Gold Canyon has a new school of ballet and Apache Junction will soon have a Dutch Bros. Coffee Shop as new businesses are announcing plans to open in the two communities.
Some that opened in early 2020 are AJ Sports Grill (early February), 725 W. Apache Trail Suite 2A in Apache Junction; and Gold Canyon School of Ballet (Jan. 4), 5810 S. Alameda Road in Gold Canyon.
“Apache Junction is a great place to start a business because there is opportunity regardless of what your business niche is,” Janine Hanna-Solley, economic development director for the City of Apache Junction, said.
“Not only do we have ample retail and service-based needs to be met, we are actively seeking to diversify business opportunity by supporting land uses and pursuing end users that can provide living-wage jobs in areas such as light manufacturing, medical facilities/services, and business services. Apache Junction’s attraction strategy does also includes expanding resort/tourist-oriented development, expanded retail opportunities, and quality high-density residential projects,” she said.
Businesses coming soon include Mountain America Credit Union, opening in the second quarter of 2020 at 140 E. Old West Highway, according to a job posting at linkedin.com for a branch manager.
Others anticipated this year include:
A business that recently expanded in Gold Canyon is at the Views at Superstition, 6900 E. U.S. Highway 60.
Tracy Machajewski had owned and managed an indoor wedding and event venue there for 10 years when she decided to expand it to include space outdoors for receptions, called Under The Stars.
“We would frequently get inquiries if we were able to host both the ceremony and reception outdoors, which prior to opening this new venue space, the answer was always ‘no,’” she said.
“In October of 2019, I had four back-to-back inquiries for outdoor events and I thought, ‘I could really acquire a lot more business if I had an outdoor space,’” Ms. Machajewski said.
The business has for several years partnered with Mountainbrook Golf Course to host outdoor ceremonies --- a “Bridge” site at hole No. 2 and the “Tree” site off the course, she said.
“I contacted the owner of the golf course to see if we might be able to host outdoor receptions at the “Tree” site because it would not impose on the play of golf and had parking, restrooms, beautiful views, etc. He said, ‘yes,’ we negotiated a fee and here we are,” Ms. Machajewski said.
“Gold Canyon is a great place to start a business because of the amazing views of the Superstition Mountains. This is what draws 99.9% of our clientele to us,” she said.
For more information on Under The Stars @ The Superstition Mountains, call 480-671-3311 or go to theviewsatsuperstition.com.
Madison Cafaro, a graduate of Apache Junction High School, is the founder of Gold Canyon School of Ballet, which opened in January.
“I decided to open a ballet school in Gold Canyon because there are no dance schools in the area, let alone things for children to do in the area,” she said.
She has a bachelor’s degree of fine art in dance and has danced ballet professionally.
“I wanted to give the kids in the area the opportunity to have a quality dance education and be a part of something that benefits their health, increases their artistry and gives them the opportunity to be a part of something to be committed to. There are not many activities/extracurricular activities in the area for the kids in Gold Canyon, and I don’t think people realize just how many children live in the Gold Canyon area because of the main demographic,” Ms. Cafaro said.
The business offers a free teen class, where participants sign up and show up with parental consent, she said.
Ballet and tap classes with tuition are offered for ages 3-18, with scholarships available. Learn more at balletteachermaddy.wixsite.com/goldcanyonballet. The business is on Facebook and Instagram @goldcanyonballet.
“I am thrilled to be bringing the joy of dance to not only the children of our community, but to everyone,” Ms. Cafaro said.
“It is truly my joy to teach dance to children. It has been an integral part of my life and I feel it as my responsibility to share that with children, especially those who may not be able to drive many miles or pay the costly tuition prices of going to a school with a high quality dance education,” she said.
The 5810 S. Alameda Road location in Gold Canyon was perfect for the business, she said.
“I chose the location because of the central, Gold Canyon Location, and because the space was offered to me. It’s a great space because most kids can walk to their dance classes and students living in Apache Junction do not have a long drive. It is also very safe,” she said.
Other businesses that recently opened include:
A local entity keen to know about new businesses and expansions is the Superstition Fire and Medical District, which services Apache Junction, Gold Canyon and surrounding areas.
New and planned businesses are mentioned under “growth and development” or “review of new business development” at monthly fire board meetings.
“One of my assigned duties at the fire district is plan review for all new development and all remodels, also known as tenant improvements,” SFMD Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard Ochs, public information officer, said.
“During our board meetings, each chief officer provides the board with an update regarding their particular area(s) of responsibility. I simply update our board on new growth and development within the fire district so that they remain aware of the growth and new businesses,” he said.
New buildings or expansions reported at the meetings included Gold Canyon Business Center, Arizona Water Co.’s planned expansion for an office and warehouse, Banner Goldfield Hospital, Masonic Lodge and First Assembly of God, according to meeting minutes at sfmd.az.gov.
The fire district invests hundreds of hours each year to plan review in conjunction with the City of Apache Junction and Pinal County, Assistant Chief Ochs said.
“Our primary focus is to ensure that fire code requirements are met. Fire Code requirements can vary slightly from Building Code. When a new structure is completed, the fire district conducts a final inspection to confirm all Building Code and Fire Code requirements have been met. When this is completed, the new business is granted a Certificate of Occupancy. This final inspection also serves as the fire district’s first business inspection, and the business is then added to the Fire Prevention Division’s annual inspection roster,” he said.
Resources for potential businesses considering Apache Junction are available from a variety of sources, Ms. Hanna-Solley, economic development director for the City of Apache Junction, said.
“Our existing local business community is one of the most valuable and knowledgeable sources for a budding entrepreneur or potential business. Many very generously make themselves available to share market insight, niche opportunities and market challenges/successes they’ve encountered while conducting business in Apache Junction,” she said.
“We’ve helped so many business-to-business connections and are always awed at our business community’s willingness to share with others to help guide them in the AJ market.”
The city’s economic development office, 300 E. Superstition Blvd., can be reached at 480-474-5076 or by going to ajcity.net.
The City of Apache Junction also has resources available for workforce training and education programs through the local Central Arizona College campus, 805 S. Idaho Road, as well as a plethora of resources at the Apache Junction Library, 1177 N. Idaho Road, such as 3D printers, industry databases, green screen, etc. she said.
“There is also our strong local Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce to consider connecting with as a member and tap into their networks to promote and develop a business,” Ms. Hanna-Solley said. The chamber, 567 W. Apache Trail, can be reached at 480-982-3141 or by going to ajchamber.com.
“We often collaborate with our Small Business Development Center and other regional business support organizations to refer based on the business needs, and our economic-development team is poised to provide step-by-step assistance to any business who may find themselves in what might be an unfamiliar business environment or regulatory process,” she said.