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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.

Blue Pine Construction

Blue Pine Construction is based in Wellington, and run by the husband and wife team of Mike and Lorilyn Bockelman. Their company does home  construction/remodeling, and a variety of outdoor “decking” projects, throughout Northern Colorado. Mike’s construction background, combined with Lorilyn’s retail management experience, makes for a productive combination. They have grown the business significantly over the last few years. Blue Pine Construction now has 10 full time employees, including a new production manager. Mike is a Air

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Cydney Springer Fine Art

Artist Brushes Up on Business, Social Media Skills After 25 years in northern Colorado as a graphic artist, copywriter, and greeting card designer, Cydney Springer put down the computer mouse and took up an artist’s paintbrush. With two years of study under other artists and a lifetime of interest in painting, she set out to capture the beauty and awe of Colorado landscapes. She works with oil paint in an Estes Park studio with windows

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Colorado Coffee Company

Creating Community Through Coffee  Expanding a business during the difficulties that 2020 brought may seem impossible, but Colorado Coffee Company has managed to do that and more. The business has been a Northern Colorado staple for about 30 years, originally starting in the Foothills Mall in Fort Collins, but current owner Stacy Kliner has built a community around the established brand in the last five years as they’ve refocused in Loveland.  It was poised to be a great year

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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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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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Wordsmith Wood Shop

Loveland area couple Gib and Lisa Coalwell made a few wooden boxes decorated with sayings but a large order put a toll on their small laser engraver. The owners of Wordsmith Wood Shop needed to hire staff, get three more engravers and quickly learn manufacturing on a large scale. The couple blends handcrafted wood and engraved words to create heirloom boxes, bookmarks, recipe cards, coasters, magnets and cutting boards for their wholesale, retail and individual

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