Covenant Drug Testing

Sheila Owens and her son Brandon were handed the unique opportunity of taking over an existing business – kind of. They both worked for a drug & alcohol testing company in Cortez – Sheila for eight years and her son for seven. They enjoyed their jobs and the relationships they had with clients all over the country.

BUT… the company they worked for was closing their doors with only two months’ notice to the employees. As they were calling their clients to notify them that the business was closing, they also had the opportunity to say, “We’re opening our own business to provide the same service under a new name. We received an overwhelmingly positive response,” Sheila explained.

The companies they serve are mostly Department of Transportation clients who must have a random drug and alcohol testing program in place to stay in compliance with DOT safety procedures. However, more and more Non-DOT companies are choosing to enter into drug and alcohol testing programs and they manage those as well. Their former employer closed on March 31 and they opened their new business, Covenant Drug & Alcohol Testing, LLC on April First. Sheila laughs, “We were really brave to open on April Fool’s Day, but we didn’t have a choice!”

She can’t rave enough about what a huge asset Advisor Joe Keck was to them. They had never owned a business and didn’t know the first thing about a business plan, but they had an already existing customer base of 250 clients who transferred over with them
.
Sheila said, “Joe Keck came to our office and asked us lots of questions and took lots of notes. He asked more questions and helped us write reports.” They worked together on spreadsheets and documents needed to get a loan through the Region 9 Economic Development Alliance. As a brand new business, they needed new equipment and expensive customized programs and QuickBooks. They wanted to rent the same building since that’s where clients were used to finding them.

“Many times, we would work all day in our existing jobs, then work all night compiling the information Joe told us we needed for the loan. He broke it down into manageable sections. We’d get a few things done, then he’d give us more homework. We were on a very tight deadline due to the Region 9 meeting schedule,” Sheila shared. She explained how usually writing a business plan can take months and they had just nine days to get it done.

“Joe Keck was an amazing asset. Without him, we wouldn’t have known where to start. He held our hands through the entire process.” Keck was familiar with the Region 9 application and encouraged them to provide more detailed information in sections he knew were important.

Sheila can’t say enough about how much she appreciated the help from Joe Keck. “He was very encouraging and made himself available at all times to keep the process going. He checked in with us afterwards and congratulated us on our success.”

Finn’s Wurst Sausage

            Greg and Finn Hopkins are a father and son team that created Finn’s Wurst Sausage.  Finn came up with the idea to sell authentic German bratwurst from a New York City styled hot dog cart during a brainstorming session with his dad.  The purpose of the business is to advance Finn from employee to owner.  Finn is autistic.  His experience in the food service industry has been as a dishwasher, prep cook and busser. 

Read More »
Watikuh Assistive Technology

‘Watikuh’ is a Hopi word which means to run for it.  The word is also found in the name of Kayla Hefner’s business, Watikuh Assistive Technology Services (WATS).  Kayla stated, “starting a new business is any environment is tough.  But starting a business in physical, emotional and mental chaos, and having a vision at the same time is overwhelming.”  What did Kayla do?  She went for it. For seventeen years, Kayla was a partner and

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 »
Soundscapes International

By Malia Durbano Ross Barrable an acoustic sculptor attended the Leading Edge for Entrepreneur’s Class offered by the SBDC in the winter of 2010 because, “I wanted to learn about business and branding and how to market my wind harps.” Barrable doesn’t have a store front and recognizes that most of the sales for his high ticket items come by building relationships with potential clients. Barrable creates, “Contemporary sound sculptures, or wind harps, fabricated out

Read More »
Bountiful Ridge Farms

Rick Goodall is a second-generation farmer in Arriola, CO, whose family grew apples and raised livestock. He married Gerrie twenty-two years ago. That’s when Gerrie was first introduced to farming. While expecting their second child, Gerrie chose to stay at home to raise the children, but the tradeoff was the loss of a second income. Gerrie considered her options and decided to plant a garden. Her first harvest was plentiful, yet it yielded a tremendous

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 »