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 business expressed concern about possible confusion with a similar, long-used and unprotected name. Out of respect, Jones held a contest asking supporters for naming suggestions. A local craft beer drinker, Josh Ritter, submitted Pateros Creek

Jones drafted a business plan and took that to the SBDC. “They really opened my eyes – it was not what it needed to be” Jones notes. “It needed a lot more substance, especially when it came to my financial projections.”

Under the guidance of an SBDC counselor and the business plan writing class, Jones’ plan went from four pages to 24 through several rounds of revisions. “Our counselor really asked the tough questions. If you believe in your idea, he expects you to back it up. That really helped in creating the plan, and it was great preparation for talking to investors. I’m still amazed at how many businesses start without a plan.”

Despite the preparation and advice, raising the first round of capital was challenging. Jones found it hard to convince prospects that the numbers of beer lovers in northern Colorado would generate the demand needed to support the brewery; but as word got out about what he was up to, financing fell into place.

With the business plan complete, a new name in place, and investors on board, Jones purchased brewing equipment and leased space from another craft brewer and set up a contract brewing agreement. Initial efforts focused on the basics – creating great beer, selling kegs, building cash flow, and purchasing ingredients for the next batch to be brewed.

Meanwhile, Jones, his wife, Cathy, and dad, Bob, were scouting locations to open their own brewing facility and tasting room. They found a spot in Old Town Fort Collins in late 2010 that needed some TLC, and worked for six months to prepare the space for their June opening. “Our location, along College Avenue and near Old Town Square, is great. We really benefit from all the existing foot traffic in the area.”

Pateros Creek is seeing better than projected financial results, and is now ramping up its brewing volume. The Jones family, along with friends and investors, are selling kegs, growlers and pints of five different brews. They’re waiting on additional fermenting tanks to arrive, and looking forward to hiring full-time employees next year, expanding, and starting to can their beer. Pateros Creek beers can be found on 12 taps at nine area bars and restaurants, which also draws people to the tasting room.

“We just wanted to create a great place to go, hang out, and drink quality beer, and the SBDC helped us bring our vision to life.”

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

Read More »
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

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 »
Green Ride

Ray Schofield and Bob Flynn created Green Ride in 2009 to bring an easy, local transportation option to the Fort Collins community. After leaving Shamrock in October 2008, where the two worked together, they began looking for a way to get involved in the community and deciding from a regulatory standpoint whether to be a taxi service, shuttle service, or something else. “We were looking to see where the gaps in transportation were.” In just

Read More »
August Ink

Taking the leap into entrepreneurialism happens for many reasons and takes you down many roads, as Andrea Daniel has learned. After leaving a full-time job, Andrea decided to begin selling pillow covers on the handmade goods site Etsy, while searching for a job in an unstable economy. Despite a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s in public administration, she had trouble finding employment. At the same time, what began as a creative outlet to

Read More »
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

Read More »