Alpine Medical

Tabitha Zappone loves the conveniences in Pagosa Springs and considers it a “big city with coffee shops and restaurants.” Before moving to Pagosa, she and her husband both worked in a hospital in rural Alaska, in the town of Bethel. He is an Emergency Room nurse and she is a Nurse Practitioner. The two served people from 57 villages. “They would come in on dogsleds, four wheelers or small airplanes. In the winter it would get to 60 degrees below zero and would be absolutely dangerous to go outside.”

They went to Alaska because the salaries there would help them pay off her husband’s nursing school loans quickly. But they couldn’t wait to get back to Colorado. “These winters are nothing compared to up there,” she says. Tabitha attended the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and then lived in Durango before heading to Bethel.

They returned to Pagosa because they really like the community and her parents are there. Tabitha had worked for a small practice in Pagosa, then a clinic in Alamosa. She decided to open her own practice to “get back home and to offer additional services.” She enjoys offering specialty aesthetics and cosmetic services that provide instant gratification to her clients.

She explains, “I know medicine, but don’t know how to run a business. I’ve always worked for other Clinics and for the Pagosa Medical Center.” She was referred to the SBDC and worked with advisor Rich Lindblad, who also lives in Pagosa. They met and Tabitha shared her vision for the clinic she’d like to open. When he said, “Sure we can make that happen!” she was so relieved.

He gave her homework which was to put her ideas into a business plan using the Business Model Canvas template. After several meetings, the plan was complete and ready to present to the bank for a small business loan. “Thanks to Rich, the plan was very thorough, the process went smoothly and I got approved for the SBA loan from First Southwest Bank.” She also got a loan from the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation.

“I was so nervous and unsure if I could really create a successful business. Having Rich there for support and guidance made all the difference in the world. It might not have happened without him.”

She has been very fortunate in this educational journey. After the first location fell through, her mother suggested another location. The space had to built- out to suit her needs – an expense she thought she couldn’t afford. When she met with the owner they both realized that he had been a former patient. He offered to customize the space for her at his own expense explaining, “We miss you and we want you back here.”

Alpine Medical and Specialties officially opened their doors on March 14, 2016. She is thrilled that former clients remember her and are happy she’s back.
“Earning the trust of my patients and building a good rapport is really important to me. They become like my family.”

Her on-going relationship and the mentorship of Rich Lindblad also created a deep friendship that she values. “It’s an emotionally raw experience going out on your own and with a new baby. Having Rich to walk me through the process with reassurance was invaluable.”

Tabitha chose this photo because, “When I am not working I am outside, hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing, you name it.”

Botanical Concepts

Botanical Concepts Garden Center (BCGC) is 1.3 miles east of north Main Avenue, at the intersection of County Roads 251 & 250. Janine Collins loves this location. She is the owner, and botanist, of BCGC. Janine views BCGC as a community where people come to immerse with nature. “I’m in a place where I am a part of the bigger picture.” Janine’s passion for botany began when she was an archeologist. She had more interest

Read More »
The Wine Merchant

By Malia Durbano Eric Allen and Lesley Ponce needed some expert advice as situations in their business changed. They were moving from their location next door to Nature’s Oasis to their current location, next to the VFW at 1514 Main Avenue in Durango. Ponce who had been employed by The Wine Merchant for 10 years, would become a partner after the move. Allen explains, “I had some questions about how to structure a lease. I

Read More »
Given’ Home Health

By Malia Durbano Sandra Shepherd didn’t set out to own a Home Health agency. But “now I feel like it is where I’ve been headed all my life,” she shared. She and her husband owned a construction company when he got cancer. This was her first experience at home health. She graduated from nursing school and was working in a Rehab Unit, when her teen-age son had a stroke. Driving him to appointments in Albuquerque

Read More »
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

Read More »
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 »
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 »