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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.”

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

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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

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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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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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HomeCare of the Rockies

Sandi McCann of Longmont found that when she provided caregiving for her stepmother, she wanted the same kind of meaningful work in her professional life. Sandi had been a marketer for 27 years and was tired of the career, so she launched her own business. She and her younger sister, Maureen, who also desired a career change, started HomeCare of the Rockies, Inc., in April 2012. She is president and chief executive officer and a

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Branch Out Cider

The idea for Branch Out Cider, a community orchard that produces apple wine from neighborhood trees, began with one special apple tree. When Aaron Fodge and Matt Fater sat down to discuss their business and share their story, they were quick to point out the lush, flowering apple tree in their neighborhood that started it all. “The tree was loaded, so we made cider with it!” That was the first year. The next year they

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