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Success Stories

Clean Bees

Clean Bees Homekeepers Cleaning Up!

When Katie Straubel moved from Florida to Colorado in 2001, she took a job doing house-cleaning to make ends meet.  Eight years later, she earned a history degree from CSU, while continuing to work in the cleaning industry. Today, she is the proud confident owner of Clean Bees, a Northern Colorado cleaning company with 35 employees and over $1M in annual sales!

Katie says “I worked in the restaurant business, and learned customer service.  Our clients find us, because they want to own their time, not clean.  Our ideal customers are dual-income homeowners in their 40s and 50s.  When pricing jobs, we consider the frequency, size, and scope of the home. In 2020, I want our managers spending more time in the field to better understand our customers.”

Katie worked on two critical areas, recruiting/training/retaining staff and learning how to pay herself.   She comments on her employee “secret sauce” –   “I respect the trade, and genuinely invite them in like they’re family.  We’re not so big that we can’t have connection.  We hug them, and hold them tight.” Katie built a management team, including a general manager, office manager, sales manager, and trainers.

“My accountant Paul Matonis (also an SBDC instructor) said I needed some financial help, and I relied on the SBDC”.  SBDC consultant Andrea Grant met with Katie for one-on-one sessions, to better understand her accounting information.  Katie says “I’m super-grateful for Andrea. She’s caring, sincere, a wealth of information, and really trying to help out people.”

Three years ago, Katie joined the LoCo Think Tank, a growing peer-to-peer advisory group, that’s also been supportive.

When asked about her 2020 hot list, Katie says, “I’m looking at some org-chart tweaks, but my worry level is nothing compared to what it used to be. I have a sense of peace that I didn’t have for so long. With my stress level down, I think more clearly.”

Outside of Clean Bees, Katie gardens, raises chickens, and hosts dinners with her partner and ten-year old son.

Rain Boutique

Opening Rain Boutique, a shop featuring refreshingly wearable clothing with a sprinkling of unique gifts and housewares, took a lot of guidance. That was when Kristin Mouton turned to the Larimer County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for practical advice. “My counselor at SBDC really kept me going and gave me a lot of reassurance, even after I had been turned down by two banks for a business loan,” said Mouton. Mouton started with an

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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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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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Teaching Tree Early Childhood LC

Northern Colorado businesses are working hard to fill workforce needs. One of the main barriers is the availability and cost of child care, which can run as high as $16,000 annually for infant care. Teaching Tree, a nonprofit with facilities in Fort Collins and Loveland, has provided quality child care since 1970, with much of this care supporting low-moderate income families. Teaching Tree is undertaking an ambitious expansion that will double its child care capacity

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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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Equine Veterinary Services

Stephanie Brault’s passion is working with horses. Providing them with the highest quality veterinary care has been her profession since 1988. After more than 10 years of working in academic veterinary medicine at the University of California Davis and most recently at Colorado State University, Stephanie purchased a private veterinary business in July of this year. While Stephanie is an expert in the field of veterinary medicine, she had no business experience prior to purchasing

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