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 1505 N. College Ave. in Fort Collins. She picks up food waste at her customers’ homes and businesses and takes it to the headquarters and four permitted farm partners in Fort Collins. She does curbside pickups in Fort Collins and Timnath, but also has five drop-off sites in Fort Collins, Windsor and Loveland. “We do everything with organic waste from top to bottom,” Blanchard-Poling said. “We pick it up, haul it and take it to whichever facility that route goes to.” Customers get a 4-gallon bucket they can fill with food scraps for weekly or biweekly curbside services or for drop-off at their convenience. They then can collect finished compost during two customer appreciation days.

“We have a very high retention rate of customers because we do such a good job in what we do,” Blanchard-Poling said. “It’s a really good feeling when you get a finished product out of what other people call waste.”

At each of the farm sites, Blanchard-Poling and her staff create compost piles, adding food scraps, farm waste and other organics to the mix. They monitor the water content and temperature until the compost is a finished product, a process that takes about four months. She halves that time at her headquarters, operational as of October, by using an Aerated Static Pile Composting system purchased with a Front Range Waste Diversion grant she received for equipment and establishing her headquarters. “With our new system we will be producing a lot more, so that way we’ll be able to sell it to the public,” Blanchard-Poling said.

To grow her business, Blanchard-Poling works with the Larimer Small Business Development Center, where she’s taken classes on starting a business and works with consultants on marketing, bookkeeping and financial  planning. “They lay a solid  framework of what to do when starting a business, and that’s helped me immensely, as well as all of their resources,” Blanchard-Poling said. “It helps me separate the different aspects of business, so it’s not just one pile of things to do.”

Blanchard-Poling also looks to the Larimer SBDC anytime she has to pivot, including adding her farm
partners and streamlining her offerings to just buckets and carts. The grant helped immensely with her biggest challenge, financing, but now she needs more funding for advertising and to grow her  business, including adding  municipal contracts for multiple, decentralized facilities around Northern Colorado.

“My advice for entrepreneurs is don’t give up. If you give up, you never know what you could have
achieved.” Blanchard-Poling said. “Now I’m a success story.”

Java Raiz

Need a quick boost of healthy energy? Java Raiz can save your day. Made with organic Flame raisins grown in California and 100% Kona coffee from Hawaii, Java Raiz is a healthy treat you can take anywhere. The ingredients are simple, but extremely good for you. Organic Flame raisins are made from red grapes, which include more antioxidants than a typical (Thompson) raisin. Kona coffee beans are grown in volcanic soil, which provides many more

Read More »
HomeCare of the Rockies

Sandi McCann of Longmont found that when she provided caregiving for her stepmother, she wanted the same kind of meaningful work in her professional life. Sandi had been a marketer for 27 years and was tired of the career, so she launched her own business. She and her younger sister, Maureen, who also desired a career change, started HomeCare of the Rockies, Inc., in April 2012. She is president and chief executive officer and a

Read More »
Trailcraft Cycles

When their son Elijah was three, Ginger and Brett Rosenbauer put him on a bike and he took off like a rocket. Elijah just turned seven when he got his first “real” bike, and it turned out to be heavy, and needing modification. So, it was in the hot tub of their west Fort Collins home that Ginger, a stay at home mom and Brett, an executive at the Fort Collins bike manufacturer Niner, decided

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
Skip to content