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The Cirque: A unique business model for Paonia

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Photo by Tamie Meck From left, Amy DeLuca, Liz Lundeen and Scott Shishim own the three businesses at The Cirque in downtown Paonia. The Cirque's unique business model reflects the healthy lifestyle the area has to offer. The Cirque will hold its Get Into

When Amy DeLuca and Frederick Zimmer committed to opening a business in Paonia, they wanted it to reflect all that they love about the area -- its food, agriculture, recreation, arts, music and community.

That business quickly evolved into three businesses under one roof. The Cirque will hold its Get Into Gear grand opening this Friday. Their event, which will include sale prices on ebikes and cycling gear, also marks the first day of Earth Week.

DeLuca and Zimmer purchased the 2,000-square-foot space in 2015. Built in 1903, the building served as the original Paonia post office and was most recently North Fork Video. It has been vacant for several years. Zimmer was the contractor for the remodel. To maintain its historical features he left intact the original tile ceiling, brick walls and old-growth Douglas fir floor.

Combining the new with the old, he created the urban-industrial look that they wanted, one that could easily be found in Denver or San Francisco, said DeLuca.

Until now, that's where you'd have to go to find some of its products. The Cirque is an authorized dealer of Felt electric bikes, or ebikes. DeLuca and Zimmer both own the European designed Bosch-powered ebikes, which are just hitting the U.S. market, and didn't want people to have to drive to a big city to find them. "They're huge everywhere but here," said DeLuca. "They're a great form of transportation."

Ebikes require less energy than traditional bikes and are designed for commuting and riding on roads and trails. They're perfect for getting up and down the area's steep roads and trails, said DeLuca.

If they were going to sell bikes, they needed a repair shop. Scott Shishim was a ready-made choice. Shishim, a former road and mountain bike racer and cycling coach with a background in bike repair, opened Shish KaBikes in Paonia last summer. He offers a full range of repairs, from fixing flats to complete rebuilds, and can help cyclists get their bikes in gear for spring.

The Remedy Juice Bar and Cafe at The Cirque is run by Liz Lundeen, who learned her craft while working at Backcountry Bistro. Lundeen said she wants her healthy menu to highlight the area's bounty of food and reflect the healthy lifestyle people are seeking. Among her offerings are fresh cold-pressed juices, panini, soups and gluten-free baked goods.

The Cirque also sells traditional bikes, unique bike accessories including Penair baskets, and has rental bikes available. They also carry camping gear, handmade ceramics, local honey, beeswax candles, leather goods and other locally and regionally produced items. They also showcase works by local artists, and currently feature Paonia landscape painter Alyssa Pinkerton.

Bike rentals and demos are available, and they plan to offer cycling farm and wine tours beginning this summer. They also plan to offer local alcoholic beverages by this summer.

A professional events organizer and artistic director for the Paradise Theatre with a background in fashion, DeLuca also wants to showcase local design talents. She carries jewelry by Raffi Designs and Theoni Design, and the Oak line of dresses designed by her sister, Sarah DeLuca, of Chicago.

Having the three businesses under one umbrella is a unique business model, said DeLuca, one that's based on cooperation and collaboration. Whatever is happening at The Cirque, be it an intimate concert or a big community event such as the upcoming Gears and Beers Festival this June 5-7, of which they are a major sponsor, everyone collaborates to make it happen.

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North Fork
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