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Success Stories

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.

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!

Mulnix Veterinary

When Dr. Michelle Thomas moved to Fort Collins in 1996, as a newly-minted veterinarian from Washington State University, she landed a job as an associate with Mulnix Animal Clinic. Little did she know she would one day own and operate that business. Dr. Thomas and a couple of partners bought Mulnix Animal Clinic from the retiring founder in April of 2015. Mulnix had about 7-8 employees. She says “I found myself with a business. There

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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,

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Branch Out Cider

The idea for Branch Out Cider, a community orchard that produces apple wine from neighborhood trees, began with one special apple tree. When Aaron Fodge and Matt Fater sat down to discuss their business and share their story, they were quick to point out the lush, flowering apple tree in their neighborhood that started it all. “The tree was loaded, so we made cider with it!” That was the first year. The next year they

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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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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

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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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