Higher Grounds

By Malia Durbano

Nicki Alley, owner of Higher Grounds Coffee in Pagosa Springs was “really excited” when she won First Place for the business plan she wrote after attending the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs training.

Although her coffee house, bakery and gift shop had been open since 2004, she wanted “a refresher and to update the business plan”. She will be celebrating her 10th anniversary on August 16th & 17th. The eclectic shop features scarves, mugs, cards and other novelty gift items. Fresh, home-made baked goods cooked on -site complement the delicious coffee.

Included in the new business plan were her projections to remodel and expand the seating. She also purchased a catering trailer to sell at festivals. Nicki recently attended cooking school and will soon be offering cooking classes, tapas and beer and wine. Her future plans also include inviting guest chefs to prepare different varieties of food.

Rich Lindblad is the main advisor Alley works with in an ongoing relationship. She meets with him whenever she has questions and he helps with the financials. Recently, she met with Joe Keck “to go over the books.” They did industry comparisons on shops like Higher Grounds and Joe said, “It’s really doing well.”

Native Roots Garden Center

By Malia Durbano John Wickman, owner of the independent garden center, Native Roots, has a degree in Horticulture, but not one in Business. That is why he approached Joe Keck of the SW Colorado SBDC for some advice on expanding his business. The Garden Center does Landscape Design and Installation with a large retail section for do-it-yourselfers. They grow all their own trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials through their subsidiary, Pine River Plants. Wickman, “Learned

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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

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Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center

Amy Long purchased Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center sixteen years ago. Por Dia is licensed to serve up to 60 children. They offer daily preschool, toddler care, and before/after school care. Long approached Joe Keck for help in expanding her Toddler program. Beginning in August of 2011, they worked together for six to eight months. “Joe personally came by my business to consult with me, and we met at the SBDC office at the

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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

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BOMDIGGITY

David Mallin was eleven years old when he visited Big Thompson Canyon one summer with his family. “I had an epiphany there. I was to share the beauty I saw with the world.” Several months later, as David cut wood for kindling, the shape of a bird was revealed in the wood’s grain. He carved that image from the wood. He soon became an apprentice to Kansas City sculptor Adie Klugman, and his artistic passion

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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

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