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Success Stories

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 and then owned a salon for four years. Life’s twists and turns led her to being a stay-at-home mother who homeschooled her children for 13 years. These experiences helped her hone the Organizing skills that are essential to her business success today. At the suggestion of a friend, she started Ragamuffin Organizing & Cleaning in 2012, her first shot at business ownership in over 20 years.

The business grew rapidly, which led her in to the Larimer SBDC to help manage the growth. “My SBDC consultant’s help was essential,” said Kami, “She encouraged me to dream bigger.” Over the first year of working with the SBDC, her business saw 1,100% growth, and the following year an additional 226%. Now the company employs 4 part time employees, including Kami’s daughter.

Even though the business is a cleaning service, Kami’s goal for Ragamuffin Organizing & Cleaning is to bless her clients and become part of their family. “Twelve hours a month can be invaluable to a mother,” she says. Her employees become part of her client’s extended family by building a deep relationship of trust, as evidenced by the business’ success, which relies solely on word of mouth advertising. After they clean a house, Ragamuffin staff leave muffins for the family to enjoy. “We hope to bring sunshine into our clients’ lives!”

Kami’s personal mission extends beyond just blessing her clients, and the expansion of her dream with Ragamuffin Organizing & Cleaning will be to support the Ragamuffin House. Her larger vision is to create a Christian women’s ministry where women can have a week-long respite to rejuvenate, reconnect, and then reengage in their spheres of influence. “That is why I get up in the morning, dreaming of the Ragamuffin House,” says Kami. Currently she is working with the Larimer SBDC to further define and support this vision, which is planned to launch in 2017.

“The biggest thing the SBDC gave me was confidence and encouragement when I felt like I couldn’t do it.” Kami is happy to be able to continue her mission of blessing those around her through both the cleaning business and ministry that she has been called to. Her best advice for other entrepreneurs seeking their calling is, “Surround yourself with people who believe in your vision, and talk to as many people as you meet about it, because you never know who’s going to cross your path.”

Deaf Communication Services

Sharon Nutt was working as a sign language interpreter for a larger firm when she decided, “I can provide better service, and make more money”. In 2009, she founded Deaf Communication Services (DCS), focused primarily on arranging sign language medical interpreting for Deaf patients. When asked to describe her “secret sauce”, Sharon replied, “having prior experience as an interpreter really helped.  Interpreters like dealing with us, because of how we treat them, and because we value their

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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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The Magic Bus Tours

Fort Collins has an amazing amount of things to see and do. No business, however, had offered a service as fun and forward thinking as Magic Bus Tours to create a unique and educational experience around the local activities. “When I first started visiting Fort Collins, I loved learning about the local history, lifestyles and culture, but I couldn’t find another bus-tour service in town,” said Michael Murphy, founder and visionary behind Magic Bus Tours.

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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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Rocky Mountain Westy

You don’t often see a growing business based on a product that hasn’t been made in almost 20 years, but twin brothers Mike and Greg LaBate built this at Rocky Mountain Westy (RMW). RMW designs, manufacturers, and sells camping and lifestyle parts to Volkswagen Vanagon “Westy” van enthusiasts and service centers worldwide. These products help the van owner upgrade or convert the Westy van, often to performance levels above the original factory model, such as

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The Fox and the Crow

What do cheese and art have in common? Both excite the pallet and have rich stories, according to The Fox and the Crow owner Tina Mooney, a cheesemonger and art history major. The Fox and the Crow brings artisan cheeses and meats to mid-town Fort Collins. They understand that the world of artisan cheese can be intimidating and have crafted their shop to welcome people who may stumble in serendipitously. Little signs like: “We cut

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