Biz Buzz:
OCC dog & cat business adds grooming


Kat Salemi grooms a dog inside the Republic of Paws' recently opened Grooming Salon & Day Spa.
Westside Pioneer photo
Jason and Molly Smith opened their retail store for dogs and cats, Republic of Paws, five years ago at 2411 W. Colorado Ave.
       Pleased with the Old Colorado City location, the couple recently opened a Grooming Salon & Day Spa a block away. It's in a 1,200-square-foot upstairs suite in the west wing of the Old Town Plaza commercial center, 2501 W. Colorado Ave.
       “We've been looking at getting into grooming for a while,” Molly Smith said. Having the salon and store within short walking distance allows easy referrals back and forth between them, she noted.
       The salon's master groomer is Kat Salemi, who has 12 years experience and has been certified through the National Dog Groomers Association of America.
       In January, the salon added a technician who is also trained in grooming cats, she pointed out.
       Other available services at the salon are bath & tidy, relaxation massage, laser therapy, a “pawdicure,” and anesthesia-free dental work, the website states.
       Salon hours are Mondays through Fridays, with Saturdays by appointment only.
       For more information, call the salon at 445-6634.

       CEO for Space Foundation
       The Space Foundation Board of Directors has begun a global search for a new chief executive officer (CEO).
       The non-profit entity is located off Garden of the Gods Road, 4425 Arrowswest Drive.
       The CEO will “lead a premier team of 50 professionals, providing advocacy and education services to the space industry, educators and students... around the world,” reads a report in the entity's online Space Watch publication.
       The position has been vacant since October, following the resignation of Eliot Pulham.
       Chief Operating Officer Shelli Brunswick is currently acting CEO, the report states.
       The Space Foundation also operates a Discovery Center, which offers permanent and traveling exhibits as well as interactive activities.

Westside artist Douglas Rouse painted this roughly 16-by-20-foot mural on the south wall of Bingo's Saddle Shop in September.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Wall comes alive for venerable saddle shop
       Bingo's Saddle Shop has operated in Colorado Springs for 88 years, most of them on the Westside.
       The past seven of those years the store has been in the hands of Diane Hanchey and her sister, Kim Parker, both of them horsewomen from California. “We trail ride,” Hanchey said. “We're just mountain girls.”
       In 2016, they relocated the business from a middle unit to the south corner within the six-unit commercial center on the west side of South Eighth Street's 400 block. The new address is 422 S. Eighth. They'd been waiting for that spot to open, seeing advantages with its larger space, the additional parking along its south side and also the wall there.
       The wall? Hanchey and Parker envisioned that concrete block expanse as a kind of advertising board, especially viewable by equestrian traffic along Eighth Street from the nearby Norris-Penrose Event Center.
       Following that idea, they contracted with Westside muralist Douglas Rouse in September. He painted a roughly 16-by-20-foot depiction of two horseback riders, one western-style, one English, who appear to be bursting from the wall.
       “It's a cool mural,” Hanchey enthused. The scene also reflects the Bingo's inventory, which is split pretty evenly between western and English. Even when she and her sister trail-ride, “we borrow from both sides of the aisle,” Hanchey pointed out.
       Bingo's started as a harness shop in 1929, evolving into a tack and saddle business that includes mending and repair services. Bingo (Dominic Santana) wasn't the founder, but bought the business in 1941, changed the name and ran it for the next 40 years, according to the About page on the Bingo's website.
       The business is open daily. The phone is 634-6070, and the website is

John and Linda Edwards, inside their Old Colorado City store, the Flute Player.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Flute Player owners announce retirement
       For the past 26 years, the Flute Player Gallery has been a fixture at 2511 W. Colorado Ave.
       Owners John and Linda Edwards plan to bring their store's streak to an end, probably by the end of February, when they will close it for good.
       The decision wasn't an easy one. “It's harder going out than it was going in,” John commented.
       Specializing in Southwest Indian art - particularly jewelry items - the Flute Player has actually been in Old Colorado City 28 years. For the first two, it was in the Old Town Plaza commercial center at 25th and Colorado, not far from the current location.
       “They've been good years,” John said. “I can't complain.”
       In addition, they previously owned the Soap Box & More shop (chiefly run by Linda) in the same block of the avenue. They closed that business in 2016 after 19 years.
       That decision, like the current one to end the Flute Player's run, reflects their decision to start planning for retirement.
       The storefront will likely be vacant for a time after the Flute Player leaves. John said he and Linda, who own the building, want to be careful about who they lease the store space to.
       The pair, who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, also decided not to sell their business name. “I'd hate to have someone come in and destroy what we've built,” John said.

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