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.

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