THE EYE: Erie’s growth spawns new weekly newspaper

The Eye has shifted its glance to southwest Weld County, where a new weekly newspaper has begun publishing in the previously unserved town of Erie.

Called “The Erie Review,” the community paper appears in mailboxes and on newsstands each Friday. With seasoned Front Range reporter and Business Report contributor Jeff Thomas at the helm, coverage should be in-depth and complete.

The Erie Review is owned by the same family that has operated the Louisville Times and the Lafayette News, both published twice weekly, for more than 30 years. Publisher Doug Conarroe leads the organization.Erie, which straddles Weld and Boulder counties, is poised for rapid growth, with huge new residential and commercial projects planned.
The ever-observant Eye has deduced the Conarroes’ strategy: By entering the Erie market with a new newspaper while the town remains small, they can consolidate their grip on the Louisville/Lafayette/Erie region, before any other would-be publishers give Erie a second thought.
The paper has already landed “legal” advertising from the town.n n nThe Eye, which peruses more trade and specialty pubs than a roomful of CEOs, was happy to spot two Fort Collins-based home builders honored in Custom Home magazine’s 1996 Pacesetter Awards, which honor 15 of the nation’s top custom-home builders.
Honored in the customer-service category was Classic Custom Builders Inc., headed by Ray Spencer. The home builder credits his company’s emphasis on Total Quality Management for its success.
Honored for marketing was Steve Spanjer’s Spanjer Construction Corp. Spanjer budgeted $90,000 for marketing in 1995-96, the magazine stated, including $57,000 in Realtor commissions. The marketing consists of regular press releases, postcards to contacts, open houses, speaking engagements and individual meetings.
The efforts appear to be working; Spanjer reported meeting with 18 qualified prospects through August, vs. 13 through August 1995.n n nThe Eye always loves a ground-breaking, especially for a project as creative as Poudre Valley Plaza. The festivities occurred Nov. 20, with several dozen guests in attendance.
Poudre Valley Plaza will include a new branch for Poudre Valley Bank, as well as the new headquarters for Wheeler Realty Better Homes & Gardens and other tenants.
The project, at South Shields Street and Horsetooth Road, virtually sailed through the Fort Collins planning process, due largely to its mixed-use nature and interesting design. Retail and office uses will be joined by several luxury residential condos above businesses, and the project will sport a southwestern plaza motif and will be “reminiscent of European plazas.”
The project responds to several problems evident in Fort Collins’ recent growth, namely density and sprawl. Low densities lead to sprawl, so Poudre Valley Plaza’s higher density could point the way to future projects.
Ground-breaking attendees didn’t seem too bothered by the high winds and mud that prevailed throughout the ceremony. For The Eye’s part, a little mud on the shoes and mussed hair is more routine than not.