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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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Equine Veterinary Services

Stephanie Brault’s passion is working with horses. Providing them with the highest quality veterinary care has been her profession since 1988. After more than 10 years of working in academic veterinary medicine at the University of California Davis and most recently at Colorado State University, Stephanie purchased a private veterinary business in July of this year. While Stephanie is an expert in the field of veterinary medicine, she had no business experience prior to purchasing

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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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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

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Teaching Tree Early Childhood LC

Northern Colorado businesses are working hard to fill workforce needs. One of the main barriers is the availability and cost of child care, which can run as high as $16,000 annually for infant care. Teaching Tree, a nonprofit with facilities in Fort Collins and Loveland, has provided quality child care since 1970, with much of this care supporting low-moderate income families. Teaching Tree is undertaking an ambitious expansion that will double its child care capacity

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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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