Handcrafted House

Since opening its doors in mid December of 2010, Handcrafted House has seen a great response from the community thus far, says owner Sheryl Lock. Located at 1323 East 2nd Ave., the store offers sustainable finishes and interiors.

“We carry all non-toxic finishes and will be expanding into interiors: natural latex beds, rugs, shower curtains, organic bedding,” describes Lock. “We’ll also have more wall stencils and fun things like that; we’ve been adding about a product a week so far.”

The store started out vending Mythic Paint, a zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, and now carries Green Planet paint, sealers and concrete products from Eco Pro Coat, wood stains from AFM Safecoat, and American Clay, clay plasters fabricated in Albuquerque.

Clay plaster is where Sheryl started in the building world and it’s what husband Lars Erik Hansen still does with their other business, Hansen Handcrafted Finishes. “When I started out building adobe and straw bale houses in 2000, I quickly learned that the plaster is what I loved about building – I loved the color aspects of it and the material – so we started our own company doing natural plasters about six years ago,” recalls Sheryl. “Then I decided I didn’t want to be doing much physical labor anymore, so I decided to open the store, carrying all of the products to make a healthy home.”

Lock has taken course offerings at the SBDC over the years to expand her knowledge base, the most recent being the Leading Edge Entrepreneurial Training during which she wrote a comprehensive business plan for Handcrafted House.

“I have been using the services of the SBDC for a long time, for a previous business I had, and then when we started Handcrafted Finishes, we had several meetings with [SBDC director and counselor] Joe Keck. We would meet, do what we needed, then come back when we were ready to grow again and say, ‘OK, this is where we’re at, what’s the next step?’”

Lock found the Leading Edge course to be helpful because it confirmed some things she already knew and served as a good “reality check” of her idea. “Next, we plan to meet with a financial advisor, because I would like to find out more about the balance between inventory and cash, and also just to get another perspective.”

Another useful aspect of the course was the in-depth coverage of each topic, according to Lock. “Even if it’s not included in a business plan you would use, you have that knowledge for yourself or for some bankers who want those details.”

A space at the back of the store will be utilized for regular product clinics. Handcrafted House held its first event for contractors on Mythic Paint on March 19, during which contractors used the paint and obtained samples. “People need to be educated about it,” says Sheryl “There is a lot of fear about using something new. People who have been using the most toxin-filled, carcinogenic paints out there are used to them and know how they perform. A lot of people want to change and giving them an easy to learn about it helps.”

Since opening, the store has seen a wide range of people coming in to check it out. “We’ve had a really good response from the community so far,” says Sheryl, “everything from people who have chemical sensitivities to people who are just curious, wanting to support local business. So far, so good.”

Rivendell Education Center

Arawyn Madu taught toddlers for nine years before deciding to open her own center. Three of those were at the Campbell Center at Fort Lewis College. She attended night school for seven years to accumulate the credits required to become a Director of an Early Childhood Education Center in the State of Colorado. When she had the state requirements satisfied, she took the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs Class, “to learn the business side,” she explains.

Read More »
Sticks and Stones

While Tim and Micki Hassemer waited for the perfect retail location on Main Ave. to become available, they were lucky enough to secure retail space at the entrance to Four Leaves Winery. During the one-and-a-half years they occupied that space, they met with former SBDC Executive Director, Joe Keck numerous times. The couple moved here from Los Angeles and Tim chuckles, “It’s a little different here. We had to learn the rules and requirements for

Read More »
Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch

            Garry and Ming Adams created Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, a luxurious boutique guest ranch, in Cortez.  When Garry purchased the land in the beautiful McElmo Canyon in 2006, the three dwellings on the property were uninhabitable.  Their goal was to stay true to the land’s western heritage and create a working guest ranch.  Guests would stay in comfortable remodeled houses, part take in the raising of livestock, be offered organically raised foods

Read More »
Durango Lawns: Keeping Durango Green

Some people adore yard work. Others prefer to leave their lawn care to the experts, so they have the freedom to go play. It is on this principle that Durango Lawns was founded. Although he is an electrician by trade, Pat Cass spent many of his early years working in lawn maintenance. He enjoys working outdoors and staying physically active, and for years, he dreamed of starting his own lawn company. Finally in 2019, he

Read More »
Guild House Games: A Game for Everyone

About three years ago, Danny Perez got an idea. He was the manager of Radio Shack in Durango, and the company had recently filed for bankruptcy. Danny’s wife had mentioned that Durango needed a game store, so he started looking into it. He soon realized that this could be a viable new career path. Danny’s first stop was the SBDC. They guided him through the business plan and loan application process, and in May of

Read More »
Silver Sparrow Designs

By Malia Durbano Kristi Smith took a windy road to owning her own business and creating beautiful jewelry. As a young girl, she enjoyed drawing, painting and all expressive, creative endeavors. Upon discovering beading, she began to make jewelry for everyone she knew. In a high school she took a silver-smithing class at the local community college and knew she had found her true love. Learning that the equipment to get started was very costly,

Read More »