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.”

Mesa Verde Motorsports

Entrepreneurial blood runs through Jason Spruell’s veins.  His grandparents opened Gene Patton Motor Company in Cortez, CO back in 1970.  The business sold motorcycles, off-road vehicles, snow mobiles and snowblowers.  They also had a service shop.  Jason’s parents, Kelly and Dennis, currently own and operate Cortez Animal Bed & Breakfast which they opened twenty-five years ago.  His brother opened a glass shop six years ago.  “Everyone in the family ran a business,” Jason explained.  “I worked at my grandparents’ shop when I

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 »
Enterprise Bar & Grill

Have you heard the story about the entrepreneur who bought a business because she was looking for a job?  Seriously.  She bought a bar and grill in Rico, CO, with no previous business experience.  A year and a half into it she sought assistance from the Small Business Development Center.  This woman took a class designed for entrepreneurs, implemented the suggested practices, became business savvy, and now has a goal to buy the property her bar and grill operates

Read More »
WeFill

“We are here to care for the future generations of all species.” That is a bold statement. It happens to be the motto for Durango’s newest business, WeFill. Forward thinking owner and biologist Cristin Salaz created her business model to be a part of the pollution solution. WeFill is a refilling station for household and personal care products: dish soaps, household cleaners (all purpose, laundry, toilets and drains), castile soaps, shampoo and conditioning bars, and

Read More »
Pagosa Secure Storage

“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” Tim Sullivan stated that when he summarized he and his wife’s (Lorri) journey towards owning Pagosa Secure Storage. Tim had been involved in several endeavors to build or buy his own storage facility for the past ten years. Due to circumstances involving financing, zoning, limitations to expand an existing property or it being too expensive, the right deal never presented itself. Tim did

Read More »
Ignited Imagery

In 2006, La Plata County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Wingerd received a simple gift. It was a six megapixel camera from his mother. Little did he know that it would change his life. He started taking photographs, and several of them sold in a gallery in Bisbee, Arizona. He became obsessed. For the next ten years, he continued taking photos and videos and practiced editing them. In 2014, Ignited Imagery was born. He worked at the

Read More »