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.

The Vault

Donnis Dolso and her partner Logan Noonan offer both group and private exercise sessions and classes at The Vault from 6:00 am until 6:30 pm six days a week! The specialized gym offers circuit training, cardio and strength training, agility and mobility exercises and weight training in a class environment or one-on-one personal training. Donnis explains, “We fit a lot in a one hour session.” Other equipment available includes free weights, a pull-up bar, rowing

Read More »
Out West Saddlery

By Malia Durbano Out West Saddlery owner Terri Beecher knew advisor Rich Lindblad since they both live in Pagosa. She contacted him for some advice.While most businesses contact the SBDC for help with getting started or growing, Terri had a different problem. After several visits, Rich concluded that the business had great potential for growth. However, Terri explained what a hard time they had finding good help. She and her husband had built a wonderful,

Read More »
Enterprise Bar & Grill

Have you heard the story about the entrepreneur who bought a business because she was looking for a job?  Seriously.  She bought a bar and grill in Rico, CO, with no previous business experience.  A year and a half into it she sought assistance from the Small Business Development Center.  This woman took a class designed for entrepreneurs, implemented the suggested practices, became business savvy, and now has a goal to buy the property her bar and grill operates

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 »
The Wine Merchant

By Malia Durbano Eric Allen and Lesley Ponce needed some expert advice as situations in their business changed. They were moving from their location next door to Nature’s Oasis to their current location, next to the VFW at 1514 Main Avenue in Durango. Ponce who had been employed by The Wine Merchant for 10 years, would become a partner after the move. Allen explains, “I had some questions about how to structure a lease. I

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 »