Good things happen when two businesses merge into one.

At least, that’s what Margaret Baumgartner and Carin Brophy have discovered.

For several years, the two women owned shops in Pleasant View that were right across the street from one another. Last year, Margaret and her family purchased The Hogan on highway 160 (just west of Mancos). Next to The Hogan was a former coffee and sandwich stop, and Margaret saw the building’s potential. She approached Carin about creating a joint shop, and in February of this year, they began to plan.

Carin applied for a social media and marketing grant through Colorado’s Small Business Accelerated Growth Program, which was focused on digital marketing. As part of the deal, they received a consultation with the SBDC. “The timing was perfect!” she says.

During their initial conference call with Cindy Dvergsten, they began by discussing their budget. “We started thinking about things we hadn’t considered before. We weren’t planning to pay ourselves, but Cindy explained why it was important to account for that. She gave us excel spreadsheets, which were timely and perfect for our process. It saved us from making mistakes, and we were able to plan better. The info she gave us was very helpful, and it really challenged our brains.”

Carin and Margaret also attended the SBDC conference in May. In fact, they delayed their store opening, so they could both attend. They split up the sessions and learned a lot. “Our heads were about to explode from all the great info! It helped us get off on the right foot.”

So far, the new venture has been working out great. CountyRoad9 has an assortment that suits both local clientele as well as tourists. They sell gifts, decor items, bath and body products, hats and bags, apparel, fabric, notions, and patterns. The biggest hurdle they’ve faced is fitting everything into a small space, and they are already thinking about expanding to offer classes in the coming years.

“Partnering up was the best decision,” Carin explains. “By doing this together, we had a joint vision, and everything has worked out close to that vision. We are able to be open more days per week now, and two heads are better than one! We share just about everything, and having a business partner gives us someone to bounce ideas off of.”

Both women know that owning a business is not for the faint of heart. “We knew summer was crucial, so we opened as early as we could in May. We worked straight through and many long days to make it happen. But, we know that if it’s what you are passionate about and what you want to do, you have to stick with it.” The best way to learn more about CountyRoad9 is to head to Mancos and check it out!

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