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Success Stories

Little Bird Bakeshop

The Little Bird Bakeshop opened its doors on December 14, 2010 and since then has developed a loyal following. On any given morning, a passerby wandering through Old Town Square in Fort Collins can peer through the bakeshop’s inviting façade and watch customers sipping coffee and enjoying delicious chocolate croissants, chocolate walnut cookies, and other pastries. With its friendly atmosphere and fresh, creative confections, it will take only a glance before you walk through the door to see for yourself what all of the smiles are about. Once you do, you will find yourself a loyal follower as well.

Amy Marsh has always wanted to be a pastry chef. Her passion has carried her from a bakery in Boulder, to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Art in Vancouver, BC to New York City, and eventually home to Fort Collins. “Everything just fell into place,” she says of her return to Northern Colorado two years ago. “The location opened up and funding became available.” Amy’s passion is the creativity that she puts into her creations. “I get to create something every day. It doesn’t have to be the same thing. The spontaneity keeps it interesting. I love the creative aspect of it, it is my artistic outlet and people get to enjoy it.”

Amy first met with a counselor at the SBDC a year and a half ago when she was having difficulty with a name for her business. She had chosen a name and there was a conflict with another local business. “The SBDC helped. The counselor advised me not to open a business already struggling.” Amy took this advice and decided to cut her losses and find a different name. Amy credits the SBDC with contributing greatly to her success. “The name concept was very difficult to let go of.” As Amy was letting go and creating a new name, the issue was creating somewhat of a buzz and the Coloradoan wrote an article about it.

Since then, Amy has received positive feedback from customers on the name of her bakeshop and it has brought locals through her doors. “The outside, objective insight and encouragement” she received from the SBDC has been a key contributor to her success. Amy keeps up with the SBDC by reading SBDC monthly emails and publications. The counselor who assisted her through the name change decision has been into the bakeshop a few times. Once things settle down a bit Amy plans to take some of the SBDC classes.

Amy considers one of her most important successes to be the people who have chosen to be her staff at The Little Bird Bakeshop. “They really like being here and enjoy working with the customers.” Friendships have developed between staff and customers and in its one year of business The Little Bird Bakeshop has already found loyal fans. The Little Bird Bakeshop is not a traditional bakery. The menu is constantly evolving and Amy’s primary focus is on breakfast pastries. They bake two varieties of bread each day, and you’ll find the fresh bread available in the late afternoon, convenient if you want a loaf for dinner, rather than the early morning tradition of some bakeries. This is just one of many details that make The Little Bird Bakeshop unique. With the help of the SBDC, The Little bird Bakeshop has found its niche and brings sweetness and warmth as a welcome addition to Old Town.

Clay’s Ace Hardware

In 2014, Tim and Julie Kenney purchased Clay’s Ace Hardware, a mainstay of south Fort Collins since the original owners, Jim and Lisa Clay, started the store in 1998. Tim and Julie felt the entrepreneurial call, but did not necessarily want to start their own business, so they began looking for businesses to purchase. Their focus rested on a brand that was recognizable, and an existing business that had a culture built around service to

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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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Rain Boutique

Opening Rain Boutique, a shop featuring refreshingly wearable clothing with a sprinkling of unique gifts and housewares, took a lot of guidance. That was when Kristin Mouton turned to the Larimer County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for practical advice. “My counselor at SBDC really kept me going and gave me a lot of reassurance, even after I had been turned down by two banks for a business loan,” said Mouton. Mouton started with an

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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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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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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

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