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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.

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

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Avid Product Development

Consulting businesses are often lonely endeavors, constrained by the experience, capacity, and moxie of the owner. When opportunity knocks – in the guise of new technologies, more customers, or economic expansion – many consultants choke, not willing to do what’s necessary to grow. When Doug Collins, owner of Loveland’s Avid Product Development reached that point, it was the opportunities new 3D Printing technology offered that crystalized the dilemma. “I had a good clientele, a good

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The Spruce House and More

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

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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

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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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The Fox and the Crow

What do cheese and art have in common? Both excite the pallet and have rich stories, according to The Fox and the Crow owner Tina Mooney, a cheesemonger and art history major. The Fox and the Crow brings artisan cheeses and meats to mid-town Fort Collins. They understand that the world of artisan cheese can be intimidating and have crafted their shop to welcome people who may stumble in serendipitously. Little signs like: “We cut

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