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Success Stories

Babette’s Feast Catering & Bakery

What’s a CPA working as a health-care administrator to do for a second career? Follow his passion. What’s a nurse practitioner to do in her off hours? Dream up cake creations.

Rudy Burns’s passion is to feed people, and his wife, Angi, has a creative side. While living in Arkansas, Rudy attended the Arkansas Culinary School in Little Rock. They consulted with a Small Business Development Center, where they were counseled to stay away from opening a restaurant. But catering – there was the opportunity to follow his passion.

Moving to Fort Collins to follow their dream, they settled on buying an existing business – Babette’s Feast Catering and Bakery. (Yes, it’s named after the movie.)

Three years into the business, they focus on the bakery – meaning custom cakes; catering – weddings and lunches; and wholesale baking – supplying hotels and independent coffee and tea shops with quiches, croissants, sweet breads, and carrot cake and other desserts.

A year after taking over the business, they realized Rudy needed some more advice. As a CPA, he had the finance side of the business down pat. And the cakes, with Angi’s assistance, were hitting a creative sweet spot.

“We needed help,” Rudy says. “We wanted professional advice. We were starting to grow. We had no marketing background, and the business was about to take off.” The business has grown 150 percent. And it’s no longer just the two of them. They have three employees.

Says Angi, “We wanted to make sure we were realistic in our expectations.”

The Larimer Small Business Development Center helped them start down the path by giving objective advice. They met one-on-one with a business consultant, a marketing consultant and a social-media consultant (find Babette’s on Facebook, Pinterest, and the web).

Their business plan includes maintaining the fundamentals that has made Babette’s successful – things like traditional recipes and natural food and flavors – and adding a retail cake shop. Custom cakes are their speciality, but they see a niche in Fort Collins for a walk-in store. And they’re ready with a name: Daddy Cakes Bakery. That would be Rudy.

“So far, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Angi says, “and we will keep working hard to become as successful as we possibly can be.”

Spidertrax Off-Road

Thom Kingston helped start Loveland-based Spidertrax Off-Road not in a garage like some startups but in a fully equipped shop at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 1999, Kingston and his former partner and co-founder, Eddie Casanueva, initially snuck into the school after-hours to develop and manufacture parts for the off-road industry until they got official approval and could work during the daytime. “We were manufacturing all of our parts, using the tools of

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Beau & Belle Littles

The true measure of a successful product is: Does it solve a customer problem? As new, active parents, Paul and Rachelle Baron faced a common problem when trying to take their little one swimming. They wanted a high quality, reusable swim diaper that handled solid waste well, but there was nothing on the market that met their standards. “The problems we saw were that disposables were not good quality, didn’t contain solid waste well, and

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Pateros Creek Brewery

When Steve Jones of Pateros Creek Brewery began the journey to turn his passion for brewing beer into a business, he may not have predicted just how long that trip might take. Much like a raft trip down Pateros Creek – an early name for the Cache la Poudre River – the route from concept to selling beer had a few obstacles in store. After trade marking a business name and announcing it, another local

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Rocky Mountain Westy

You don’t often see a growing business based on a product that hasn’t been made in almost 20 years, but twin brothers Mike and Greg LaBate built this at Rocky Mountain Westy (RMW). RMW designs, manufacturers, and sells camping and lifestyle parts to Volkswagen Vanagon “Westy” van enthusiasts and service centers worldwide. These products help the van owner upgrade or convert the Westy van, often to performance levels above the original factory model, such as

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HomeCare of the Rockies

Sandi McCann of Longmont found that when she provided caregiving for her stepmother, she wanted the same kind of meaningful work in her professional life. Sandi had been a marketer for 27 years and was tired of the career, so she launched her own business. She and her younger sister, Maureen, who also desired a career change, started HomeCare of the Rockies, Inc., in April 2012. She is president and chief executive officer and a

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Ragamuffin Organizing & Cleaning

Not all entrepreneurs start with goals of grandiose riches; in the case of Kami Bowker, owner of Ragamuffin Organizing & Cleaning, she just wanted to be able to make her $300 per month car payment. Just three years later, her cleaning business has grown so rapidly, she has chosen to invest the unexpected growth in her vision of a Christian women’s respite ministry. Originally from Burlington, Colorado, Kami moved to Fort Collins for beauty school

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