Better late than never, I guess. Have you ever encountered a Grand Junction business, only to find yourself wishing you had known about it years ago? Here are five local business I wish I'd known about sooner.

Are you looking for a new hangout? Perhaps a restaurant or a coffee shop? Maybe you have a favorite but find yourself looking for a change. I heard about one place on social media and decided to give a try. What a discovery.

Ranging from coffee shops to gyms, these are five locally owned businesses I've become a fan of. These are not commercials nor endorsements. Rather, they are simply shops and services I should have been visiting a long time ago.

  • Cafe Sol

    420 Main Street
    Waylon Jordan

    This restaurant is simply amazing. Until two weeks ago I had never paid the place any attention. A friend of mine invited me to breakfast. As it turns out, his son is one of the cooks.

    The menu is right on. High-quality products, large portions, and affordable. I recommend the 'Merican breakfast. It's more than plenty, and at $10, is comparable to, or possibly better than, the chain restaurants.

    The atmosphere is excellent. I'm not one for outdoor seating, but it's available for those who do like it.

  • The Whole Sole

    420 North 8th Street
    Waylon Jordan

    I've visited this business one time, and it was a revelation. Kelly Veater is Reflexologist/Foot Zoner. What is Reflexology? According to Wikipedia:

    Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a pseudoscientific system of zones and reflex areas that purportedly reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.

    What are the benefits? According to Kelly:

    • Increased energy and over-all sense of well being
    • Strengthens immune and other body system functions
    • Focuses on healing physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, bringing them into alignment to promote whole-body healing

    For what it's worth, I'll personally vouch for every word of this.

  • Atlas Automotive

    1917 N. 1st Street
    Waylon Jordan

    I visit Atlas Automotive from time to time for engine work. My truck is right at the 200,000-mile mark, and the engine problems I run into are precisely the kind I don't want to work on myself.

    I've found them thorough, reliable, and fast. I don't know the backstory, but I gather there are a few generations of the family working the business. Their location is ultra-convenient, too.

  • Copeka Coffee

    1012 N. 5th Street
    Waylon Jordan

    Looking for a great cup of coffee and an awesome hangout? Check out Copeka Coffee. They've been open less than a year at this location.

    Why do I like it? I started dropping by late last year, shortly after they opened. I was working on a number of things, mostly financial matters. Money matters always give me the blues, so I didn't want to linger around the house. More than anything, I enjoyed the atmosphere. I could work on my projects while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee, free of distractions and unnecessary noise.

    In addition to coffee and confections, the venue also hosts several artsy events. Looking at their Facebook page, I see they are having a poetry event tonight (Thursday, August 30, 2018).

  • Avalon Theatre

    645 Main Street

    Yes, the Avalon Theatre. Sounds silly, right? I was born in this town. You would think I know all about the Avalon Theatre.

    I do know about it. I saw Star Wars there in 1977, back when it was called the Cooper. I'm frequently involved with events at the Avalon via my job.

    Oddly, it wasn't entirely clear to me the number and variety of events they host. Rarely have my outings included the awesome movie nights. The movie lineup is far more current than I realized.

    Were it not for my job, I would have no knowledge of the Sunset Terrace. That's some of the best local music you'll ever hear.

    Stay in touch with the Avalon. It's not just major concerts. There's always something going on.