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Inventory Control 101: Understanding Retail Cash Flow

Tuesday, June 9th

8:00 am – 10:00 am

Retail is a blend of art and science. As the store owner you understand your customers and what they want: you provide a point of view and a 

taste level, the ART. The SCIENCE involves understanding how to maximize the merchandise you bring in to support your vision and your business.

Inventory control is the best investment you can make for your store: Poor inventory management is the #1 reason retailers fail. About 1/3 of stores that fail are actually profitable but don’t have enough cash flow to run the business.

We will talk about too much inventory, not enough inventory, gross sales, what percentage most retailers spend on merchandise, and inventory in relation to total assets.

This class will walk through the basics of running a retail business and you will come away understanding:

  • The difference between net profit and cash flow
  • The 4 Pillars of Retail
  • How to more accurately forecast your sales
  • What an Open-to-Buy is and how to create one for your business
  • How to create a cash flow projection

Lending Panel: Show Me the Money!

Lending Panel: Show Me the Money!

Tuesday, June 9

4:00 – 6:00 pm

Are you seeking funding for your small business but are unsure of where to begin? With all the options available for small businesses today, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed! The Larimer SBDC and Innosphere are partnering to bring together several types of funding sources for you to ask questions and get answers. We will be discussing:
In this unique event, we’ll have representatives from each of the categories above do a short introduction of their funding source. After this short introduction, there will be three “speed-dating style” breakout sessions so you can learn directly from multiple funding sources. Come prepared with your questions and get answers directly from the funding experts!


Eric Drummond, Fairfield & Woods, PC  


Harry Horowitz, Advanced Industries, Office of Economic Development and International Trade


Larry Salmen
Larry J Salmen Associates


David Gold, Access Venture Partners


Lewis Hagler, Colorado Enterprise Fund

Gwen BonillaAccion


Michelle Alexander, Community Funded


James Van Horn, Small Business Administration


Shannon Richardson, Community Banks of Colorado

Bob Clancy, Home State Bank

Matt Beck, Colorado Business Bank

Lending Panel: Show Me the Money! Read More »

Larimer SBDC Success Story – From Surviving to Thriving

Story and Photos by: Kat Rico

Some entrepreneurs wear the label of ‘serial entrepreneur’ proudly, and Diane Muno is no exception. She spent 15 years in healthcare management as part owner of a Chicago business that was successfully sold. She began looking for a business to buy when she found The Spruce House in Estes Park. “It had a cozy feel, like Grandma’s house, along with good financials.” In 2010, she celebrated the grand opening of The Spruce House and The Christmas Shoppe.

After she took ownership of these two businesses, she discovered a fellow business owner wanted to sell her retail shop, The Bean Blossom, which Diane jumped at the chance to buy and convert her vision for The White Orchid. She had a bridal store concept simmering and decided the brand provided her the perfect opportunity to expand. In 2012, The White Orchid Bridal was opened. 

This was about the time Diane had her first brush with disaster. In June of 2012, the area surrounding Estes Park was plagued by wildfires. She recalled taking delivery of inventory as the fire helicopters flew overhead, but her businesses survived. 

Diane wasn’t done with disasters yet though; in September of 2013 Estes Park was hit with flooding not seen for well over 100 years. “The flood almost bankrupted us,” Diane said, “but while I was busy worrying about how to meet payroll, my staff were dealing with not having a place to live. Seasonal employees just packed up early, but longtime residents were forced out of their homes and really struggled because there were no rentals available.” One of Diane’s businesses closed for 75 days and another for 10 days, but the impact of loss of tourism lasted longer.

Facing the difficult decision of whether to continue the businesses, Diane applied for an SBA Disaster Loan. “When I got the check, I cried. I was glad that I could continue my businesses, but afraid to take on more debt.” Through this assistance and United Way grants, her businesses were able to continue, but the tourism-based economy didn’t bounce back quickly. She continued working with the Larimer SBDC to apply for the Recover Colorado Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), which she was awarded in early 2015. “The SBDC outreach and assistance helping us get organized for the application process was crucial.”

Diane worked with the landlord of the White Orchid Bridal property when she saw businesses to the left and right of her store closing. After proposing another business venture, a wall was brought down to expand the shop for Diane’s latest brainchild: a shop with trendier items called Liz & Jo’s. The grant money allowed her to finance the expansion, purchase inventory, advertising, a website upgrade for all her shops and even shoot a commercial.

When asked about the most exciting part of owning multiple businesses Diane says, “It’s about seeing them thrive versus just surviving. Consumerism has changed; the way people has vacation has changed. The silver lining of the flood is that it forced us as a community to deal with changing competitive tourism.”

To help with ongoing economic recovery and planning, Diane contributes to several boards. The town has received an EDA grant for economic development she hopes will move the economy from seasonal to a more sustainable year-round economy. Diane is proud to help move the community forward, both as a business owner and an active individual. “Our contributions will pay off in the future.”

More information about Diane’s businesses can be found online at: 

     Liz & Jo’s

Hear more about Diane’s story:

Larimer SBDC Success Story – From Surviving to Thriving Read More »

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