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 wondered what was typical and what other ways there are to do things. I also had some marketing questions for Joe Keck. I had some good ideas but I wanted to bounce them off of an expert.”They consulted with Advisor Terryl Peterson regarding structuring the partnership agreement and analyzing the financials. Ponce said, “I wanted Peterson’s advice on what to look for in the financial records to make sure everything was balanced and that there would be a smooth transition.”

Peterson also helped Ponce understand the nuts and bolts of running a business. “I wanted to feel confident reading the financial reports, filing sales tax, understanding Profit and Loss statements, overhead, cash flow and profit margins.” Ponce has over 25 years of experience in the wine industry and had worked for wineries, made wine and was a sommelier, but “running a retail establishment is different.”

Peterson also put Ponce in touch with Region 9 to secure financing to buy into the business. Ponce also took classes in Quick Books.

Allen is grateful for the expert advice they received in areas we were not familiar with. “We’re wine people. They have the expertise in all areas of business and are a great resource to have in the community.”

Ponce is also very appreciative of the knowledge she gained from Terryl Peterson and “I can’t wait to learn 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 »
Four Corners Guides

Lizzy Scully, CEO, and Steve Fassbinder, Head Bikeraft Guide, co-founded Four Corners Guides, a multi-sport guide service (bikepacking, packrafting and bikerafting), headquartered in Mancos, CO.  This dynamic pair incorporated their passion for adventure with the natural wonder of the Four Corners area to offer guided tours and upscale camping experiences (referred to as glamping, glamourous camping) at their Scullbinder Ranch.             Lizzy and Steve first shared their dreams with each other about teaming up to

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 »
DaLe Llama Bike Tours

Tony Martin’s business is to go downhill – fast!  His business, DaLe Llama Bike Tours (DLBT), is trending uphill, but their passion is to take people down hills and mountain sides.  DaLe is a play on words for a Spanish phrase meaning “let it rip,” and “go for it.”  Tony leads mountain bike tours to Ecuador for big descents as they ride downhill and single track.  DLBT’s purpose is to shred sick trails, stimulate local economy and share culture.

Read More »
Sunnyside Farms

By Malia Durbano When Holly Zink decided to open her fresh, local and organic meat and seafood business in 2002, she called Joe Keck to learn how to set up a corporation and to “make sure all my bases were covered.” When she moved to her new location inside of Nature’s Oasis in 2007, she realized there were some issues and difficulties with profitability. In 2008, she and her husband, Jesse Villanueba, attended the NxLevel

Read More »
Chimayo

Michael Lutfy and his wife, Biergitte, did research for years before they purchased, renovated and opened the Chimayo Restaurant on Main Avenue in Durango. Michael started working in his Uncle’s restaurant when he was 12 years old. He worked his way through college as a chef, and then worked as an Executive Chef for a large restaurant in downtown Los Angeles for many years. Desiring to change careers and become a writer, and then an

Read More »