Choke Cherry Tree

By Malia Durbano

Jenelle Syverson got hired at the Choke Cherry Tree as a temporary employee for the Christmas season of 2003. Still an employee, the opportunity arose for her to purchase the business in January of 2014.

She loved the store and the customers, and had learned a great deal, but her Associates Degree in Micro- Computer Support from Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, didn’t prepare her for owning a retail business.

Choke Cherry Tree, a gourmet specialty foods store features homemade caramels, toffees, jams, jellies, sauces and salsas. Their signature Vinaigrette is made with the Choke Cherries that grow wild in Pagosa Springs. Jenelle carries scone mixes, dips, soup mixes, specialty olive oils, kitchen gadgets and gift baskets.

Jenelle contacted Joe Keck for help. She asked him if it was a good idea for her to buy the business, what problems needed to be addressed and how much was it worth? Joe invited Rich Lindblad to work with them to answer those questions.

The team went through the taxes and expense reports to determine a fair market value for the business. They analyzed expenses and profit margins and made suggestions. The most valuable information Jenelle feels she gained was, “Determining a reasonable cost for the business and having an accurate assessment of the financials. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t know where you are starting.”

The business which relies primarily on tourism, was located on the far west side of Pagosa. Jenelle moved to a new location in the strip mall behind McDonalds, across from City Market on May 23, this year. The home made delicacies are also very tempting for the residents of the nearby Wyndham Resort . Jenelle appreciates her many local repeat customers who also bring out of town guests in looking for souvenirs to bring home.

Rich Lindblad attended the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting performed by the Pagosa Chamber on June 21. Rich assisted Jenelle in choosing her the new location which is larger and more efficient – “allowing more than two people to be in the kitchen at the same time.” The large kitchen affords her increased production and saved her money by eliminating the storage unit which was off-site.

The new location providing so many benefits is at 56 Talisman Drive # 8C. Stop in to say Hi and have some free samples of the homemade goodies! Jenelle is very friendly and welcoming.

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

Read More »
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 »
WeFill

“We are here to care for the future generations of all species.” That is a bold statement. It happens to be the motto for Durango’s newest business, WeFill. Forward thinking owner and biologist Cristin Salaz created her business model to be a part of the pollution solution. WeFill is a refilling station for household and personal care products: dish soaps, household cleaners (all purpose, laundry, toilets and drains), castile soaps, shampoo and conditioning bars, and

Read More »
Ski and Bow Rack

Larry Fisher greeted every customer as if they were long-lost relatives. For thirty-three years he welcomed people in the Ski and Bow Rack—until late one night, Larry confronted an intruder, who shot and killed him in his shop. His daughter, Brittany Bedtke, who worked for Pagosa’s Emergency Medical Services, knew it was her father the moment the call came in. The loss of her father hit her like a train. But on top of that,

Read More »
Rock Lounge

Marcus Garcia has been the owner of the Rock Lounge (RL), an indoor climbing gym in Durango, since 2014. Marcus had transitioned from being a RL employee, a rock climbing guide, and owner of a small construction company before then. The RL was profitable in his first year, yet he thought there was more potential to be realized. Marcus had sent his business manager to a locally sponsored event which introduced them to the Small

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 »