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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Tracy Munson switches careers, resumes focus on art

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It took four years, but Tracy Munson sold her gallery on Main Street and in the process discovered a new career.

Munson's Main Street Gallery and Em-pour-ium was purchased by Stacy and Scott Malmgren of Castle Rock in late May. They plan to live upstairs while they run the gallery. Tracy says it's their intent to keep the operation as is, but gradually expand with their own ideas.

The gallery has occupied a prominent location on Main Street since it was established by Markee and John Travis in 1986. In 1999, Jim and Tracy Munson purchased the gallery. Tracy, an accomplished artist, showcased her own art as well as that of many other local sculptors and painters. Clothing, accessories, pottery and other gift items were added to keep the inventory fresh and exciting. Tracy added the coffee "em-pour-ium" about three years ago.

Cedaredge is a small community and Tracy knows many of the realtors in town. The thought of becoming a real estate agent has long been in the back of her mind. She listed her business with Grand Mesa Commercial Real Estate, owned by Lucinda Stanley, and through conversations with Lucinda began to explore the idea more seriously. With the sale of her business, Tracy approached Lucinda to see if it would be possible to work with her. Lucinda gave her the title of marketing director. Tracy has started taking classes to familiarize herself with the real estate industry. Eventually she plans to obtain her real estate license.

She's about to close on a small house in Cedaredge, and is excited there's space for a studio. She says she has lacked the time and energy to devote to art, but is now "starting to feel the creative juices flow."

"One of the first things I'm going to do is get back to work creating art, from sculpture to painting to jewelry ... just a variety of things."

Currently, her sculptures are displayed at the AppleShed but she also plans to show her work at the Main Street Gallery.

Lucinda Stanley said the time is right to expand her business.

"Commercial real estate in Delta County has just started to come alive again after several years of being stagnant or on the decline," she said.

Lower prices have contributed to a higher level of interest. Recently three commercial lots sold for a total of $10,000. In 2007, Lucinda said, those one-acre lots were being marketed for $25,000 each.

Residential sales are already on the rise, along with median prices, Stanley said. "Commercial activity always follows residential so I knew, in time, my business was going to pick up. With this anticipated activity now becoming a reality, I've been searching for the right person to take on the marketing activities, someone with a lot of enthusiasm, follow-through, strong relationship building skills and someone who would treat the business as theirs. Tracy, being a business owner for years and having by default learned a multitude of skills, is so perfect for this position," she said.

With additional staff in place, Lucinda says she plans to explore new development opportunities. She has also started commercial property management with the auction of the Shoppes at Delta.

"It will take some time to gain traction but I feel the wheels have finally started to turn," Lucinda said.

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