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 multi-national construction group. Ten years ago, Skanska reorganized their business and closed their Cortez office where David was located. The job required him to travel to New York City and Los Angeles on a regular basis, a tremendous amount of time away from home. Sean had worked as a supervisor at a logging mill owned by Dewayne and MaryAnne Findley. In early 2016, the Findley’s were looking to retire and offered to sell their mill to Sean and David. The Findley’s had a reputation for running a stable and good business. David viewed the opportunity as something he would like to take on and would allow him to be closer to home.

David initially contacted the executive director of Region 9, a local organization that provided loans to businesses in southwest Colorado. Region 9 referred him to the SBDC where he was set up to meet with one of the SBDC consultants located in Cortez. The SBDC consultant and David had known each other since the 1980’s having worked together on a project for the Ute Mountain tribe. Dewayne Findley was a SBDC board member. He recommended David contact the center about their programs and advisement opportunities.

David did that and met with the SBDC. David wanted the business plan to provide lenders with all the necessary information and details which would secure the loan to buy the mill. David said Joe helped him in several ways. “He was an extra set of eyes as he reviewed my business plan. The SBDC consultant asked tough questions and pointed out items I needed to reconsider.” He also utilized financial spreadsheets to highlight positive financial projections and offered direction when David filled out loan applications. When the business plan and applications were completed and submitted, David and Sean secured their loan. With David’s personal financial investment, the loan made up the difference to purchase Aspen Wood Work. The deal closed on May 23, 2016.

Aspen Wall Wood and SBDC connected again in late 2018. This time it was with a different SBDC advisor who was involved in Cortez. David had enrolled his office manager into SBDC’s Leading Edge (LE) program to get familiar with the principles of business. David took the class with her. The LE class teaches people about the facets of business and how to construct a business plan specific to their endeavor. During this time, Aspen had the opportunity to take over another property and was made an offer to purchase business in turmoil. The timing was perfect to create a business plan for this possible expansion. These acquisitions would also require financial loans. David said, “This SBDC consultant was instrumental in developing a successful plan.” That plan ultimately led to loans from SBA and First Southwest Bank. David and Sean closed on those deals on August 10, 2018. The two now owned and operated three businesses, Aspen Wall Wood, Aspen Wood Products and S & S Logging.

David’s experience with SBDC was positive. “If anyone is considering a venture, utilize the resources SBDC has. They are great. They have the experience to ask you the right questions to tune into areas of business that need to be addressed.” He added, “SBDC was particularly helpful in securing a loan. If you don’t have huge collateral, they have the experience and resources that may make it available. Their participation in the first round of acquisition helped us with the second round. SBDC has established relationships, they are successful and they have credibility. They have also reached out to me afterwards to see if I need any follow up assistance.”

Sit-Ins

By Malia Durbano Music composer, James Bowers came up with a great idea a few years ago and formulated it more – in of all places- Trimble Hot Springs! James and his wife Lily Weisbecker had attended a string quartet concert through Music in the Mountains, which they thoroughly enjoyed. The next night, while they were at Trimble, the cello player from the ensemble also happened to be there. They began discussing how to make

Read More »
Destination DRO Real Estate Group

When it comes to real estate, relationships are everything. At least, that’s what Heather Erb believes, and this guiding principle is what inspired her to start her own real estate company. After more than 20 years of working as a Realtor and running real estate offices, Heather knew she was ready to launch out on her own. “Since I had spent many years in management, I didn’t have the same questions that many others might

Read More »
Durango Lawns: Keeping Durango Green

Some people adore yard work. Others prefer to leave their lawn care to the experts, so they have the freedom to go play. It is on this principle that Durango Lawns was founded. Although he is an electrician by trade, Pat Cass spent many of his early years working in lawn maintenance. He enjoys working outdoors and staying physically active, and for years, he dreamed of starting his own lawn company. Finally in 2019, he

Read More »
Straight Edge Home Inspections

Is it really possible to combine many different skills into one profitable business? It can be done. Just ask Jeff Sand. His business, Straight Edge Home Inspections, provides residential and commercial home inspections and ancillary services, along with real estate photography and videography. “Basically, my day consists of a combination of activities. In the morning, I can perform a home inspection, and in the afternoon, I can go to another property and conduct drone and

Read More »
The Wigglin’ Pig: Where the Food Tells Its Story

After years of working in various restaurants, Ernie Padilla decided he was ready to open his own business. Food trucks were fairly new to Cortez, and he knew they would be a hit. So, in 2018, he opened The Wigglin’ Pig. After finding success, he was ready to grow and added a brick and mortar establishment to the mix. Both the truck and restaurant serve American BBQ food with a variety of delicious favorites ranging

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 »
Skip to content