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.”

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

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Choke Cherry Tree

By Malia Durbano Jenelle Syverson got hired at the Choke Cherry Tree as a temporary employee for the Christmas season of 2003. Still an employee, the opportunity arose for her to purchase the business in January of 2014. She loved the store and the customers, and had learned a great deal, but her Associates Degree in Micro- Computer Support from Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, didn’t prepare her for owning a retail business.

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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

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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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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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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

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