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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.”

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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The Spruce House and More

Some entrepreneurs wear the label of ‘serial entrepreneur’ proudly, and Diane Muno is no exception. She spent 15 years in healthcare management as part owner of a Chicago business that was successfully sold. She began looking for a business to buy when she found The Spruce House in Estes Park. “It had a cozy feel, like Grandma’s house, along with good financials.” In 2010, she celebrated the grand opening of The Spruce House and The

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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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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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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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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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