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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.

The Cooking Studio

Fifteen years ago, Trish O’Neill took her first cooking class and she was hooked! She began cooking inspired meals from scratch and it soon became her passion. Over the next 15 years she traveled for her career, all the while taking cooking classes as a hobby while on her travels. This cultivated the idea that would eventually bring Trish and her talent to Fort Collins to open The Cooking Studio, a place for amateur cooks,

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Little Bird Bakeshop

The Little Bird Bakeshop opened its doors on December 14, 2010 and since then has developed a loyal following. On any given morning, a passerby wandering through Old Town Square in Fort Collins can peer through the bakeshop’s inviting façade and watch customers sipping coffee and enjoying delicious chocolate croissants, chocolate walnut cookies, and other pastries. With its friendly atmosphere and fresh, creative confections, it will take only a glance before you walk through the

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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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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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Trailcraft Cycles

When their son Elijah was three, Ginger and Brett Rosenbauer put him on a bike and he took off like a rocket. Elijah just turned seven when he got his first “real” bike, and it turned out to be heavy, and needing modification. So, it was in the hot tub of their west Fort Collins home that Ginger, a stay at home mom and Brett, an executive at the Fort Collins bike manufacturer Niner, decided

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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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