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Success Stories

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 installing more-powerful Subaru engines. RMW also does service work on Westys, plus Dodge and Mercedes camper vans, at its Terry Lake (north Fort Collins) facility. Mike says “We’re working on 30-40 year old vehicles. We’re solution-oriented”. Mike handles business development, and Greg handles the R&D and operations.

In the 90’s, Mike worked as a mechanic at a European auto repair shop. “The owner hated working on Westys, so I started buying, then repairing them. Then I started selling them on eBay. By mid-2000, everybody wanted one. We incorporated in 2004, and Greg became a partner in 2005.” RMW bought the 7000 sq ft Terry Lake fabrication facility in 2007. In 2017 RMW acquired a California-based Westy parts supplier, and added a leased 4000 sq ft parts warehouse. RMW will purchase a 16,000 sq ft north Fort Collins facility in the summer of 2018.

Mike works regularly with Larimer SBDC consultant Andrea Grant. “I get guidance on what’s really important. I can’t imagine what our business would be like without it. It’s those little nuggets that you take away, and how to address challenges. My business has grown 20 times from when I started getting consulting.” Andrea was the Larimer SBDC’s 2015 consultant of the year. Mike also receives human resource consulting from the SBDC, and participates in LoCo Think Tank, a Northern Colorado peer advisory organization.

RMW will do $6M in sales this year, with twenty one employees. Mike says his top two challenges are “Adapting our infrastructure to our growth, including workforce; and embracing technology. I’m learning the healthy combination of doing this for the passion and the money. I still have my first van!”

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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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

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The Cooking Studio

Fifteen years ago, Trish O’Neill took her first cooking class and she was hooked! She began cooking inspired meals from scratch and it soon became her passion. Over the next 15 years she traveled for her career, all the while taking cooking classes as a hobby while on her travels. This cultivated the idea that would eventually bring Trish and her talent to Fort Collins to open The Cooking Studio, a place for amateur cooks,

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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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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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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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