Earthsense Herbals and Gift Gallery

There is a saying that “if you can dream it, then you can achieve it,” -Zig Ziglar. Lake McCullough is an example of this by turning a hobby into a growing business. Earthsense Herbals and Gift Gallery is a quaint and sunny store located in the heart of downtown Pagosa Springs. Creatively decorated, the store is full of handcrafted items from perfumed soaps, herbal teas and remedies, to silk paintings, porcelain sculptures, greeting cards and plants. All of the items, down to the shelving, wall displays, and labels are all made either by Lake McCullough or her mother, Carolyn McCullough.

“I like making things and always had an interest in plants,” said Lake who began working at an herb store at age 14. But it was after she got a warm reception for her teas and salves sold at the local Farmer’s Market, that Lake began exploring the idea of opening a store front.

“I didn’t know where to start, and that turned out to be a strength,” said Lake. “Because I think if I knew too much, I might not have actually done it.” Lake, who owns the business with her parents, Tom and Carolyn, worked with the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center to research and formalize her plan. Earthsense Herbals opened in May of 2010.

The McCullough’s received start-up funding from the Region 9 Economic Development District and used some technical assistance grant funding for Lake to attend a conference that furthered her knowledge about medicinal plants and herbal medicine. Lake has a Diploma in Herbal Studies and says she continually researches the biochemical properties of plants. She gets annual permits from the Forest Service to harvest certain plants, her favorite being Osha, which helps boost the immune system and fight colds. Many of the plants are ordered because of the quantities needed but all of the store’s herbal products are mixed or made by Lake.

The most popular products vary per time of year. The porcelain and artwork sells in the summer and the gift items offer consistent cash flow. Lake fondly credits her mother with creating all the store displays and the art.

“I always know it will be beautiful, and I don’t have to worry about it,” said Lake. “She may stay more behind the scenes, but she is no less important.”

The biggest surprise for the McCullough’s in running a business has been the lessons learned working with the public.

“We are both introverts and there is a lot of energy needed to constantly interact with people. It is important to be here and explain some of our products and do research for customers with questions,” said Lake. “We want to make sure customers get the best product for their needs.”

Mail orders are a growing part of the business which the McCullough’s estimate as half local residents and half visiting tourists. Though she has had requests to sell her products to other natural food stores, Lake said, “I can barely keep up with my own inventory. I also don’t think I would have as good of results without providing the one-on-one customer service.”

The business has not only weathered the recession but has seen annual growth. As for future plans, offering herb walks, herbal tea blending and silk painting lessons may continue, but the mother/daughter team isn’t sure. “We’ll take each day as it comes and see what happens,” said Carolyn.

Pagosa Verde

Pagosa Verde is the only Public/Private partnership in the State of Colorado for geothermal development. It involves Pagosa Verde, a privately owned business, the United States Department of Energy, the Colorado Energy Office, the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. This unique collaboration also combines technical assistance and funding from the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center and Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado coming together to assist in the development of

Read More »
Durango Diner: Taking on a New Type of Adventure

Last year, while quarantined in his basement, Greg Mauger had an epiphany. He was bored stiff, and he realized that he would rather work himself to death than be that bored. So, after more than a decade of working off and on at the Durango Diner, he decided to buy it. He began looking for funding and quickly realized that his adventurous lifestyle didn’t lend itself to easy loan approval from banks. He looked for

Read More »
Pagosa Secure Storage

“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” Tim Sullivan stated that when he summarized he and his wife’s (Lorri) journey towards owning Pagosa Secure Storage. Tim had been involved in several endeavors to build or buy his own storage facility for the past ten years. Due to circumstances involving financing, zoning, limitations to expand an existing property or it being too expensive, the right deal never presented itself. Tim did

Read More »
Love Untamed Collective

Meg Roberts is the owner of Love Untamed Collective.  She specializes in elopement, wedding and event planning.  Meg first fell in love with the wedding industry back when she was a stylist.  During that time, Meg planned events at home, putting together parties for herself and friends.  Her husband then encouraged her to get into the wedding planning business for herself.  Meg said, “I did.  I started by marketing myself as a bridesmaid for hire.” As her experience grew and creative

Read More »
Botanical Concepts

Botanical Concepts Garden Center (BCGC) is 1.3 miles east of north Main Avenue, at the intersection of County Roads 251 & 250. Janine Collins loves this location. She is the owner, and botanist, of BCGC. Janine views BCGC as a community where people come to immerse with nature. “I’m in a place where I am a part of the bigger picture.” Janine’s passion for botany began when she was an archeologist. She had more interest

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 »