Biz buzz:
Art gallery/cafe opens

       Guillermo Alvarado has high hopes for Cucuru, the combination art gallery and coffee house he opened in December at 2332 W. Colorado Ave.
       A Colorado Springs native and long-time Westsider, Alvarado is showing original paintings by various area ar-tists, with coffee set to go on sale from High Rise in Old Colorado City.
       “I'm promoting them as well as myself,” he said. “By doing that, it means growth for everyone.”
       Cucuru is in a converted house across from Bancroft Park that Alvarado, a career remodeling specialist, has been renovating over the past two years. “Everyone's seen me out there working,” he laughed.
       According to Alvarado, this is just the beginning. By the end of the month, he expects to have a city license to serve milk- ingredient coffee drinks, such as lattes or cappucinos; also in the offing are locally made pastries and cold sandwiches. A longer- range vision is for a “Euro-style” gallery format - serving coffee and edibles in the early part of the day, closing for a “siesta,” as he put it, in the afternoon, and reopening in the evening for wine, beer and dance.
       The latter is not such a stretch for Alvarado, who studied ballet in his youth. And for festive activities, he needs look for an example no further than his father, Jose Alvarado, who for 25 years (until 1977) organized an annual three-day event in downtown Colorado Springs called La Fiesta Bonita.
       Possibly the biggest difficulty Cucuru faces is customer parking. The location has no on-site spaces, and the only adjacent on- street parking is beside the business, along 24th Street.
       Another gallery that opened in December is the Wild Bunch - consisting of original paintings by several local artists, led by Curt Layman. However, the Wild Bunch is (for now at least) a temporary effort, with no definite plans beyond this month at 2423 ½ W. Colorado Ave. The group moved into the storefront last month, taking over from sculptor Rick Lewis, who died Oct. 31 after having a gallery there for three years.
       Wild Bunch visitors may recognize local scenes (albeit with a little artistic license) in some of the paintings. “We're trying to show stuff that's of the area,” Layman said.
       Greccio Housing, a Westside-based affordable-housing provider, celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2005. According to the Fall 2005 Greccio Housing newsletter, the non-profit agency benefited from 2,300 volunteer hours in 2005, valued at $40,000.
       Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. is relocating to another suite in Old Town Plaza, at 2501 W. Colorado Ave. Owner Theresa Barbera said she preferred being in a unit that's closer to the street.

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