Finn’s Wurst Sausage

            Greg and Finn Hopkins are a father and son team that created Finn’s Wurst Sausage.  Finn came up with the idea to sell authentic German bratwurst from a New York City styled hot dog cart during a brainstorming session with his dad.  The purpose of the business is to advance Finn from employee to owner.  Finn is autistic.  His experience in the food service industry has been as a dishwasher, prep cook and busser.  He already obtained a food safety handlers certificate through a Manna’s Soup Kitchen program.  Finn decided upon bratwurst as a means to express his pride in his German heritage.  In addition to a grilled brat on a roll, Finn chose to include potato salad and sauerkraut.

            Greg does most of the work behind the scene.  Once the idea was selected, Greg’s friends told him about a free and local resource for entrepreneurs, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Fort Lewis College.  He first met SBDC’s office manager, Hannah Birdsong, when he went into their office to ask about their services.  Hannah made him an appointment with Mary Shepherd, SBDC’s deputy director.  Greg stated, “I went out of sheer panic and necessity.”  Most of his start-up business knowledge was self-directed through online research.  “When I sat down with Mary, she laid out all the things on how to run a fast food cart and business.  She explained everything about costs, figuring out prices and overhead.  Greg built upon Mary’s direction and attended the SBDC sponsored ‘Start Your Own Business Workshop.’  “My impression of the workshop was it was strictly beneficial.  Eighty percent was brand new information and the remainder was a good refresher.”  Greg especially connected with the insurance segment of the program.

            Armed with ideas and a checklist from Mary, Greg went on to acquire a business license from the City of Durango, complete a food management class and met with the public health department to learn what was needed to pass an inspection.  Finn had saved enough money to buy a food cart outright, and he and Greg had money put aside to cover the first two months of business.  To find the best brat, the Hopkin’s connected a sixth-generation family ranch family that produced USDA certified meat.  A commissary kitchen was rented to prepare the potato salad and sauerkraut.  Greg said the logistics for food preparation is a challenge because renting a kitchen is expensive and there are strict requirements for food preparation. 

            Finn’s Wurst Sausage opened May 11th, 2019 at the Durango’s Farmer’s Market.  Some aspects of ownership and operation were overwhelming for Finn.  The initial work schedule Finn and Greg had planned for had been scaled back.  Greg decided the food cart would be open on limited days; such as holidays, races and special events.  In time, their goal is to have their cart operating outside of Home Depot during the week and Finn becomes comfortable with operations and ownership.

            Greg said SBDC would be an excellent first stop for anyone new to running a business.  “Mary has great experience and is tapped in to local resources.  SBDC is a no brainer.  Those with business experience from other areas can benefit using them.  I would have fumbled through and got frustrated without SBDC’s support.  They are a resource that doesn’t cost anything and they are so dialed in to the Four Corner’s area, I would recommend them to anyone.”

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

Read More »
WildEdge Brewing

Tucker Robinson once worked as an archaeologist who brewed his own beer at home in his spare time. His affinity for making quality microbrews eventually led Tucker to pursue craft brewing as a profession. In 2013, he wrote an initial business plan with the goal of opening his own microbrewery in Cortez, CO. Several years later as his business plan seemed close to completion, Tucker interned at his friend’s brew pub in Rochester, NY. He

Read More »
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 »
Freenotes Harmony Park

By Malia Durbano Richard and Christy Cooke are so grateful to the SW Colorado Small Business Development Center for consulting with them and putting them in touch with valuable resources to assist them in growing and expanding their business. Thanks to the help of the SW CO SBDC their company is experiencing 100% growth in 2011. Originally, a small cottage industry business, started by Richard Cooke in 1990 in Moab, Utah, FHP was at capacity

Read More »
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 »
Pilates Connection

By Malia Durbano Kim Moriyama opened the Pilates Connection in 2002. She envisions her business as a vehicle to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives and is so grateful for the instructors who work with her that are passionate about doing that. In 2013, Kim met with advisor Joe Bishop who, “Was an awesome sounding board and helped me with revisioning to make the studio vital and dynamic.” She implemented the ideas they came

Read More »