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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.

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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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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Avid Product Development

Consulting businesses are often lonely endeavors, constrained by the experience, capacity, and moxie of the owner. When opportunity knocks – in the guise of new technologies, more customers, or economic expansion – many consultants choke, not willing to do what’s necessary to grow. When Doug Collins, owner of Loveland’s Avid Product Development reached that point, it was the opportunities new 3D Printing technology offered that crystalized the dilemma. “I had a good clientele, a good

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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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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

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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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