Venture Foods Showcases New Improvements – By Catherine Mahrholz

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Located on Hwy. 24 just west of Woodland Park is the town of Divide, known by locals as “The Center of the Known Universe.” It is home to an amazing little grocery store, LaGree’s Venture Foods.

This thriving grocery chain also boasts a second location, just outside the historic district of Cripple Creek, on Teller One. The main store of LaGree’s Venture Foods, though, is located in Pueblo.

Long-time residents of the Woodland Park area will remember the Ben Franklin Store in Gold Hill Square South. Located next to City Market, this remarkable little store, regrettably now gone, was just packed with an amazing amount of useful merchandise.

Like the old Ben Franklin Store of years ago, the tradition of a small friendly and well stocked grocery store lives on at LaGree’s Venture Foods. Both Teller locations stock an incredible array of food, produce, meats, frozen delights and intriguing specialty items.

Back in the 1990s, the Divide location still housed an actual butcher shop with a tradition dating back to an earlier era. The tradition of excellent quality meat has continued to this day in Divide.

Last week, I purchased at Venture a Bottom Round Roast, which cut up into chunks and made beef for Burritos. For just $5.95 it was enough to make about a dozen or so hearty Beef Burritos.

The meat department at Venture Foods also has soup bones available at a great price. Not just for soup, this is the perfect treat for man’s best friend, the family dog. What hound doesn’t enjoy gnawing to his or her heart’s content on a meaty bone?

In addition, Venture Foods specializes in some rare items. For example, I recently needed some colored pencils for a children’s coloring book and lo and behold, I found those displayed as well at Venture Foods.

The beverage section of Venture Foods has been expanded too. Many new and unusual non-alcoholic bottled soft drinks and exotic waters have been added; many in glass bottles rather than the dreaded plastic that too often litters the roadside in our beautiful Pikes Peak region and beyond.

Quality produce at Venture Foods is also a top priority for the locations in Divide and Cripple Creek. Fresh vegetables and fruit at LaGree’s Venture Foods often come from small growers and farms.

Recently, I purchased some leaf lettuce that was carefully wrapped in protective netting from the grower, and the lettuce actually had some dirt from Mother Earth here and there.

Nature provides lettuce and many fruits with a protective layer, and triple washing, a common practice among the big corporations, actually can speed up the decay process.

This weekend, the summer season will end with a rare special event at Venture Foods. Over Labor Day Weekend on Sept. 3 and Sept. 4, Venture Foods in Divide will be hosting their Second Annual Hatch Chile Roast. In addition, there will be a traditional Farmers Market with fresh produce specials.

The Growing Face of Divide

The improvements at Venture Foods are just part of the expanding face of Divide.

McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub, located in the same shopping center, adjacent to Venture Foods, will soon open a sports bar expansion as an addition to their popular restaurant.

Not far away, just up the hill from LaGree’s Liquor Store, is the Paradox Brewing Company. Here thirsty and hungry patrons can sit comfortably inside or on the patio, which is far enough away from the noise and traffic of Hwy 24, and discover a truly relaxing way to celebrate food, family and friends while enjoying a sunny late summer afternoon.

Next door to Venture Foods is a charming little shop known as Ancestral Arts. Proprietor Joe Kane grew up on a native American Indian reservation in the eastern section of the United States. He carefully crafts many of the Native American items in his store and other merchandise is hand crafted by folks from other Native American tribes.

Located behind Venture Foods is A Wild Hair salon. Hair, nails and other salon services are available.

During the regular work week and on Saturdays, Shipping Plus is available for all your packing and shipping needs and features superior quality copies, business cards and other office products.

Russ’ Place is right next door to Shipping Plus, and they have a very nice patio area, just far enough from Hwy 24 that adults can enjoy a beer or Margarita along with something tasty from their eclectic menu.

And at the intersection of Hwy 24 and Hwy 67, progress is being made on the new Equestrian Center.

Divide also boasts a beautiful park with an excellent hiking area nearby that is easy to navigate. Unlike many parks in the area, dogs on leashes are welcome.

If you haven’t done so already, stop by LaGree’s Venture Foods in Divide and see what’s new at this packed to the gunnels old-time grocery store.

It is my understanding that one can even find caviar at this unique grocery hub.

More importantly, there is no sales tax on food at LaGree’s Venture Foods, which allows considerable savings.

This Labor Day weekend as many lucky folks are celebrating summer’s last weekend, plan on stopping by Venture Foods in Divide for some freshly roasted Hatch Chiles and pick up some bargains on fresh local produce. Take the time look around inside the store to see all the new and exciting products that Venture Foods has to offer.