Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch

            Garry and Ming Adams created Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, a luxurious boutique guest ranch, in Cortez.  When Garry purchased the land in the beautiful McElmo Canyon in 2006, the three dwellings on the property were uninhabitable.  Their goal was to stay true to the land’s western heritage and create a working guest ranch.  Guests would stay in comfortable remodeled houses, part take in the raising of livestock, be offered organically raised foods and immerse themselves in the surrounding canyon lands where ancient ruins can be found.  Ming stated, “We refer to it as an outdoor museum of culture and history.  There is an abundance of Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites for guest to explore and appreciate.”  Garry and Ming also wanted to establish sustainable land practices and promote cultural exchanges and experiences.  The two designed and constructed the ranch with that in mind.  They restored the three historic houses, expanded the infrastructure for two new guest houses and installed old style fences to better manage their livestock.

            Cindy Dvergsten is a highly regarded advisor for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), located in Durango.  She is also Garry and Ming’s friend.  Cindy has helped many entrepreneurs begin and expand their businesses.  She is an expert in agriculture, sustainable practice and bringing products to market.  Cindy teaches classes for SBDC too.  She told Garry and Ming about classes she would be teaching when the Adams’ were in their first few years of operation.  One class focused on establishing a business foundation through a holistic approach.  The second class was specific for ranchers and farmers.  That content included pasture management, grazing plans, and holistic practices.

            The first class was for entrepreneurs to identity what they want in life and what sort of work would make them happy.  Specifically, to do something they would enjoy with clarity about the quality of life they would like to have.  The class also focused on ranching and agriculture in a sustainable and enterprising way.  Ming loved that approach.  Identifying what they love and care about will guide them towards making better decisions down the road, both personally and professionally.  Ming added, “Cindy taught us how to manage our land and our Navajo Churro sheep (which Cindy introduced to them), cattle and chickens.  Our ranch is the only one around to have a Grass Fed certificate from A Greener World and be Animal Welfare approved.”

            The Adams’ also took SBDC classes for online marketing and social media.  “We work so hard on daily chores.  The classes introduced and taught us things in the online world.  We can identify what works best for us.  I would love to learn more about online marketing through presentations or workshops.”

            Ming stays in touch with Cindy often to ask her advice and opinions, particularly about raising the sheep.  Ming said, “Cindy is very passionate about what she does and promotes Navajo sheep culture.”  Ming concluded that SBDC has a lot to offer. “There are times I don’t know where to get help.  Being in their network, SBDC can put me in touch with the right person.  This is a learning journey for us.  We are not ranchers by trade.  Our guests enjoy themselves and have great experiences connecting with the land and animals.  We know we are doing the right thing.”

Sunnyside Farms

By Malia Durbano When Holly Zink decided to open her fresh, local and organic meat and seafood business in 2002, she called Joe Keck to learn how to set up a corporation and to “make sure all my bases were covered.” When she moved to her new location inside of Nature’s Oasis in 2007, she realized there were some issues and difficulties with profitability. In 2008, she and her husband, Jesse Villanueba, attended the NxLevel

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Cortez Cab

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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

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Watikuh Assistive Technology

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KB Insurance Group

Ken Brengle is the owner of KB Insurance Group, headquartered in Cortez, CO.  He studied business at Fort Lewis College.  Outside of class, Ken did a lot of self study and sold cell phones at a local store.  He was inspired by his business professors who became successful and moved to Durango for a better quality of life.  Ken learned he was a good salesman, and with a sufficient income he thought, “Why should I pay thousands of dollars

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Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center

Amy Long purchased Por Dia Preschool & Learning Center sixteen years ago. Por Dia is licensed to serve up to 60 children. They offer daily preschool, toddler care, and before/after school care. Long approached Joe Keck for help in expanding her Toddler program. Beginning in August of 2011, they worked together for six to eight months. “Joe personally came by my business to consult with me, and we met at the SBDC office at the

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