Colorado Camper Van

When Derek Weber customized his first camper van in his garage in 2009, he didn’t anticipate his neighbors begging him to build one for them. “I wanted to spend my time camping, not building more vans”, Derek jokes. But he recognized the opportunity, put some photos on the internet, and customer interest exploded.

Today, Colorado Camper Van (CCV) does over $4 million in annual sales and employs over 40 people at its Loveland plant. CCV’s main offerings are installing “pop-top” higher ceilings, and a huge range of custom, high quality, interior designs. CCV performs this work on a wide variety of vans. See: www.coloradocampervan.com

In 2019, CCV was experiencing some tough growth pains, and Derek reached out to the Loveland Business Development Center and the SBDC.

SBDC financial consultant Bob Coffey dug deeply into the numbers at CCV. Derek says “he helped us get our books straightened out, and fixed a past tax situation that led to refunds for us. He helped with job costing and appropriate pricing. His work was integral to helping us get a much-needed loan”.

Manufacturing consultant Jon Jaggers helped CCV convert to a lean manufacturing operation. “He gave us direction on manufacturing. He helped improve our flow through optimal placement of workstations, tools, and components. He got our processes down to where the company was making money”, says Derek.

By 2020, many of these financial and manufacturing improvements were in place at CCV. The COVID pandemic provided an unexpected sales boost. Derek commented “our sales doubled from 2019 to 2021”.

Recent accomplishments for Derek include becoming a part-owner of the CCV building, which stabilized CCV’s operating base in Loveland. Derek and his purchasing manager Elizabeth (also his business partner and wife) worked hard on purchasing components in bulk from manufacturers, which lowered costs and improved availability. Derek feels fortunate that he’s been able to find and retain employees – “we work 10 hour shifts four days a week, with three days off, and our team really likes that schedule”.

Future plans include broadening conversions to Jeeps and Ford Broncos, a pop-top trailer offering, and a possible van resale service. “I’m excited about where CCV is going”, Derek says with a smile.

Derek, Elizabeth, and their two children live in Drake, and enjoy camping!

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

Read More »
Fernweh Hostel

Walking up to the Fernweh Inn & Hostel, you pass through a white picket fence into a well-kept yard with a random dog toy or two scattered about. The Fernweh immediately feels like home, which is exactly what owner and founder Kelsey Schwager envisioned. “My goal is to give guests an amazing experience so they’ll continue to stay at other hostels while traveling. The Fernweh provides a safe, clean and comfortable environment, which is what

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
Rodeo News

Siri Steven has a passion for life, a desire to educate, and a work ethic and determination that have made Rodeo News the successful, nationally recognized magazine it is today. “This is the culmination of all of the things I have learned in 40 years.” Good friends, life circumstances, and hard work brought Rodeo News into her life, and she has devoted herself to its success completely. After getting her start working on the publication

Read More »