Sticks and Stones

While Tim and Micki Hassemer waited for the perfect retail location on Main Ave. to become available, they were lucky enough to secure retail space at the entrance to Four Leaves Winery. During the one-and-a-half years they occupied that space, they met with former SBDC Executive Director, Joe Keck numerous times.

The couple moved here from Los Angeles and Tim chuckles, “It’s a little different here. We had to learn the rules and requirements for doing business in Colorado. Joe helped us navigate the processes to get a permit, a business license and with some accounting details.”

Micki had a background in marketing as the manager of a professional photo lab in Hollywood, CA. Tim ran a gallery where he displayed his custom woodwork products. They secured a Small Business loan through Region 9 Economic Development Alliance that required them to attend the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs Class in the spring to secure a very good interest rate.

Tim explains, “The class was very thorough. It clarified things we were already doing. We identified things we were doing right, things we were doing wrong and things we could do differently.”

Micki adds that, “We were juggling so many things – signing leases, opening the store, gathering consigners, etc. The class served as a focal point once a week where we got to focus and hone in on a different area of the business.”

She was grateful for the personal assistance from Jasper Welch on their web page, the suggestion of starting a marketing calendar and for help with Social Media.

Tim handles the accounting and appreciates Terryl Peterson and Laura Hokanson for sharing their expertise. “Learning about projections was important. Now that we’ve been in business for over a year, we can compare projected to actual and really gauge how we are doing.”

Laura also helped them set up their accounting system in QuickBooks. Tim had learned the system on his own and acknowledges how, “Learning from a real accountant who set it up totally differently was helpful. It makes a whole lot more sense now.”

Their retail location at 734 Main Avenue, which opened in January of this year, features silver jewelry with gem stones made by Micki and gourds, water colors, pottery, hand-made soaps and lotions and other items from 12 local artists. “They are all Durango artists, with one coming from Mancos and one from Aztec.” All items are displayed on beautifully handcrafted wooden tables and display cases created by Tim.

“I don’t like to waste the scraps of wood, so Micki suggested I make earrings out of them. They are some of the biggest sellers in the store,” Tim explains.

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 »
The Earth Girls

By Malia Durbano When Kirsten Gum and Emyrald Sinclair decided to be business partners they both had plenty of experience but still had questions that advisor Tom Holcomb helped them answer. Both women were new to the community and didn’t really know what resources were available or where to start. The partners had to decide what kind of entity they wanted to be. Was it to be a partnership or an LLC? How would they

Read More »
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

Read More »
Bountiful Ridge Farms

Rick Goodall is a second-generation farmer in Arriola, CO, whose family grew apples and raised livestock. He married Gerrie twenty-two years ago. That’s when Gerrie was first introduced to farming. While expecting their second child, Gerrie chose to stay at home to raise the children, but the tradeoff was the loss of a second income. Gerrie considered her options and decided to plant a garden. Her first harvest was plentiful, yet it yielded a tremendous

Read More »
Pura Vida

By Malia Durbano After four years in private practice, Naturopathic Doctor, Nicola St. Mary, decided it was time to pursue her dream of building a cooperative natural healthcare practice. With the vision in mind, she began assembling practitioners to join her and the search for a building. Dr. Nicola contacted Joe Keck to “totally understand the resources that were available.” After talking with Joe and his assistant, Lynn Asano, Dr. Nicola was referred to the

Read More »
James Ranch Grill

Cynthia Stewart’s entrepreneurial story is one that brought her around full circle.   The values instilled in her childhood were reinforced and focused on the establishment of the James Ranch Grill.  Cynthia is the daughter of Kay and David James, the founders of James Ranch, and one of five siblings.  The ranch was established in 1961 in the Animas Valley north of Durango.  As a child, she was taught how to care for animals, as well

Read More »