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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!”

Spidertrax Off-Road

Thom Kingston helped start Loveland-based Spidertrax Off-Road not in a garage like some startups but in a fully equipped shop at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 1999, Kingston and his former partner and co-founder, Eddie Casanueva, initially snuck into the school after-hours to develop and manufacture parts for the off-road industry until they got official approval and could work during the daytime. “We were manufacturing all of our parts, using the tools of

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CF&G Public Market & Coffeehouse

CF&G Public Market & Coffeehouse, located inside the historic Colorado Feed & Grain landmark in the heart of Timnath, is owned and operated by Becca Bay.   The building has a long history that begins with its original construction in 1920. You can read all about it on the café table tops! Becca’s Public Market-style layout includes a café, artisan goods, and a Farmer’s Market that runs May through October as well an event venue.   Becca

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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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The Pig & The Plow Farmstead Bakery

You may have read the popular Farming Fort Collins Blog turned online farm and ranch directory, turned e-zine, The Pig & The Plow: From the Field, but have you stopped by the Pig & Plow Bakery and met the woman behind it all?   Erica Glaze has been busy. After growing up in the fresh, local food scene of New England, she saw a need when she moved to this area back in 2003. “I worked

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Beau & Belle Littles

The true measure of a successful product is: Does it solve a customer problem? As new, active parents, Paul and Rachelle Baron faced a common problem when trying to take their little one swimming. They wanted a high quality, reusable swim diaper that handled solid waste well, but there was nothing on the market that met their standards. “The problems we saw were that disposables were not good quality, didn’t contain solid waste well, and

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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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