Cortez Cab

Ed Gilbert saw a niche that needed to be filled and filled it. The existing public transportation system in Cortez was very limited. There was no “on demand private system”, so he started one. He is now approaching his second busy season and the business keeps growing.

Gilbert, who had never owned a business, took the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs class twice – once in Cortez in the fall of 2011 and again in the spring of 2012 in Durango. “The second time, I did a Feasibility Study to determine if I had a viable business. This helped me gain enough information to put the business plan together.”

He learned about Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheets and Financial Projections. Through the help of the SBDC, he also learned about lots of resources that opened doors. Gilbert acquired a Region 9 Economic Development loan and help from First National Bank for start-up costs, because of his thorough business plan.

“The SBDC advisors and Joe Keck really steer you in the right direction. I would never be as far along as I am today if I were doing this on my own,” explains Gilbert.

Gilbert was doing research to start a non-emergent medical transport company when the Cortez Chamber asked him to start a private service to help individuals and businesses. His company now provides transportation all over Montezuma and Dolores Counties and provides transportation to La Plata and San Miguel counties.

His fleet consists of 4 taxis, 2 vans and 2 sedans, with plans for future growth. Gilbert keeps very detailed records, gathers data and watches statistics to measure the business. “There is really no other place like Cortez, so it’s hard to learn from other companies to make predictions. We are watching our own numbers and the business is growing steadily.”

One of the biggest challenges Gilbert “didn’t see coming” was finding and keeping good employees. Running a 24/7 transportation business, he has put in many more hours than expected. “Summer season is busier at night, with people attending parties and being out more. Requests for transportation to the Cortez airport are picking up as well as rides from the airport to Telluride and Durango.

He recently acquired a contract from Southwest Memorial Hospital to drive people home that don’t need to go in an ambulance. His future plans also include offering set routes and set schedules, reducing transportation costs to individuals.

Gilbert is extremely grateful for all he learned in the classes and for the help he got from Joe Keck and the instructors at other seminars he has attended.

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

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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

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Soundscapes International

By Malia Durbano Ross Barrable an acoustic sculptor attended the Leading Edge for Entrepreneur’s Class offered by the SBDC in the winter of 2010 because, “I wanted to learn about business and branding and how to market my wind harps.” Barrable doesn’t have a store front and recognizes that most of the sales for his high ticket items come by building relationships with potential clients. Barrable creates, “Contemporary sound sculptures, or wind harps, fabricated out

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Waxed

Jenna Morrison was the first employee for the full body waxing salon, Waxed, when the business opened three years ago. She was also the first person to make an offer to purchase the business when her employer, Lindsay, planned to put Waxed up for sale. Jenna, an esthetician, was a skilled and knowledgeable employee who understood all the services Waxed provided and knew the clientele. Lindsay fancied the idea of passing the ownerships reigns to

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River Rim Teardrop Trailers

By Malia Durbano Tim Rossiter and his wife Peg, love to camp and hike. They bought a cargo trailer and turned it into a camper. In researching their design, they discovered a “big movement for people who wanted a small footprint.” In March of 2013, they started researching and planning a design for a teardrop camper. Their vision was to create a custom product with quality materials and craftsmanship. The Rossiters met with Joe Keck

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Covenant Drug Testing

Sheila Owens and her son Brandon were handed the unique opportunity of taking over an existing business – kind of. They both worked for a drug & alcohol testing company in Cortez – Sheila for eight years and her son for seven. They enjoyed their jobs and the relationships they had with clients all over the country. BUT… the company they worked for was closing their doors with only two months’ notice to the employees.

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