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.

Summit Ridge Wood Designs

Tobie Beneli and Lin Grady of Summit Ridge Wood Design (SRWD) shifted their business focus from custom woodworking jobs including commercial and residential cabinetry to primarily building caskets. In 1997, Tobie’s relative passed away. The deceased’s immediate family called and asked Tobie to build a casket. The funeral home would not sell them one because they had an outstanding bill and the director suggested the family make one. Tobie acquired the specific dimensions needed and

Read More »
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

Read More »
Fast Signs

By Christine Rasmussen When Durango-based Fast Signs owner Laurie Sigillito asked SBDC Director Joe Keck if he could spare an hour to offer feedback on an upcoming sales presentation, Keck had a better idea: Why not have a panel of advisors from the Business Advisors Network listen to her pitch? The Business Advisors Network (BAN) is comprised of 25 business counselors with wide and varied areas of expertise. Clients can meet individually with an advisor

Read More »
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.

Read More »
River Rim Teardrop Trailers

By Malia Durbano Tim Rossiter and his wife Peg, love to camp and hike. They bought a cargo trailer and turned it into a camper. In researching their design, they discovered a “big movement for people who wanted a small footprint.” In March of 2013, they started researching and planning a design for a teardrop camper. Their vision was to create a custom product with quality materials and craftsmanship. The Rossiters met with Joe Keck

Read More »
Pathways Physical Therapy

Cindy Schmidt has been a physical therapist (PT) for over twenty years and had worked over a decade in Grand Junction in various traditional settings.  At the same time, Cindy created her own part-time holistic PT practice and founded a non-profit organization to support holistic health care practices and improve communication amongst holistic and conventional practitioners.  She accomplished that with the assistance of the regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Cindy moved to Durango in November of

Read More »