We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs. Here are some of their

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.

The Pig & The Plow Farmstead Bakery

You may have read the popular Farming Fort Collins Blog turned online farm and ranch directory, turned e-zine, The Pig & The Plow: From the Field, but have you stopped by the Pig & Plow Bakery and met the woman behind it all?   Erica Glaze has been busy. After growing up in the fresh, local food scene of New England, she saw a need when she moved to this area back in 2003. “I worked

Read More »
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

Read More »
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,

Read More »
August Ink

Taking the leap into entrepreneurialism happens for many reasons and takes you down many roads, as Andrea Daniel has learned. After leaving a full-time job, Andrea decided to begin selling pillow covers on the handmade goods site Etsy, while searching for a job in an unstable economy. Despite a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s in public administration, she had trouble finding employment. At the same time, what began as a creative outlet to

Read More »
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

Read More »
Compost Queen

A backyard composter, Jamie Blanchard-Poling knew something had to change for how composting is done locally with small piles and only in the warmer months. “I  wondered why there wasn’t a solution—not in Northern Colorado. I decided I could be that solution,” said owner and queen Blanchard-Poling. Blanchard-Poling founded Compost Queen in 2018, operating it on partner farm sites until March 2023, when, with state grant funding, she was able to open her headquarters at

Read More »
Skip to content