Rivendell Education Center

Arawyn Madu taught toddlers for nine years before deciding to open her own center. Three of those were at the Campbell Center at Fort Lewis College. She attended night school for seven years to accumulate the credits required to become a Director of an Early Childhood Education Center in the State of Colorado.

When she had the state requirements satisfied, she took the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs Class, “to learn the business side,” she explains.

Her comprehensive and well-thought out Business Plan earned her Third Place among graduates who started the class in January of 2014. One of the most valuable skills she learned was how to budget. “Balancing income with expenses, saving for payroll taxes and understanding what it realistically costs to be in business were huge!”

Included in the equation was the need to shop around for locations to lease where the square foot price was affordable. Then, she determined what her monthly fee per student would be and how many she needed to cover overhead, salaries, etc. The class also emphasized the importance of hiring an agency to handle payroll, taxes, and file reports – something she finds invaluable. “It’s one less thing I have to worry about.”

The Market Research section of the course encouraged her to examine local competition and what they were charging. She gained a good perspective on what the market would bare and calculated a competitive price for the quality service she would offer. The research also confirmed that there was room in the market for another center offering services to children six weeks to 36 months.

Formulating a Mission Statement and business philosophy were integral in her success. “I knew what my heart wanted to do, but I had to look at the numbers to know if I could actually create my dream. I could have opened two years earlier but I took the class because I wanted to do it right so I would succeed.”

Arawyn marketed her new school through ads in the Herald and “a useful and interactive webpage and Facebook page. I posted flyers and told friends. This is really a word of mouth community,” she explains.
After graduation, she also met with advisor, Tom Holcomb who reviewed her budget and projections. “He found a glitch that could have been devastating if it had not been discovered. It was so helpful to have another set of eyes on the numbers.”

Rivendell Early Education Center has been open since August 3, 2015. Arawyn says “the most exciting part is getting to implement my ideas and policies and incorporate things I learned in nine years of teaching.”
The Center now employs four full-time and three part-time teachers and “runs smoothly.”

Spire Physical Therapy & Wellness

“I want my clients to own their health, empower them to take charge, help them learn, take ownership of their bodies and do what they love.” That is a quote from Jacki Gilpin. She is the owner of Spire Physical Therapy and Wellness, located in Cortez, CO. She chose to leave her previous job as a staff therapist as the clinic’s primary focus was on the bottom line. The structure emphasized billing more each visit

Read More »
Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch

            Garry and Ming Adams created Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, a luxurious boutique guest ranch, in Cortez.  When Garry purchased the land in the beautiful McElmo Canyon in 2006, the three dwellings on the property were uninhabitable.  Their goal was to stay true to the land’s western heritage and create a working guest ranch.  Guests would stay in comfortable remodeled houses, part take in the raising of livestock, be offered organically raised foods

Read More »
Chimayo

Michael Lutfy and his wife, Biergitte, did research for years before they purchased, renovated and opened the Chimayo Restaurant on Main Avenue in Durango. Michael started working in his Uncle’s restaurant when he was 12 years old. He worked his way through college as a chef, and then worked as an Executive Chef for a large restaurant in downtown Los Angeles for many years. Desiring to change careers and become a writer, and then an

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 »
Bookcase and Barber

The Bookcase and the Barber celebrated their six-month anniversary on June 5, 2016. Without even realizing it, Partners Beau Black and Thomas Gibson, opened their “speakeasy” drinking establishment on December 5. In 1933, on that date the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was ratified that repealed prohibition. The partners modeled their business after those in the era of prohibition. Thus, when you walk into the barbershop, you enter the “speakeasy” through a secret door disguised

Read More »
Durango Lawns: Keeping Durango Green

Some people adore yard work. Others prefer to leave their lawn care to the experts, so they have the freedom to go play. It is on this principle that Durango Lawns was founded. Although he is an electrician by trade, Pat Cass spent many of his early years working in lawn maintenance. He enjoys working outdoors and staying physically active, and for years, he dreamed of starting his own lawn company. Finally in 2019, he

Read More »
Skip to content