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Success Stories

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 was so much I didn’t know. I researched the SBDC’s website, and signed up for the business consulting”.

The Larimer SBDC had the perfect resource for her. Consultant Dr. Robert Coffey is also a veterinarian with strong financial skills, and the previous co-owner of a vet practice.  Dr. Thomas had this to say about his consistent support and help –  “Dr. Coffey has been an invaluable resource! I am sure he shuddered when we first met, at my inexperience. He helped me understand how to read financials and financial ratios.  He helped me use that data to improve the business, and make sure it was profitable. We would meet monthly to make decisions.  He helped with various human resource and pricing issues.  I am so thankful for his experience, mentorship, and friendship.”

In 2017, Dr. Thomas bought out her partners, and became the sole owner of Mulnix. She also received human resources consulting from Tina Todd with SimplyHR, and marketing consulting from Lee Porter.  In 2020, her business surpassed $1M in annual revenue.

In November 2020, Dr. Thomas elected to sell her business to Carevet LLC, who operates about 60 veterinary practices nationally.  She says “my staff, now at 13, is very excited about the change, and so am I.  It’s nice to have a larger team behind me, so I can focus on veterinary medicine. We’re also expanding into a 5500 sq ft facility, from our current 1800 sq ft.”

Dr. Michelle Thomas lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two almost-grown children.

Her advice to local entrepreneurs?   “Visit the SBDC!”

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

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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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Blue Pine Construction

Blue Pine Construction is based in Wellington, and run by the husband and wife team of Mike and Lorilyn Bockelman. Their company does home  construction/remodeling, and a variety of outdoor “decking” projects, throughout Northern Colorado. Mike’s construction background, combined with Lorilyn’s retail management experience, makes for a productive combination. They have grown the business significantly over the last few years. Blue Pine Construction now has 10 full time employees, including a new production manager. Mike is a Air

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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

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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

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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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