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.

Toast Mobile Lounge

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Gleason Bison: Raising Bison

In 2010, Sarah Gleason discovered that she wanted to raise bison. She was living in Durango and working as a marketing assistant for Zuke’s (yes, the dog treat company), and she became interested in agriculture and livestock. “I visited a bunch of bison operations,” she says, “and I was hooked.” Throughout the process, she discovered holistic management, which is a decision-making framework that works in sync with nature to raise animals in a way that

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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.

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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

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Sunnyside Farms

By Malia Durbano When Holly Zink decided to open her fresh, local and organic meat and seafood business in 2002, she called Joe Keck to learn how to set up a corporation and to “make sure all my bases were covered.” When she moved to her new location inside of Nature’s Oasis in 2007, she realized there were some issues and difficulties with profitability. In 2008, she and her husband, Jesse Villanueba, attended the NxLevel

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Watikuh Assistive Technology

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