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.”

Pine Needle Mountaineering

Advisor Terryl Peterson worked with Jeremy Dakin and Miles Avenzoar to analyze the prospect of purchasing Pine Needle Mountaineering. Coincidentally, Jeremy knew Peterson as a customer of the store, but didn’t know what she did professionally. When they originally started looking at the business in the fall of ’07 and the spring of ‘08, the banks were optimistic and the economy was good. Then everything changed. They contacted Joe Keck for advice and what they

Read More »
Finn’s Wurst Sausage

            Greg and Finn Hopkins are a father and son team that created Finn’s Wurst Sausage.  Finn came up with the idea to sell authentic German bratwurst from a New York City styled hot dog cart during a brainstorming session with his dad.  The purpose of the business is to advance Finn from employee to owner.  Finn is autistic.  His experience in the food service industry has been as a dishwasher, prep cook and busser. 

Read More »
BC Signs, LLC

“I remember the first time I met Joe Keck, I was huddled by a wood stove in a 4,000 square foot building accompanied by a meager video inventory and a vinyl cutter”, said Bryce Capron, on meeting Joe in at his place of business in Dove Creek. He sat next to the fire with me and we talked. “It was my first contact with a resource that I value and rely on to this day.”

Read More »
Southwest Discovered

Southwest Discovered (SWD) is a weekly blog/mini e-magazine founded by Amy and Jim Dodson. Their passion for the Southwest, along with a ‘forever tourist’ mindset was inspiration for the website. What began as a personal blog about the region’s cuisine evolved into a business. SWD would detail their road trips and experiences, highlighting their discovery of Southwest culture, people and landscapes through art and story. When they were transitioning away from the blog in 2015,

Read More »
Higher Grounds

By Malia Durbano Nicki Alley, owner of Higher Grounds Coffee in Pagosa Springs was “really excited” when she won First Place for the business plan she wrote after attending the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs training. Although her coffee house, bakery and gift shop had been open since 2004, she wanted “a refresher and to update the business plan”. She will be celebrating her 10th anniversary on August 16th & 17th. The eclectic shop features scarves,

Read More »
Cafe Au Play

Kelly Tregillus and her mother-in-law, Liza Tregillus, are the co-founders of Durango Café au Play (DCAP). DCAP is a non-profit organization (NPO) that offers co-working space and childcare for new and expecting parents in a family friendly ‘café’ environment. Parents with young children are provided a space to work, socialize and attend parenting classes. DCAP provides a support system for moms and dads who feel disconnected and isolated at home. Kelly relocated from San Francisco

Read More »