Southwest Discovered

Southwest Discovered (SWD) is a weekly blog/mini e-magazine founded by Amy and Jim Dodson. Their passion for the Southwest, along with a ‘forever tourist’ mindset was inspiration for the website. What began as a personal blog about the region’s cuisine evolved into a business. SWD would detail their road trips and experiences, highlighting their discovery of Southwest culture, people and landscapes through art and story.

When they were transitioning away from the blog in 2015, Amy and Jim presented their vision to the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE). Their hope was to develop SWD under the guidance of business mentors. They were soon selected by SCAPE to go through a business start-up program. As the program commenced, they worked closely with mentors who also were advisors for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

They contacted SBDC to further explore the potential of SWD. Their first contact was Mary Shepherd, whom the couple said was a huge help. Mary provided trademark and copyright resources while also connecting them with the SBDC marketing advisor. She presented an array of pertinent and useful information. Amy and Jim cited how she taught them ways to target the right people from the planning stage and as the business grows. She also shared the importance of time management and creating a work schedule. Burning out on one’s business can happen easily when working to exhaustion, and can also stifle creativity. She was also a sounding board for helping them choose the name ‘Southwest Discovered.’

Amy and Jim took full advantage of SBDC’s advisement and resources. They broadened their business acumen, having learned terms such as value propositions and financial projections, and were taught how to merge business vocabulary with the accumulated knowledge from their artist backgrounds. There were also in-depth discussions and evaluations with advisors in one-on-one settings. Amy and Jim came prepared with a load of questions and much use of dry erase boards. As visual people, drawing and writing concepts on the boards was a useful method to process and discuss appropriate business strategy.

Amy and Jim are genuinely grateful for all SBDC provided. They believe SBDC wanted them to be successful and for them obtain their dreams. They would not hesitate to reach out to SBDC again. For entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, Amy and Jim believe writing out a mission statement is essential. The mission statement defines who you are as a business and keeps you on target as to what you want to accomplish. Having that understanding makes it easier to communicate goals to business advisors. The Dodsons also suggested entrepreneurs write down ideas as they come to mind and ask a lot of questions. No question is too insignificant. Ideas can provide great value and efficiency. There is a mental letdown when a good idea is forgotten.

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

Read More »
Turquoise Raven Gallery: An Unkindness among the Artists

Paintings. Collages. Mosaics. Photography. Glasswork. Drawings. Walking Sticks. Books. Jewelry. Leatherwork. Pottery. These are all things that ignite Mary Fuller’s passion for art. For years, she’s had a vision of bringing artists from the Four Corners together into dedicated fine art gallery. In 2020, after various careers in both the education and nonprofit sector, she decided that it was time to make her dream a reality. Being a former teacher, Mary understood the value of

Read More »
Durango Diner: Taking on a New Type of Adventure

Last year, while quarantined in his basement, Greg Mauger had an epiphany. He was bored stiff, and he realized that he would rather work himself to death than be that bored. So, after more than a decade of working off and on at the Durango Diner, he decided to buy it. He began looking for funding and quickly realized that his adventurous lifestyle didn’t lend itself to easy loan approval from banks. He looked for

Read More »
Desert Sun Coffee Company: Making the World a Better Place

Durango has seen its fair share of coffee shops and roasteries. So, what makes Desert Sun Coffee Roasters any different from the others? New owner Zachary Ray says it best, “At Desert Sun, we’re committed to relationships with our small-scale farmer partners. We work directly with them on environmental initiatives, supporting: regenerative-organic practices, reforestation projects, and tracking and rewarding carbon sequestration in their fields. This relationship-focused model guarantees the highest quality sustainable coffee on the

Read More »
Coffee Bear Silverton

Who doesn’t love a nice cup o’ joe in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Since 2016, Coffee Bear has provided countless cups of coffee and memorable experiences for locals, tourists, and everyone in between. Holly and Sophie were working as baristas at the coffee shop when it went up for sale. After serious consideration, they decided that it “just felt right to buy it together.” Despite the craziness of 2020, Holly and Sophie persisted in

Read More »
BC Signs, LLC

“I remember the first time I met Joe Keck, I was huddled by a wood stove in a 4,000 square foot building accompanied by a meager video inventory and a vinyl cutter”, said Bryce Capron, on meeting Joe in at his place of business in Dove Creek. He sat next to the fire with me and we talked. “It was my first contact with a resource that I value and rely on to this day.”

Read More »
Skip to content