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Old 07-01-2013, 11:35 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,025 times
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Hello -- I'm currently living in Denver and my girlfriend and I have been talking about possibly downsizing from Denver since it's getting too big for us. We both really like the mountains and outdoor activities so mountain access would be important. We would also like the town to be big enough to have at least some services (10,000-20,000 people maybe?)

I've been thinking about cities that would even work and Durango and Montrose/Ridgway come to mind. They seem like they might be big enough to have some jobs but still have very good mountain access and scenery.

My girlfriend would also like to entertain the idea of opening a cupcake shop in one of these locations. I'm currently an IT Systems Administrator and would be looking for something similar.

So I guess I have 3 questions:

1. Is it possible to get a professional IT job in Durango or Montrose?
2. Does anyone familiar or living in those areas think a cupcake/coffee shop would even be successful there?
3. Are there any other cities to consider? Grand Junction would be a logical choice but we aren't really a huge fan of Grand Junction, would consider if nothing else was available.

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
606 posts, read 735,088 times
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I will throw my 2 cents in for a couple of your questions:



1. Is it possible to get a professional IT job in Durango or Montrose? Highly doubtful, would your current employer allow you to telecommute? If so, then high speed internet availability would be a factor.
2. Does anyone familiar or living in those areas think a cupcake/coffee shop would even be successful there? I don't live in either but am very familiar with both areas. Montrose I really doubt it. Durango also doubtful but maybe a little better than Montrose. I imagine costs (store front rent and also housing) will be a huge challenge in Durango. I don't see the market there being able to support another coffee shop. You also need to consider if this whole fancy cupcake thing has durability or if it's more of a trend. My money would be on the latter.
3. Are there any other cities to consider? Grand Junction would be a logical choice but we aren't really a huge fan of Grand Junction, would consider if nothing else was available.

Last edited by StarrySkiesAbove; 07-01-2013 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,431,146 times
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I think you will have a very difficult time finding an IT job on the western slope. When I lived in Grand Junction 6 years ago, the economy was much better and even then, there weren't many IT jobs to be had. Unless you can find something that allows you to work remotely, or you find something working for the city, county or government (the only IT people I knew there worked for the US Forest Service), I doubt many jobs exist. Those that do will pay considerably less than what the Front Range does.

As far as your girlfriend's idea of a cupcake shop, I have no clue really. You might need to do some research and visit the places you are thinking about to see what might already be there. It might be something that is missing, or the market might already be saturated.

The western slope of Colorado is amazing and relatively unpopulated compared with the Front Range. There is a reason for this. Jobs are scarce. You might consider some smaller cities along the Front Range that will meet your needs, while working on finding that job that allows you to work remotely.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:52 AM
 
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Remember when considering Grand Junction to also consider the town of Fruita. The Fruita downtown area seems vibrant and busy for a small town and gets a boost from the cyclists who visit to ride the local trails. I don't know what it costs to rent a storefront but a new business there might succeed. I live in Montrose and know somebody who has a bagel/coffee shop downtown and business here seems to be challenging but slowly improving. An ice cream shop and a restaurant serving pizza/salad/beer have recently come to the downtown area and it seems like they might make it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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I have no idea about Montrose, I am most familiar with Durango. There is certainly a need for good IT professionals here. The job market is not Denver though with openings frequently. I do see ads/postings here and there and my DH is in the IT field and that is always a big complaint he hears frequently, not enough qualified employees. The college, school district, medical practices, natural gas companies, the tribe in Ignacio, Mercury Payment Systems (if you can get a job there, excellent employer for Durango), are all standard places around town that would employ a systems administrator.


As far as cupcake/coffee shop goes, we have many coffee shops already, all seem to do well. There is one food cart on the north end of town that does desserts only. The south side of town, out by Wal-Mart, is lacking in treats and coffee besides a Durango Joes location, but also seems a harder market to dive into since you are appealing to the Wal-Mart crowd.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:44 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 4,941,008 times
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It sounds to me like you have not spent much time in a town of 10 to 20k. They don't have those things, they are not likely to succeed there, and they don't have most other common services. They will have a gas station. If they are far from other cities, they might have a small grocery store with a few items that may or may not fit your life style. Everything will cost more. Downsizing from Denver may be better served by moving to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, or Grand Junction if you wish to stay in Colorado. Going to 10 to 20k is the absolute polar opposite.

PS. If you lived in Pueblo or GJ and said you wanted to downsize, then by all means going to 10 to 20k would be reasonable. When your experience is in Denver, and you don't know what things exist in a town of 10 to 20k, it sounds like you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,067 posts, read 12,423,360 times
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Montrose a town of 15,000 has a bit more than "a gas station". How many restaurants, and super markets do you need? Montrose has a super Wal-Mart, two City Markets, a huge Safeway, a Target, JC Penney's, a health food market, and some of the best restaurants I've ever eaten in. Gosh it even has a regional airport. I would suggest you visit there, and talk to the local Chamber of Commerce. Good luck to you.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:35 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 4,941,008 times
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That's exceptional for a town of 15,000. Most I've been to with under 15,000 have one or two super markets and the people commute to buy food. It sounds like your town of 15,000 is much better than the others (in different states) that I have been to.

Edit: For me personally, I need a Sam's club or a Costco, but prefer both. I need a commercial airport--one where I can actually go online and buy a ticket to get the other side of the country for 150 or less. (prefer 120 and under)

PS. No disrespect was meant Jim. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your posts and when I'm old enough to retire, my needs may change and I may move farther out from the city.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:27 PM
 
1,059 posts, read 1,636,718 times
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Having moved from the northern suburbs of a larger city (Pittsburgh), Durango lacks a Costco or Sam's Club, which I do miss. It does however offer so many other things, one of the nicest being that there is only a single national chain restaurant (Applebee's) with everything else being locally based. Needless to say, the outdoor activity opportunities here abound.

We have plenty of grocery stores here with 4 chains and several non-chain alternatives, organic food stores, etc. Plenty of gas stations, car dealers, Home Depot, etc. We have a commercial airport (although you'd be hard pressed to get a $120 fare to get anywhere else), pretty much everything I could need. For Target, Sam's Club, Dillards, Lowes, etc, I can just drive the 45 miles down to Farmington and shop to my heart's delight if I wanted.

Downsizing to a small town is always going to be filled with tradeoffs. You just need to decide which things are so important to you that you cannot live without them.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,067 posts, read 12,423,360 times
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I don't live in Montrose. Too big for me. I do drive there for groceries though.
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