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 2013 with the thought to take her career in a new direction.  She would continue as a PT, but wanted to work with a different business model.  Would she stay within the traditional setting or plunge into entrepreneurship?  Hospitals and clinics offered good care, but Cindy wanted more time and holistic attention given to her clients.  Cindy was curious if she could launch her own business under a holistic business model.  She knew SBDC had an office in Durango and attended their half day workshop on how to start a business.  That workshop introduced her to SBDC’s Leading Edge (LE) program.  LE is for entrepreneurs who want to learn the intricacies of business and write a complete business plan.

During this transition Cindy recognized the opportunity to open her own business was there.  She believed the Durango community would support her practice.  “I was inspired to do this and see if the LE class could give me a clearer vision.  When the class began, I wasn’t sure which business model to follow.  Would I integrate with other professionals, decide to be a sole practitioner or have employees?”

As the LE program commenced, she preferred topics on marketing and organization as opposed to the financial aspects.  Jasper Welch was one advisor who helped her realize how to best market her business.  He asked her what value would the business offer and what made her stand apart from other physical therapists.  Terryl Peterson was an SBDC financial advisor and one of the class instructors.  “Terryl wrapped my head around financial projections and what was feasible.  A link on SBDC’s website that offered financial spreadsheets was useful as well.”

The LE class also hosted guest speakers to supplement course content.  Representatives from Region 9, a regional non-profit that promotes and coordinates economic development in southwest Colorado, spoke at one class.  Cindy would need a loan to pay for professional development classes, training, and specialized equipment.  She called and connected with Ed Morlan and Jenny Stoller.  “Ed and Jenny walked me through the entire loan process.”  Cindy added, “Without the business plan I wouldn’t have received the loan.”

Cindy decided to practice as a sole practitioner towards the end of the LE program.  She initially shared offices with several professionals three days a week until she opened her own clinic, Pathways Physical Therapy & Holistic Health (PPT&HH) in August of 2014. The following year Cindy was one of the guest speakers for the LE class. “I wanted to share with students the reality of starting a business.  I had to contract jobs, juggle a hectic schedule and work extremely hard until I was able to get it off the ground.”

Cindy added, “To be a business owner it takes a lot of drive and focus.  I work more hours than I did as an employee but am much happier.  Now my focus is on how I can make my practice more sustainable and expand without overworking myself.”  She also revisits the ideas of what she wants PPT&HH to look like in the short and long term.  “I highly recommend SBDC.  I can’t see how I would have accomplished this without their insight and assistance.  I’m extremely grateful I took that leap and there was help available to guide me.  I’m also grateful I didn’t know exactly how hard it would be to start a business in the beginning.”

Aspen Wall Wood

David Sitton and Sean Stafford are the owners of Aspen Wall Wood. I interviewed David for this article, who shared his story of purchasing a timber mill in 2016 and later purchased two other companies. The major factor in the acquisition process was the ability to obtain a loan. That was done with the assistance of Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Durango. David was well established as a Vice President for Skanska, a large

Read More »
Countryside Disposal

Herman Rosas has worked in the trash disposal business in Cortez for twenty years.  He had developed a stellar reputation amongst the customers he served over that span.  In 2016, one disposal company Herman used to work for sold their business to their corporate competitor, which made them the only disposal business in town.  He and his wife, Kim, started to receive calls soon after from former customers.  The people asked them to start their own business.  They were unhappy

Read More »
Toast Mobile Lounge

Carol Clark was an event planner. She coordinated events such as Oktoberfest, the Durango Farmers Market and the Four Corner’s Green Living Expo. With an eye for detail, Carol noticed sizeable crowds but a lack of food vendors to feed them all. This perceived need appeared to be a business opportunity. In 2012, Carol took her idea to pair event planning and mobile food truck services to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Fort

Read More »
Waxed

Jenna Morrison was the first employee for the full body waxing salon, Waxed, when the business opened three years ago. She was also the first person to make an offer to purchase the business when her employer, Lindsay, planned to put Waxed up for sale. Jenna, an esthetician, was a skilled and knowledgeable employee who understood all the services Waxed provided and knew the clientele. Lindsay fancied the idea of passing the ownerships reigns to

Read More »
Cafe Au Play

Kelly Tregillus and her mother-in-law, Liza Tregillus, are the co-founders of Durango Café au Play (DCAP). DCAP is a non-profit organization (NPO) that offers co-working space and childcare for new and expecting parents in a family friendly ‘café’ environment. Parents with young children are provided a space to work, socialize and attend parenting classes. DCAP provides a support system for moms and dads who feel disconnected and isolated at home. Kelly relocated from San Francisco

Read More »
4Corners Riversports

Milt Wiley was a local paddling legend. Even in the 1980s, when whitewater sports were still coming on the scene, everyone in Durango had heard of the Wiley’s. In 1983, he and his daughters opened 4 Corners Riversports (4CRS). Since that time, 4CRS has become Southwest Colorado’s iconic river supply store. With everything from stand up paddle boards (SUPs) to cookstoves to PFDs, the shop supplies river goers with everything they need for their outdoor

Read More »