Business Digest September 28, 2012

OPENINGS

Harold’s Restaurant and Lounge has opened for dinner and drinks in the space formerly occupied by Fusion Food and Spirits at 1940 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, next to the Plaza Hotel. Pratt Management Co., which owns the hotel and restaurant, brought in consultant Noah Heaney, who helped develop the Bitter Bar in Boulder and Jax Fish House in Fort Collins, to recraft the restaurant.

BRIEFS

Thousand Oaks, California,-based Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) has received regulatory approval to give its Prolia drug to men with osteoporosis who are at high risk for fractures. Amgen’s production plant in Boulder makes the bulk substance denosumab, which is used to make the Prolia and Xgeva osteoporosis drugs. People who suffer from osteoporosis experience weakening and thinning of the bones. Osteoporosis is most commonly seen in post-menopausal women, and the drugs already are approved to treat women.

The Trader Joe’s grocery store coming to the Twenty Ninth Street shopping area in Boulder will not sell the chain’s popular and bargain-priced “Two-Buck Chuck” wines. Unlike most states, wine and liquor generally cannot be sold in Colorado grocery stores. State law limits each chain or independent grocer to apply for only one license to sell full-strength liquor, and the Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe’s chain of specialty grocers has decided that the newly announced Denver store at Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard — not the one planned for Boulder — will be the state’s designated wine merchant. Fans of Trader Joe’s coined the term “Two-Buck Chuck” to refer to the chain’s selection of discount wines, which carry a Charles Shaw label and now mostly sell for about $3.99. Both stores are to open in 2013.

Level 3 Communications Inc. is rolling out its Vyvx Solutions to new markets in Latin America. Broomfield-based Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT) is a telecommunications provider that operates long-haul telecom lines and also provides services and infrastructure to broadcasters. Vyvx is a suite of video transmission solutions broadcasters use to take and transmit video on location at news and sporting events.

The city of Longmont’s sales- and use-tax collections increased 4.8 percent in August, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the city finance department’s latest report. Longmont collected $3,889,443, in August, compared with $3,712,983 collected in August 2011. The collection in August represents sales made in July. The sales-tax component of collections increased by 3.2 percent from the same month the year before, and the use-tax component increased by 12.1 percent. Total sales- and use-tax collections for the year to date increased 2.9 percent compared with the same period in 2011, according to the report.

The city of Boulder’s sales- and use-tax collections increased 2.1 percent in July, compared with the same month a year ago, according to the latest report from the city finance department. Boulder collected $8,713,668 in July compared with the $8,535,347 it collected in July 2011, according to the report. The collection in July represents sales made in June.

Xcel Energy Inc. has saved an estimated $17 million in energy costs by using a new energy-forecast software product developed in collaboration with Boulder-based Global Weather Corp. Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) now has used the WindWX energy-forecast service for a full year. Xcel saved about $7.8 million in 2011 alone, the two companies said. Forecasts are designed to help utilities such as Xcel make decisions about when to use less power from existing power plants when sufficient winds are forecast, the companies said. Xcel paid about $5 million to develop the service in connection with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, which are both based in Boulder, have developed instruments NASA aircraft are about to use to peer into hurricanes. NOAA and NCAR are working with NASA for its Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission. The three-year mission will fly two unmanned aircraft around and above hurricanes to study what makes them intensify or weaken and what determines their course.

Boulder-based Campus Publishers, a division of Redrock Publishing Co., has added Sam Houston State University to its family of more than 40 official university visitor guides. The guide will make its debut in summer 2013.

Boulder-based Also Energy LLC, maker of renewable-energy monitoring and portfolio-management software, is monitoring more than 200 solar installations on public schools, colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. Schools either build their own photovoltaic energy system to power their facility or partner with financiers or utility companies, and the power is sold to them at a fixed or reduced rate. AlsoEnergy provides solar energy production-monitoring data along with educational kiosks to the educational field.

Longmont-based Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: HILL), a provider of SAN storage solutions, has been selected by NEC High Performance Computing Europe to supplement NEC’s parallel file system LXFS, based on “Lustre” technology. The joint solution, which integrates Dot Hill AssuredSAN 3000 and 3003 storage arrays with NEC’s file system products, has been deployed at several university research data centers as well as at development centers in the automotive industry.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

MWH Global, a Broomfield-based provider of consulting, engineering and construction services, will begin offering financial-management consulting services following its acquisition of StepWise Utility Advisors. Englewood-based StepWise is a financial-management consulting firm that specializes in water and wastewater utilities. Terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.

Boulder-based private equity firm Grey Mountain Partners, in connection with its affiliate company, Denver-based Consolidated Glass Holding, acquired Insulpane of Connecticut and Orchard Glass Distributors.

SERVICES

Longmont United Hospital now has a da Vinci Si Surgical System in its operating room. The robotically assisted device is operated by a surgeon and features a three-dimensional camera and “arms” that hold surgical instruments. It can be used to perform a variety of surgical procedures, including hysterectomies, prostatectomies and colorectal surgeries. It sells for about $1.75 million, according to industry statistics.

Deadline to submit items for Business Digest is three weeks prior to publication of each biweekly issue. Mail to Editor, Boulder County Business Report, 3180 Sterling Circle, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80301-2338; or email to news@bcbr.com with Business Digest in the subject line.

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