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Success Stories

Trailcraft Cycles

When their son Elijah was three, Ginger and Brett Rosenbauer put him on a bike and he took off like a rocket.

Elijah just turned seven when he got his first “real” bike, and it turned out to be heavy, and needing modification. So, it was in the hot tub of their west Fort Collins home that Ginger, a stay at home mom and Brett, an executive at the Fort Collins bike manufacturer Niner, decided to start Trailcraft, a bike company devoted to small ones—kids, and now, small adults.

Coming up with an idea is one thing, putting together a business is another. Brett took on the task of researching:
“I have a pretty good pulse on the market, so I feel like we saw a trend, maybe three years before it was ready, and we launched at the prime time,” he said.

Ginger set about the work of learning how to run a business. As a MSW social worker, her education didn’t help much, but when Public Service Credit Union recommended she seek help at the SBDC, she was delighted.

“I needed help with the accounting piece, with inventory and cash flow analysis,” Ginger said.
And I got it with assistance from SBDC consultant Andrea (Grant). She’s been a great help.

“Andrea gave us a great set of spreadsheets that has had a profound effect—inventory management, cash flow analysis. This has been really helpful in going to the banks. It (made) us look really professional as a company to have all our ducks in a row. It’s meant we’ve been able to get good lending– which has been super important to us.”

“We did a first small run of 50 frames and parts. We launched two ways, on Kickstarter and our website with Rocket Jones.” Ginger added.

“I think both Ginger and I saw this as an opportunity to create our own business that will work with our family. We can take Fridays off and go camping together. At Niner I was the original Fort Collins employee. It was a lot of work—70-80-hour weeks, so I’ve got an understanding of what it takes to start a company from the beginning,” Brett said.

“The key is that we captured a market that was emerging,” said Ginger. “We were able to see, like Niner in the 29-inch wheels, that the market timing was just right when we launched with Trailcraft. Now, the market is really taking notice.

“We’ve gone from focusing solely on little kids to 9-14 year olds with our 27” bike and now an even bigger bike designed for smaller women.”

“We have fun playful bikes for anyone who’s under 5”6’,” Brett said.

What would the Rosenbauers recommend for budding entrepreneurs? Go to the SBDC, Ginger says. “It is so amazing to me the level of professional advice and it’s free, it just blows my mind.”

Rain Boutique

Opening Rain Boutique, a shop featuring refreshingly wearable clothing with a sprinkling of unique gifts and housewares, took a lot of guidance. That was when Kristin Mouton turned to the Larimer County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for practical advice. “My counselor at SBDC really kept me going and gave me a lot of reassurance, even after I had been turned down by two banks for a business loan,” said Mouton. Mouton started with an

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Clay’s Ace Hardware

In 2014, Tim and Julie Kenney purchased Clay’s Ace Hardware, a mainstay of south Fort Collins since the original owners, Jim and Lisa Clay, started the store in 1998. Tim and Julie felt the entrepreneurial call, but did not necessarily want to start their own business, so they began looking for businesses to purchase. Their focus rested on a brand that was recognizable, and an existing business that had a culture built around service to

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The Cooking Studio

Fifteen years ago, Trish O’Neill took her first cooking class and she was hooked! She began cooking inspired meals from scratch and it soon became her passion. Over the next 15 years she traveled for her career, all the while taking cooking classes as a hobby while on her travels. This cultivated the idea that would eventually bring Trish and her talent to Fort Collins to open The Cooking Studio, a place for amateur cooks,

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Equine Veterinary Services

Stephanie Brault’s passion is working with horses. Providing them with the highest quality veterinary care has been her profession since 1988. After more than 10 years of working in academic veterinary medicine at the University of California Davis and most recently at Colorado State University, Stephanie purchased a private veterinary business in July of this year. While Stephanie is an expert in the field of veterinary medicine, she had no business experience prior to purchasing

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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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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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