Create Art & Tea

What happens when an entrepreneur envisions a grass roots movement centered around tea and art?  Create Tea & Art (CT&A) of course!  Caprice Fox is building community by combining the comfort and health aspects of tea with a gathering space for local artists and their hand-crafted works.  Caprice said, “People enjoy having tea to come to with the art.  There is an enjoyment of the social aspect.  I’m still learning how to combine them.”  To keep CT&A sustainable, Caprice reached out to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Fort Lewis College.  Caprice took over lease when the previous owner moved out of state.  She first inquired with the Women’s Resource Center.  “I asked, ‘How do I become a small business owner?’”  They recommended SBDC.  Caprice went to the SBDC website, read through their information and scheduled an appointment online.  “It was very efficient.” 

Caprice met with Mary Shepherd, the SBDC Deputy Director for the Southwest Colorado region.  “Mary was over the top with ideas.  She suggested I learn QuickBooks (QB) and consider areas to focus on like how to classify my business and register it with the Colorado Secretary of State, create a vision and business plan, and mentioned different ways to market myself.”  CT&A was Caprice’s first retail business.  She said Mary provided great council and looked to her as a mentor.  “Mary wants to help people.  She even came into the shop and looked things over.  I thought that was going above and beyond.” 

Caprice did attend the SBDC sponsored ‘Starting Your Business’ seminar at the Durango Public Library.  This is a setting in which professionals from numerous backgrounds introduce and address entrepreneurs on proper business procedures.  Caprice followed that with another SBDC program on QuickBooks.  “The QB class was great for me to see where my expenses go and where bank records get recognized.  It also has a profit and loss statement.  This is a way for me to overview what I need to do for next year while I maintain good financial records.”  For those seeking help with SBDC, they allow two personal meetings with advisors at no charge.  Caprice chose to meet with accounting advisor and QB class instructor Laura Hokanson.   

Caprice opened CT&A on Memorial Day and had her grand opening August 17th.  When I took over in May there wasn’t much in the shop.  I had to paint, add furniture and bring in artwork.  I had a tea bar built over the summer.  The Chamber of Commerce had a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for me and the store was filled with people and artists.  Mary and SBDC are the reason I got into my business with confidence.  Without guidelines of where to focus my energy I wouldn’t have known where to put my energies.  Personally, the business is a big adventure.  I recommend people jump in, go for it, and do their best.  This is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

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 »
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 »
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.

Read More »
Cortez Cab

Ed Gilbert saw a niche that needed to be filled and filled it. The existing public transportation system in Cortez was very limited. There was no “on demand private system”, so he started one. He is now approaching his second busy season and the business keeps growing. Gilbert, who had never owned a business, took the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs class twice – once in Cortez in the fall of 2011 and again in the

Read More »
The Vault

Donnis Dolso and her partner Logan Noonan offer both group and private exercise sessions and classes at The Vault from 6:00 am until 6:30 pm six days a week! The specialized gym offers circuit training, cardio and strength training, agility and mobility exercises and weight training in a class environment or one-on-one personal training. Donnis explains, “We fit a lot in a one hour session.” Other equipment available includes free weights, a pull-up bar, rowing

Read More »
Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center

Amy Long purchased Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center sixteen years ago. Por Dia is licensed to serve up to 60 children. They offer daily preschool, toddler care, and before/after school care. Long approached Joe Keck for help in expanding her Toddler program. Beginning in August of 2011, they worked together for six to eight months. “Joe personally came by my business to consult with me, and we met at the SBDC office at the

Read More »