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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!

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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Fernweh Hostel

Walking up to the Fernweh Inn & Hostel, you pass through a white picket fence into a well-kept yard with a random dog toy or two scattered about. The Fernweh immediately feels like home, which is exactly what owner and founder Kelsey Schwager envisioned. “My goal is to give guests an amazing experience so they’ll continue to stay at other hostels while traveling. The Fernweh provides a safe, clean and comfortable environment, which is what

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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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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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Clean Bees

Clean Bees Homekeepers Cleaning Up! When Katie Straubel moved from Florida to Colorado in 2001, she took a job doing house-cleaning to make ends meet.  Eight years later, she earned a history degree from CSU, while continuing to work in the cleaning industry. Today, she is the proud confident owner of Clean Bees, a Northern Colorado cleaning company with 35 employees and over $1M in annual sales! Katie says “I worked in the restaurant business,

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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

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