The San Juan Angler

“Have you heard the news? We have a new owner.”

Cole Glenn was speaking with one of San Juan Angler’s regular customers. The customer looked up with apprehension. “Oh?” he said. “Do you know anything about them?”

“Yeah,” Cole replied. “It’s me.”

This has become Cole’s new favorite conversation. As the former manager of one of Durango’s iconic fly-fishing shops, he couldn’t be more proud to be the shop’s new owner.

Cole is a Fort Lewis graduate with a degree in tourism resort management. After graduation, he worked a number of local odd jobs but was soon drawn back to his lifelong passion for fly fishing. He started as a guide and worked his way into the role of shop manager.

About two years ago, the owners started talking about selling, so they could retire. They own four shops across Colorado, and Cole watched them work through the process of selling Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt to its manager. Once that sale was complete, he knew it was his turn.

“In September, I got to work. I had attended a number of SBDC workshops and met with Mary several times over the years, so she knew that this was my plan. I reached out to her, and she referred me to Carl Malmberg.”

Carl met with Cole several times, and together they worked on his cash flow projection, which allowed him to get a loan with Region 9. “Once I had the loan, I went to the owners and told them I had the money. There are a lot of little steps involved in purchasing a retail fly shop and guide service. The guide service requires licenses, permits, and registration. It took time to get that sorted out.”

By the end of November, the sale was completed. Cole’s first day as owner was December 1—just in time for Noel Night. He expects that the first six months will be quiet, as is common during winter months in the mountains. This will give him time to learn the ropes, and by June, all hands will be on deck for the busy season.

Looking forward, Cole is excited to bring fly fishing into the community. “We’ve done a lot of work with La Plata County Open Space Conservancy, and we want to get more kids and women into fishing. It’s a great family activity!” He is hoping to set up a booth at the farmer’s market and host free classes. In addition, he looks forward to partnering with local rod builders, so they can support each other.

Cole couldn’t be more thrilled to be the new owner. He says, “It’s been a long time in coming. It’s scary and daunting, but I do know the industry, store, and customers. The SBDC has been instrumental in helping me learn parts of the business that are new to me. I told myself one day I would buy the business…and here I am. It’s very rewarding.”

He encourages other entrepreneurs to seek help and advice from the many local resources that Durango has to offer. Then, prioritize. “Starting a business can be overwhelming, but once the first pieces fall into place, just keep taking a few tasks at a time. Stay patient and persistent to make your dream happen!

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