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Success Stories

Teaching Tree Early Childhood LC

Northern Colorado businesses are working hard to fill workforce needs. One of the main barriers is the availability and cost of child care, which can run as high as $16,000 annually for infant care. Teaching Tree, a nonprofit with facilities in Fort Collins and Loveland, has provided quality child care since 1970, with much of this care supporting low-moderate income families. Teaching Tree is undertaking an ambitious expansion that will double its child care capacity in Fort Collins.

Serving children from infancy through age five, Teaching Tree provides stimulating programs, healthy meals, and recreation, all geared to develop the whole child. Teaching Tree currently supports 49 children in Loveland, and 101 at its Fort Collins center, located in a city-owned building that Teaching Tree shares with United Way of Larimer County. Upon learning of United Way’s plans to relocate, Teaching Tree entered into a unique partnership with United Way and the City to expand in place, enabling the center to double in size and increase its child care capacity to over 200 kids!

Anne Lance, Teaching Tree’s Executive Director since 2002, was referred to the Larimer SBDC by the City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability office. The expansion would require $2M in capital funding, plus projections that Teaching Tree could continue to operate successfully. “Tapping into the expertise of the SBDC help guide our development of a business plan, complete with cost projections,” said Anne.

Anne and Teaching Tree’s long-time grant writer, Kathy Hayes, had several meetings with the SBDC to develop the plan, including financials. “The SBDC helped us develop a concise business plan and provided a lot of help with financials, cost projections and organizational charts,” Anne said. “They recommended we get a line-of-credit to help with cash flow unpredictability. A big key was when the SBDC helped present the plan to our board. They gave a simplified view from an outsider’s perspective, which was informative, especially to our newer board members.”

Teaching Tree has already raised over 70% of the $2M required for the expansion, and is also evaluating low-interest financing options. The facility expansion is expected to be completed in early 2020.

The Larimer SBDC is proud to assist a great organization like Teaching Tree!

Colorado Coffee Company

Creating Community Through Coffee  Expanding a business during the difficulties that 2020 brought may seem impossible, but Colorado Coffee Company has managed to do that and more. The business has been a Northern Colorado staple for about 30 years, originally starting in the Foothills Mall in Fort Collins, but current owner Stacy Kliner has built a community around the established brand in the last five years as they’ve refocused in Loveland.  It was poised to be a great year

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Daniël-James van den Berg and DJM Design

Daniël-James van den Berg and DJM Design have both come a long way over the years. Literally and figuratively. Born in South Africa, Daniël-James is a self-described Ginger, family man, Web Agency owner and newly naturalized U.S. Citizen with a double first name who enjoys doing freestyle breakdancing in his spare time.   We barely finished the tour of his Greeley office space when his wife, Joy, and their 16-month-old daughter, Zona, stopped by. “Joy keeps

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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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The Magic Bus Tours

Fort Collins has an amazing amount of things to see and do. No business, however, had offered a service as fun and forward thinking as Magic Bus Tours to create a unique and educational experience around the local activities. “When I first started visiting Fort Collins, I loved learning about the local history, lifestyles and culture, but I couldn’t find another bus-tour service in town,” said Michael Murphy, founder and visionary behind Magic Bus Tours.

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Compost Queen

A backyard composter, Jamie Blanchard-Poling knew something had to change for how composting is done locally with small piles and only in the warmer months. “I  wondered why there wasn’t a solution—not in Northern Colorado. I decided I could be that solution,” said owner and queen Blanchard-Poling. Blanchard-Poling founded Compost Queen in 2018, operating it on partner farm sites until March 2023, when, with state grant funding, she was able to open her headquarters at

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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

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