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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 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!”

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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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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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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Blue Pine Construction

Blue Pine Construction is based in Wellington, and run by the husband and wife team of Mike and Lorilyn Bockelman. Their company does home  construction/remodeling, and a variety of outdoor “decking” projects, throughout Northern Colorado. Mike’s construction background, combined with Lorilyn’s retail management experience, makes for a productive combination. They have grown the business significantly over the last few years. Blue Pine Construction now has 10 full time employees, including a new production manager. Mike is a Air

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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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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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