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Success Stories

High Plains Dice and Games

High Plains Dice and Games started with a little girl who loved to read books. I fell into worlds filled with Dragons, Ghosts, Shield-maidens, and Magic. Worlds that I longed for and dreamt of. As I got older that desire for fantastically magical worlds was filled thanks to Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Board Games. As an adult, I discovered the “Friendly Local Game Store”, a place filled to the brim with all the things (and more) that I loved. I saw communities being formed and friendships being built in those spaces. Ultimately when deciding where to move after my husband’s enlistment in the U.S. Army was complete, we chose a town with a local game store. Sadly that store closed shortly before Covid hit at the end of 2019 and our town and surrounding area were left without a community space for these hobbies and passions. 

Meeting The SBDC

By the time 2021 rolled around I started playing with the idea in the back of my head; “How cool would it be to build my own Game Store and Community right here, where it’s needed?”. I reached out to Laurie at the East Colorado SBDC and she helped me flesh out the idea sitting in my brain. She offered templates, advice, recommendations, and connections to others that were imperative to me forming a real business plan and getting my business license. Even when I felt overwhelmed and had to step back for a couple of months, Laurie was supportive and understanding. After working through my mental block I pushed forward and with the help of Laurie, I got in touch with Valerie at the North East Colorado Revolving Loan Fund based out of Yuma. Both Laurie and Valerie believed in the vision I had for my store and took a chance on me, a first-time business owner with no business degree or experience. Thanks to both of these amazing women along with help from close friends I opened High Plains Dice and Games two months earlier than anticipated and beat my sales projections by more than 5 times in the first month.

Game Store Creating Community

Although we are still a fledgling business that is constantly learning from our mistakes, growing with each new experience and evaluating ever changing problems I truly believe that the people of Sterling and the surrounding communities spoke Loud and Clear. This space was not only wanted, but needed. Providing an inclusive, safe environment for all of our patrons is my top priority in addition to providing unique and amazing events, products and displays. Owning a business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done outside of motherhood but I wouldn’t change it for one second. Thanks to the SBDC, The Revolving Loan Fund, and all of my absolutely amazing friends I was able to breathe life back into several communities, give opportunities for other small business owners to showcase their wares, and most importantly, give other little girls reading books a place to see their dreams become reality.

Meet Shelby Brandes

My name is Shelby Brandes. I’m 30 years old, married to my high school sweetheart, and the owner of High Plains Dice and Games. My love of science fiction and gaming along with the strong desire to form friendships and build community has led me on the journey of creating a space for people just like me.. I love playing board games with our friends and our two daughters and have fallen in love with photography over the last two years.  I love to learn and create new things and hope that I can see my dream of a Game Store in Sterling come to life and build the space I’ve always dreamt of.

Blossom Baby Co, LLC

Blossom Baby Co, LLC is owned and operated by a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law duo – Tabi Jaramillo and Kayla Jaramillo. Kayla is a mother of four, and Tabi is a mother of three adult children and grandma to five grandchildren. Blossom Baby Co became a dream three years ago while Kayla was expecting and had to travel nearly an hour for early gender determination and her 3D/4D scan. She saw a need for this experience in the Greeley/Windsor area. Tabi and Kayla are beyond excited and proud to bring this resource to Northern Colorado!

Dream to Fruition

Now, about the business: Blossom Baby Co treasures the opportunity to be invited into the sacred prenatal period for expecting parents and families. It’s a great honor to be given the opportunity to help families meet and bond with their baby before their grand debut. At Blossom Baby Co you can invite siblings, family and friends to share your baby’s first smiles, yawns, waves, and stretches. Now offering sonography, early gender determination starting at 6 weeks pregnant, and a mom and baby boutique.

Working with the SBDC

Kyla, Associate Director at the East Colorado SBDC, has been involved with the start-up of Blossom Baby Co, LLC since February, 2022. The start-up of this business venture fell into place very quickly, and Kyla has been such an asset to help stay organized, provide resources and suggest ideas. She has met as often as was needed and helped to utilize the tools needed for business planning. The partnership with her and the SBDC have been a great asset for a new business.

Meet the Owners

Kayla has graduated as a RMA, worked as a birth doula, and owned a newborn photography studio. She has also volunteered time to the NILMDTS organization. 

Tabi has her MBA, previously worked in the corporate field for 20+ years, and has her real estate license. Tabi loves her grandchildren, and is actively involved with her church. 

Logo of Huberds

Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company

In 1921, the United States was just coming out of World War I and kicking off the Roaring ‘20s. Babe Ruth broke the home run record with the Yankees. Coco Chanel introduced “Chanel No. 5”. John Glenn, a future astronaut, was born. And, in a small town in Oregon, an enterprising young man named J.W. Huberd concocted a leather care product out of beeswax and pine tar. Mr. Huberd traveled to logging camps throughout the Pacific Northwest and promoted his new product. Within a short time the lumbermen and outdoor laborers declared Huberd’s Shoe Grease the only thing they would use to waterproof and preserve their valuable leather boots and equipment.

100 Years and Growing

Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company turned 100 years old in 2021! 

Colorado is the perfect modern-day home for Huberd’s with its many outdoor enthusiasts whose need to protect their leather hasn’t changed. Our vintage cans say “McMinnville Oregon” on them, but every can of Huberd’s now says “Bennett, Colorado.” These cans end up all over the USA and the world. What hasn’t changed are the business values and family ownership pride that is celebrated as the company moves into its second century of business growth and success. 

Carrying on tradition & Working with SBDC

Now located in Bennett, CO, every can of Huberd’s is still made from the original recipes and poured by hand in small batches using dependable equipment from the 1940’s! Huberd products are packaged in 100% recyclable metal cans like they were 100 years ago contributing to both the nostalgic appeal and the sustainability of the products. Most of the ingredients and materials come from long time suppliers here in the United States. 

Michael and Stacey Cranwill now work together full time blending, boxing, and shipping shoe grease and other products across the United States and the world. Stacey’s father works part time as a Sales Manager and their two daughters, Vivi and Adeline, are learning first hand the hard work and dedication it takes to run a small family business. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the business has continued to thrive and grow. 

Since moving to Colorado, Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company has significantly increased sales and inventory. The first order of cans, made possible by the SBDC and a SBA loan, was for 25K cans. The next order was for 50K cans, and the latest order was for 100K cans. This has led to increasing needs for manufacturing space as well. Huberd’s started shipping in Colorado out of a 12×20 Tuff Shed, then moved to a 1500 ft2 quonset shed, and then to a 5000 ft2 shop building. Huberd’s is working with Craig Curl and the Colorado Enterprise Fund again to purchase land and build a new manufacturing facility for continued growth. 

Huberd's History

By 1929, Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company set up manufacturing in an old cannery building in McMinnville, Oregon. 

The company expanded their marketing efforts by attending county fairs, small-town expositions, and trade shows. The company was successfully run in the pacific northwest for the next 70 years. The economic challenges were formidable, but Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company gained a loyal customer base which helped it weather a Depression, another World War, multiple recessions, and finally a global pandemic. 

After decades of supplying product to loyal customers, the early 2000’s presented new challenges for Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company. Old established distribution channels shifted direction and retail outlets began to give way to online sales. This required a shift in manufacturing and marketing strategies that eventually led to a change in ownership. After decades as a family business in Oregon, Huberd’s was sold and quietly languished for over a decade. During this time many retailers and customers thought Huberd’s had gone out of business. In 2015, the owner passed away unexpectedly. Through mutual acquaintances, Michael Cranwill was asked to step in to help run Huberd’s and was eventually offered the chance to buy the flagging business. 

In 2017, Michael and Stacey Cranwill purchased Huberd’s Shoe Grease Company and relocated it to their home state of Colorado.

Terry Fox

Fox Haven Aesthetics

Prior to working with the East Colorado SBDC, my practice, Fox Haven Aesthetics, was located on the west side of Ft. Collins. However, I lived in Windsor (and still do!) After seven years making the commute, I decided to start working in Windsor. In order to make that transition a reality, I knew I’d need help.

Working with East CO

Associate Director, Kyla Benson, helped me get in touch with the City of Windsor and the Windsor Chamber of Commerce. She advised me about Local and State regulations and she introduced me to the Business Librarian at the Windsor Public Library. I never even knew there was such a person! Currently, she’s helping me in writing a solid Business Plan.

It took me almost 4 months to make the move, but thanks to the East Colorado SBDC, I now have my clinic located in downtown Windsor

I’m looking forward to bringing Traditional Chinese Medicine to the good folks of Windsor and Severance. Thank you, East Colorado SBDC!

About Fox Haven

At Fox Haven Aesthetics, I help women feel more confident in their own skin. My Aesthetic treatments will help look and feel your best!
The clear-cut process takes the mystery out of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, preaching prevention first and intervention second. I work in integrity with each patient on an individual basis, providing customized care and fresh insight into your specific health issues. 

Sisu Therapies

Sisu Therapies was founded by married couple Laura Simenson, DPT, and Joe Schroeder, DPT in January 2020. For 15 years, the couple had a long-standing goal of starting a therapy and wellness practice together that offers a dynamic and holistic pathway leading to healthier lifestyles. When the space at 1230 W. Ash Street became available in December 2019, it finally seemed that all the pieces were starting to fall into place.

Working with East CO

Although Joe and Laura have over 30+ years of clinical and managerial experience in various therapy departments, they knew they were going to need some additional help to get their business up and running. They had started working with representatives from Larimer and Weld County SBDCs. Ultimately, because their business would be based out of Windsor (Weld County location), they connected with Kyla Benson, Associate Director and Consultant with the East Colorado SBDC. Working with Kyla has been one of the best connections that the owners of Sisu Therapies have made. Kyla has been a wealth of information from formulating a solid business plan, to financial and legal contacts, to help in promoting their business. Her experience, knowledge, and passion to help small businesses thrive is indomitable. The relationship started in 2019 and they still know that she is there for them when they may need additional advice regarding their business.

Opening amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although Sisu Therapies was formed in June 2019, it did not officially open its doors to the public until April 27th, 2020. Opening a small business certainly has its challenges on a normal basis, and to do so during a worldwide pandemic was the softest and slowest start that a business could ever go through. The challenges were insurmountable. Commercial insurance credentialing was delayed between 6-13 months, equipment and office furniture were delayed, and hygiene supplies were back-ordered or out of stock. Potential clients concerned (rightfully so) about their well-being or those they care for, were avoiding close contact with others. It was a recipe for a disastrous outcome for any new small business starting out.

Celebrating a Year in Business

Approaching its one-year anniversary, Sisu Therapies continues to push forward. 

Starting out with two Physical Therapists and a front desk coordinator, they’ve added 6 employees to their team over the past year. This included two of the most experienced therapists in the Greeley-Windsor-Fort Collins area: a full-time Certified Hand and Shoulder Specialist and a Medical Massage Therapist. To strengthen the team further, four Wellness Specialists with advanced training in working with individuals of all ages provide strength, conditioning, and nutrition services to clients. Sisu Therapies has also teamed up with a local Ambulatory Surgical Center to provide post-acute therapy care to the patients during their stay. Lastly, the physical therapy-focused practice aims to give back to the community and has served in events and programs around the communities to achieve this goal including volunteering at the Weld County Food Bank, adopting a trail with Windsor Parks and Recreation, and sponsoring a local running race.

Sisu Therapies is growing and adapting every week to meet the demands of the communities. The clientele is building as individuals learn about the therapy, wellness services, and committed care that is offered. As Windsor and the surrounding areas continue to expand, Sisu Therapies will be ready to support Physical Therapy and Wellness needs. SISU!