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 Business Development Center (SBDC) at Fort Lewis College. SBDC is a free resource for entrepreneurs wanting to start, grow or sustain their business. Marcus contacted SBDC and was put in touch with Carl Malmberg, an advisor whose specialty is business operations. Carl instructed Marcus to create a profit/loss system to find where the RL made and lost money. In addition, Carl provided insight and structure on financial costs and overhead projections. Marcus saw positive gains over the course of that first year into the next two years. “Carl helped me understand how the business worked and what made this business unique.”

In March 2017, the property owners sold the building where the RL was located and they had to be out by the end of April. Marcus contacted Region 9 (a non-profit that promotes economic development in southwest Colorado) for a small business loan, but was rejected. This left him unsure of how to proceed. He reached out to Carl for guidance. Carl contacted Region 9 on his behalf and learned Marcus would need to provide a sales forecast for the next three years to show future profit. Since the RL was profitable during Marcus’ three years as owner, Carl gave instruction on how to create a financial spreadsheet which would provide the details Region 9 wanted.

During this time, Marcus had friends who had offered him a building location to relocate the RL. The loan Marcus had applied for would be for interior reconstruction. As the building codes and requirements were being sorted out, Carl spoke directly with the loan officer to justify RL’s business model and explain their financial projections. Marcus said Carl’s involvement was an important reason the loan was secured in November 2017. Construction soon began with the help of Marcus’ friends and members of the community. The RL reopened in February 2018.

“I learned the importance on how to account for all expenses, including the small ones. From the cost of a computer servicing, paper towels, to knowing the exact point of sale that comes from the swipe of a card.” Due to the loss of time between closure to reopening, the RL is not yet where it was financially from early 2017. “We have been reaching out to the community to let them know our new location (111 East 30th St., Durango). I want the RL to be a climbing community center and a place where the youth of Durango can find who they are through climbing.”

Marcus will revisit SBDC at six months’ time from the reopening to review the financial information and stay on course with the projections. The RL currently has one full time and six part-time employees. His present focus is to raise $120,000 to expand by constructing a rope climbing area. “SBDC being free to the public was the biggest thing for me. They helped get me in the right direction and guided me along the way.”

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.

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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

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Durango Running Company

Durango Running Company owner, Brett Sublett had lots of experience in the outdoor retail and athletic shoe industries but had never owned his own store. Sublett had managed Your Running Store for four years and then became the footwear buyer at Back Country Experience for three years. He also knew a lot about running and running shoes since he Coached Cross Country at Fort Lewis. When Sublett decided he wanted his own store, he contacted

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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

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MUNIRevs

by Malia Durbano As the Finance Director for Mountain Village in Telluride, Erin Neer saw gaps in the government accounting system that she thought she could fix. “Technology in government systems hasn’t evolved as quickly as it had in the private sector,” she deduced. Neer believed she could provide these services best from the vantage point of an entrepreneur, so she started her own business, headquartered in Dolores, CO. As the previous owner of Anytime

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High Desert Conservation District

The High Desert Conservation District is one of 76 special Districts throughout Colorado formed for specific purposes. Started in 1942 as the Dolores Soil Conservation District, the name was recently changed. “Our name didn’t accurately describe the area we serve and was very confusing to the public,” explains District Manager, Judy Garrigues. Garrigues explained how the SBDC assisted in the name change. “We do not just serve Dolores and we oversee more than just soil.

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