands at the Ranch during a May 21 meeting of the Loveland City Council. The $600 million megadevelopment, which for years has been planned for about 200 acres on the east and west sides of Interstate 25 at Crossroads Boulevard, is getting a new look that focuses less on retail and more on experiential tourist attractions.
In 2016, The Brands received the largest economic incentive package the city has awarded to date ($258 million over 30 years) for what was originally planned to be 2.3 million square feet of retail, restaurants, entertainment, housing and more.
Under the new concept, The Brands would feature a movie theater, convention hotels, sports arenas, youth sports facilities, retail and restaurants, connected by a plaza anchored by a themed attraction called The Great Colorado Experience. The attraction was conceptualized in part by Ed Goodman, a creative strategist and former consultant for the Walt Disney Co., with help from the Thinkwell Group, also a former Disney collaborator.
4) Esh’s west Loveland store closes
Deciding to not put off the inevitable any longer, Reuben Esh announced that he was closing his original Esh’s Surplus Market in west Loveland.
The little grocery store at 4221 W. Eisenhower Blvd., which had gained a loyal following in its 18 years, closed for good at the end of the day Dec. 21. The success of the large new Esh’s Grocery Market that Esh built in 2016 at 375 W. 71st St. led directly to the west location’s demise, he said.
5) Aleph Objects lays off 80% of its employees
In a dramatic staff reduction announced Oct. 11, Loveland-based 3-D printer maker Aleph Objects laid off 91 of its 113 employees due to cash flow problems.
The cuts were necessary in order to keep the company in business, founder and majority owner Jeff Moe said. Cash flow was hurt by several delays in project launches, he said, and the company was expecting payments that it did not receive.
The company announced Nov. 8 that it had been sold to Fargo Additive Manufacturing Equipment 3D of North Dakota and would be rehiring workers.
6) Lone Star State transplants open downtown bakery
When Stanley Martin and his wife, Megan Zambas, moved to Loveland in 2018 from Houston, they were stunned to find that doughnut shops here don’t sell kolaches, which can be found in “every doughnut shop in Texas,” said Martin, a chef.
So they developed a recipe for the filled pastries themselves and then decided to scale it up to commercial proportions. They opened Just a Pinch Bakery downtown March 1, selling both sweet and savory kolaches, plus large doughnut holes, cinnamon rolls and cookies.
Just a Pinch Bakery has since moved to a new location in Loveland at 630 E. 29th St.
7) Loveland Dairy Queen celebrates No. 1 ranking with free treats
The Loveland Dairy Queen store was named the No. 1 top-volume DQ restaurant in the nation for 2018, beating out almost 1,300 other locations. To celebrate, the store gave away free treats to all comers Feb. 18.
The store, starting its 57th year in its location at Lincoln Avenue and Eisenhower Boulevard, has been under the ownership of Craig Lindberg and his family for 37 years.
8) Two restaurants for West Eisenhower Boulevard
A battered old gas station and carwash on the south side of West Eisenhower Boulevard between Van Buren Avenue and Broadmoor Drive had become a sad part of the scenery since it closed several years ago. In a story Oct. 2, the property’s new owner talked about his work to redevelop the lot into two retail businesses — probably a coffee shop and a quick-serve restaurant.
The demolition of the building at 2004 W. Eisenhower has since been completed.
9) Pinocchios Incredible Italian debuts in Loveland
A Colorado restaurateur who built her Italian restaurant chain from the ground up gave Loveland diners a new option with the opening Feb. 14 of Pinocchios Incredible Italian.
Annie Vick, who launched Pinocchios in Longmont in 2003, opened the Loveland location in the former Johnny Carino’s location, 1455 Rocky Mountain Ave.
10) Downtown Loveland’s new dine-in theater sets opening date
Downtown Loveland’s new dine-in theater was to open to the public Aug. 14, the company announced Aug. 9.
The launch of the seven-screen MetroLux Dine-In Theatre, 285 E. Third St., was the final major piece of The Foundry downtown redevelopment project and coincided with the grand-opening ceremony for the entire project.