It was October of 1989 when my father arrived for his final assignment at Peterson Air Force Base. We’d moved to Colorado Springs after spending four years in what was then West Germany (the Berlin Wall would fall a month after we departed) and my mother, who had served 21 years as an Air Force nurse, stepped away from her long military career.
I didn’t know much about my new home as I was about to enter a sixth-grade classroom filled with strangers. I do recall asking my parents, before we moved west, if Colorado Springs had a shopping mall, something not common in Cold War Europe. To my delight, I was informed it had two. At 11, I was mostly concerned that I’d have access to an American food court again.
I knew nothing of Colorado Springs (other than it was near some mountains), and certainly knew nothing of its business community. I assumed there’d be more tumbleweed than people. That was nearly 30 years ago, and, as funny coincidences go, the Colorado Springs Business Journal also laid roots in this city just six months before I arrived.
The first issue dropped on April Fools’ Day — the Springs had just more than 280,000 residents.
The paper was started by Chuck Sheldon and Roger Powell, first publishing twice a month before becoming a weekly in 1994. Initially, CSBJ operated out of the DeGraff Building on Tejon Street (above what is now Oskar Blues) before moving to 31 E. Platte in 1993. In July 1998, the company was sold to Dolan Media Co., based in Minneapolis, which also published the Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group’s Peterson Space Observer, the Schriever Sentinel and the Fort Carson Mountaineer.
Current ownership, known as Colorado Publishing House, the founding company of the Colorado Springs Independent, acquired the Business Journal in June 2012. The Journal sat at the corner of Platte and Tejon for more than two decades. But in October 2014, the company moved under the same roof as its sister publication at the corner of Nevada and Vermijo avenues.
When the Journal turned 25, then-editor Ralph Routon reached out to Rob Wrubel, who came to the company in 1998 as Dolan’s first CSBJ publisher. Wrubel said then: “CSBJ increases the amount of local news and issues covered each and every year. The paper had a fair amount of pre-written content when I got here. We moved to increase local news and local coverage. The CSBJ now has unique community events that it did not have before. It has a great mix of breaking news on its website and deeper analysis in the paper that was not possible before the internet, text and email boom of the last decade.”
The Business Journal’s identity was pretty simple 30 years ago. But bigger things lay ahead, much like the community it was founded to cover.
Today, the Business Journal is printed every week, providing unbiased and well-researched news about southern Colorado and its economic engines. We celebrate those who have committed themselves to making the city a better place to live through its Women of Influence, Rising Stars and Best in Business recognitions and events. We’ve put our money where our mouth is with our Southeast Business Plan Competition, where two new businesses to date have been provided tens of thousands of dollars in resources, making them part of the renaissance in that struggling part of town. And we’ve created networking and discussion opportunities with the community’s most influential executives through our monthly COS CEO series, now going into its fourth year.
For 30 years, we’ve meant business.
I graduated from Mitchell High School in District 11 in 1996. I attended UCCS during my freshman year of college (the first year UCCS had dorms) before transferring to the University of Colorado Boulder.
When I moved away from Colorado Springs in 1997 I, like most of my peers, couldn’t wait to leave the city behind. There seemed to be little in the way of culture, entertainment or potential. I returned to El Paso County 15 years ago and I’m proud to say that it’s not the same place from which I moved. The city now has so much to offer, much of it built from the ground up; and there seems to be more good news to report each day.
So to the business community: We ask you continue to build Colorado Springs into a city our grandchildren, 30 years from now, will be proud to call their home. And to our readership: Thank you for your decades of supporting our local business ecosystem and local journalism.
Now let’s get back to business.