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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!

Deaf Communication Services

Sharon Nutt was working as a sign language interpreter for a larger firm when she decided, “I can provide better service, and make more money”. In 2009, she founded Deaf Communication Services (DCS), focused primarily on arranging sign language medical interpreting for Deaf patients. When asked to describe her “secret sauce”, Sharon replied, “having prior experience as an interpreter really helped.  Interpreters like dealing with us, because of how we treat them, and because we value their

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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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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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Pateros Creek Brewery

When Steve Jones of Pateros Creek Brewery began the journey to turn his passion for brewing beer into a business, he may not have predicted just how long that trip might take. Much like a raft trip down Pateros Creek – an early name for the Cache la Poudre River – the route from concept to selling beer had a few obstacles in store. After trade marking a business name and announcing it, another local

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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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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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