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Success Stories

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 idea and a name – Rain Boutique – first visualized while enjoying a summer shower. When a few of her favorite shops in Old Town Fort Collins closed, she started traveling to Flatiron Crossing in Broomfield to shop at stores that suited her style. While speaking to shop owners at the mall, Mouton learned that close to 40 percent of patrons at Flatiron Crossing were also traveling from northern Colorado for the same reasons.

Mouton took several classes at the SBDC, including Know Thy Numbers: Basic Bookkeeping; So You Want to Start a Business; I Need Financing, What Now?; and Credit Card Processing. Then she started working with Andrea Grant, her counselor, to build her business plan, find a location, secure financing and procure inventory.

Mouton came back from her first buyers’ fair so excited about the merchandise she saw but a little overwhelmed as well – there were 3,500 different brands and suppliers with many products not available in Fort Collins. Within a few days of returning from New York, Mouton received loan approval. She was on her way to achieving her dreams.

“Once I found the right space, I started working on store layouts, finalizing inventory and renovating the space,” said Mouton. “I found going to buy apparel complete madness, especially when I had to stick to a budget, but it was so much fun to finally see it all come together.”

Overall, Mouton says that having a great support system – through friends, family and the SBDC – really made a big difference.

Clay’s Ace Hardware

In 2014, Tim and Julie Kenney purchased Clay’s Ace Hardware, a mainstay of south Fort Collins since the original owners, Jim and Lisa Clay, started the store in 1998. Tim and Julie felt the entrepreneurial call, but did not necessarily want to start their own business, so they began looking for businesses to purchase. Their focus rested on a brand that was recognizable, and an existing business that had a culture built around service to

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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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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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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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Java Raiz

Need a quick boost of healthy energy? Java Raiz can save your day. Made with organic Flame raisins grown in California and 100% Kona coffee from Hawaii, Java Raiz is a healthy treat you can take anywhere. The ingredients are simple, but extremely good for you. Organic Flame raisins are made from red grapes, which include more antioxidants than a typical (Thompson) raisin. Kona coffee beans are grown in volcanic soil, which provides many more

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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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