By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Mesa County graduations are right around the corner, with Colorado Mesa University kicking off the celebrations this Saturday. It's a busy time for families, but an even busier time for some businesses.

There's no doubt party stores are going non-stop this week, but some places that have had slower graduation business in the past couple of years say it's starting to pick up, and they're optimistic that trend will continue.

Add some smoked barbeque with four years of hard work and dedication in the classroom, and you've got a recipe for a celebration.

"It's a one time thing, it's graduation, it's an exciting time for the whole family," HaveCooker.com owner Lee Van Houten said.

The senior class of 2012 has a lot to look forward to, and it seems, businesses like HaveCooker.com will join them in preparing for the festivities.

"[The busy schedule] started that way on Monday and it's picking up as we go. It's getting busier and busier," PartyLand product manager Kelli McClelland said.

Proud family members wanting to recognize their grads' achievements are flocking to PartyLand, and 2012 items are flying off the shelves.

"A lot of people have placed a lot of orders two weeks ago. Coming up, they're still placing orders," McClelland said.

Of course, to stay with tradition there has to be a graduation cake.

"I know the pile is growing, minute by minute. We've taken a number of orders this morning," Home Style Bakery owner Janet Wilke said.

For some businesses, it seems this graduation season families are willing to spend a little more to celebrate.

"I think things are just loosening up and getting a little easier for people to spend the extra money for something nice," Van Houten said.

"It seems a little better this year, a little more brisk this year than what it was last year and the year before that," McClelland said.

Some see it as a sign the economy could be starting to turn up, and a reason businesses can be optimistic.

"I see a lot of places where it's looking better," Van Houten said.

Some are willing to spend a little bit more for this once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, and it gives grads something to look forward to so they can cap off all of their efforts, well, that is, at least until they go back to work.

These places we spoke with say they're continuing to take orders this week and next, but the earlier you can order the better.

CMU will start graduation week this Saturday at Stoker Stadium. That will be followed by Central High School and Palisade High School on Monday, and Grand Junction and Fruita Monument on Tuesday.


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