Smitty’s Liquors

When Barb Higgins, her son Shiloh and his business partner Doug Jorgensen wanted to buy Smitty’s Liquors in Cortez, the first thing she did was call Joe Keck, who she had known for years. She knew the owners of Smitty’s and they were ready to retire. Her son and his partner had run a successful skateboard and clothing store in Las Vegas, but wanted to come back to Colorado.

Higgins and her husband decided to help their son buy the business.

She explains, “Joe walked us through every step of completing the business plan and applying for the loan to buy the business. We couldn’t have done it without him. Every time we called with questions, he was so helpful.”

Whenever they came across stumbling blocks, Keck was there to provide support and guidance. He emailed her a template to use to do their financial projections and reviewed them to see how they could grow the business and make it better. “His help was invaluable.”

Higgins continues, “Joe saved us a lot of time by recommending financial people to go to for help and to banks that would work with an SBA loan. The business plan detailed their analysis and showed that the business was, “a diamond in the rough.” Through diligent scrutiny, they knew it had potential and that they could turn it around.

The process took about eight months, but they have owned the business now for almost two years.

“Without Joe’s support, we probably would have given up. The paperwork to apply for the loan was overwhelming. With Joe’s support, we could plug along a little further,” she explains. “Joe always said, ‘Don’t hesitate to call’. “His knowledge and experience are amazing.”

“Even after the process was finished, Joe would call to see how things were going and ask if we needed anything,”

Higgins recommends using the SBDC staff to anyone who is considering starting or buying a business. “The staff bends over backwards for you,” she concludes.

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 »
KB Insurance Group

Ken Brengle is the owner of KB Insurance Group, headquartered in Cortez, CO.  He studied business at Fort Lewis College.  Outside of class, Ken did a lot of self study and sold cell phones at a local store.  He was inspired by his business professors who became successful and moved to Durango for a better quality of life.  Ken learned he was a good salesman, and with a sufficient income he thought, “Why should I pay thousands of dollars

Read More »
San Juan Trading Post

By Malia Durbano Ryan, Tom and Ellen Beavers are all partners in San Juan Trading Post, a new business that opened in Pagosa Springs in October of 2013. Parents Tom and Ellen live in Pagosa and develop properties there. Son Ryan was managing a pawn shop in Ohio. When Tom and Ellen looked around, they realized there wasn’t a pawn shop in Pagosa and thought it might be a good place to open one. Ryan

Read More »
Wily Carrot

Kellie Pettyjohn is the proud owner and founder of The Wily Carrot, an organic farm located in Mancos, CO. She came to the lovely Mancos Valley in 2010 via Washington, D.C., to pursue an idyllic lifestyle, work with her hands in the outdoors and become her own boss. Kellie first got her hands dirty when she tended to two acres of vegetables on Dave Banga’s farm in Montezuma County. She interned with him for a

Read More »
Studio B: A Place to “B”

Coworking, or flexspace, is all the rage in the era of remote work. After all, what better way to build professional relationships than by sharing a workspace? But, what if there was a flexspace designed specifically for coaches and therapists? And, what if that coworking space had a full team who could provide mental and physical health services? To make it even better, what if it had a full time administrative assistant who managed all

Read More »
Alpine Medical

Tabitha Zappone loves the conveniences in Pagosa Springs and considers it a “big city with coffee shops and restaurants.” Before moving to Pagosa, she and her husband both worked in a hospital in rural Alaska, in the town of Bethel. He is an Emergency Room nurse and she is a Nurse Practitioner. The two served people from 57 villages. “They would come in on dogsleds, four wheelers or small airplanes. In the winter it would

Read More »