Sunday, June 14, 2009

Smashburger comes to Grand Junction, Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Areios, LLC, a partnership of franchise and restaurant operators Ron Chaulk and Jim Cagle, is opening the first franchise location of Smashburger, a new innovative better burger restaurant concept, on Colorado’s Western Slope. The new Smashburger will open on Monday, June 15, at First and Grand in Grand Junction. Areios is planning to open four additional Smashburgers in the Grand Valley within the next 15 months.

Areios signed on with Smashburger as a Founders Club franchisee in 2008. Founders Club members represent the first large franchise groups to sign on with the Smashburger team and will play a key roll in the development and expansion of Smashburger. Areios is a restaurant industry veteran with experience owning and operating some of the country’s most successful and recognized concepts. It has agreed to open 30 Smashburgers in Western Colorado, Kansas City and Eastern South Dakota over the next several years. The First and Grand location in Grand Junction is the first that Areios will open.

To celebrate the opening of Smashburger’s first Grand Junction restaurant, Areios is hosting a special invitation-only event on Saturday, June 13. The store will officially open for business on Monday, June 15 at 10 a.m.

“We’ve been successful at running quick-service and fast-casual franchise restaurants in Colorado and other Western regions, but we were looking for a new opportunity,” said Cagle, CEO of Areios. “We found Smashburger and immediately knew it was exactly what we and Grand Junction needed. It combines the best burger I’ve ever tasted with a fun, modern setting that’s perfect for almost any occasion. Besides, I love burgers and supporting Colorado companies.”

Named for the cooking method used to create the perfect burger, Smashburgers are either a one-third or half-pound ball of beef smashed on a flat grill to sear in the juices. The menu also includes grilled Smashchicken sandwiches, Smashdogs, Smashfries, Veggie Frites, haystack onions, entrĂ©e salads and kids’ selections. Haagen Daz shakes, wine or frosty mugs of beer round out the perfect burger meal.

“Our burgers start with always-fresh-never-frozen 100 percent Angus beef. Smashing our burgers seals in the flavor, creating a better-tasting, better-quality burger,” said Tom Ryan, Smashburger founder. “We’re excited to see Areios open Smashburger’s first franchise location and help us continue our pursuit of being Colorado’s favorite burger place.”

Smashburger was launched and funded with $15 million by Denver-based private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP) in mid-2007. The company is rapidly expanding through corporate, joint venture and franchise locations across the country. Smashburger has close to 16 locations currently open in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Minnesota, with nearly a half dozen more expected to open this summer. By the end of 2009, Smashburger will have approximately 40 corporate, joint venture and franchise locations opened.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Colorado Home Values Holding up, Kitchen Remodels Still Make Sense

Press release provided by Linden Designs

While unfortunate homeowners in California and Florida experienced precipitous home price drops of up to 40 percent in 2008, home values up and down the front range have held steady, falling less than 2% in 2008 and showing solid appreciation in the past five years. Despite the rocky economy, homes remain a good investment in Colorado and Wyoming. (Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency. Data released February 24, 2009)

According to Remodel Magazine, return on investment for kitchen remodeling has dropped very little. What’s more, home mortgage and home equity loan rates are at historic lows right now & contractors are more available to create the perfect environment to remodel your kitchen.

Not all Kitchen remodels are created equal! Consumers should consider the quality of their remodeling choices to maximize their return on investment.

5 Cost-Conscious Kitchen Remodel Tips:

1. 1. Do it yourself

While bad DIY work is a bad investment and can actually devalue your home, competent do-it-yourself projects can save your budget. Tile work is a good example. In Colorado, average tile installation rates run about $10 per square foot, including underlayment and other prep. But if you choose inexpensive tile flooring, you may only pay $2 a square foot for the tile. Learning to lay tile yourself is a doable DIY task that adds value and saves cash.

2. 2. Low-cost countertops

Who doesn’t want granite or soapstone? In the past decade, we all grew accustomed to equating high-end kitchens with solid-surface countertops.

But low-cost laminate in a tasteful solid or mottled black can give a similar appearance and function at a much lower cost.

3. 3. Clearance appliances

Good old scratch-and-dent and floor model appliances are a good bet right now, as are overstock models. Just like car dealers, many appliance dealers in this economy have a surplus of appliances to move, so you might just get a great deal if you keep looking and are bold enough to haggle. While you’re at it, look for Energy Star ratings, which will also save on energy costs.

4. 4. Reused materials

Visit your local thrift shops to look for interesting lighting fixtures, sinks, and other remodeling treasures. Habitat for Humanity operates building materials thrift stores up and down the Front Range, and all the money you spend goes to help build Habitat homes.

5. 5. Efficient cabinet design

A good kitchen designer can save you hundreds—even thousands— of dollars on your kitchen cabinets. Drawers are more expensive than cabinets with doors, for example, so if your budget is tight, a good designer will use drawers judiciously. Wood and finish choices also radically affect cost. Don’t skimp where it counts, though. Make sure your new cabinets are built to last. Visit for a primer on what to look for in quality cabinet construction.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Western Union wins wire transfer seizure ruling

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a global leader in money transfer services, issued the following statement in reaction to today’s Arizona Supreme Court ruling that Arizona exceeded its authority in attempting to seize Western Union wire transfers sent from other states to locations in Mexico:

We are pleased that the Arizona Supreme Court has agreed with us. While this decision prohibits the seizure of out-of-state transactions, we will continue to work with Arizona to combat illegal activity.

At its heart, this matter involved Western Union protecting the interest of our consumers. The Arizona Supreme Court found that the seizure warrant here went too far, exceeding Arizona’s legal authority and interfering with legitimate transactions by consumers across the United States.

Western Union fully supports law enforcement goals, and over the years we have worked cooperatively with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in attempting to ensure that our services are compliant and used appropriately.

To obtain a copy of The Arizona Supreme Court ruling, please visit:


In September 2006, the Arizona Attorney General obtained a warrant seeking to seize all Western Union money transfers above $500 sent from anyone in 29 U.S. states for which payment was requested at any of 26 agent locations in Sonora, Mexico.

Western Union obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the seizures. The TRO was later affirmed by the Arizona Superior Court, which quashed the warrant.

The State appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the Superior Court decision. Western Union appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, resulting in today’s decision, in which the Supreme Court upheld Western Union’s position.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act

From the desk of Marsha Looper


The 2008-2009 State Operating Budget had an $18.61 billion dollars price tag. Do you know where all of that money was spent? Until now, it is has been difficult, if not impossible to locate any information on the State’s spending policies. Now, with the passage of HB09-1288, taxpayers throughout Colorado will have an opportunity to view first-hand where their money is being spent!

Many people want to know where Colorado State Government is spending their hard earned money and with the enactment of HB1288, citizens will now have the option to view the state’s checkbook, including the total amount of revenue collected and the total amount of revenue spent by the Legislature, Department of Personnel and Governor’s Office. Some of the provisions for the website include:

· State expenditure and revenue data-commonly known as the financial data warehouse;

· Expenditure and revenue data will be updated every 5th business day;

· Download options;

· 10 years of archived revenue and expenditure data;

· Feedback option for users of the website;

· Information shall be available by the Internet by January 1, 2010.

As co-sponsor of the Colorado Taxpayers Transparency Act, it is my intent to allow everyone the opportunity to view and comment on the state’s spending and revenue collection policies. The information listed on the states website ( provides citizens one more measure of transparency in government so desperately needed in these challenging financial times.

For additional information on HB1288 and other state policy please contact me at or contact me directly at 719-238-5600. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Marsha Looper ( R )
Colorado State Representative HD#19, 719-238-5600