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Success Stories

Affiliation Welding

Affiliation Welding is based in Greeley, CO and provides welding and fabrication services for customers in Northern Colorado. Affiliation specializes in plastic welding & fabrication and serves residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Our Beginnings

Alex is a Colorado native and is proud to serve the community his family has lived in for over 100 years. Before opening Affiliation Welding, Alex worked for a local research and development company as the lead welder and fabricator while putting himself through school at Aims Community College. After graduating with an associate degree in welding technology, Alex started planning for opening a company in the welding industry. Alex’s skills revolve around computer-aided design, CNC machining, and being a certified welder. With his experience in research and development, Alex offers prototyping and product development as an additional service.
Alex says, “this is where the story really begins, there is life before business and life after business. From my experience, it will change you, for the better. There has been nothing more liberating in my life than starting this journey. I have learned that anyone with passion, support, and grit can achieve more than they ever thought. Owning a small business is equally a personal journey as well as a financial one.”

Name and Mission

Affiliation derived its name from the way Alex conducts business. When Affiliation is serving a customer, they are working together to create value and build a relationship. As a result, many customers Affiliation serves are on a continuous basis. Affiliation gets involved with the customer beyond the job by looking for ways to add value, proficiency, and safety to products and processes.

Affiliation is forward-thinking in business and bases relationships on trust, constructive honesty and respect while providing a quality service focused on success and repeat business. Additionally, Affiliation doesn’t look at other service professionals as competition. Alex regularly works with others in the plastic and metal industry to provide expertise where he is needed. Alex says, “when companies can work together to provide a service to the end customer, we all win. We all get a piece of the pie, and most importantly we are able to give our customers a quality product or end result. As skilled workers we all have slightly different skills, when we combine our skills, we can do great things.”

Customers We Serve

Affiliation most often serves industrial customers. For example, any business dealing in manufacturing products including but not limited to water distribution, plastic distribution, laboratories, medical facilities, food processing, and oil and gas industries. Commercial customers would include retail stores, housing and service professionals. Affiliation Welding is also proud to serve residential customers and homeowners with the same range of services.

Continuing Business

In just over a year Affiliation has been able to create and grow many relationships with trust and opportunity. The experience and skill to weld metal and plastic allows Affiliation to diversify its customer base and break into more markets than a typical welding shop. Alex looks forward to the upcoming opportunities in welding and fabrication of metal and plastic. Both industries have the potential to grow and Alex aims to position the company at the front of this growth.

The SBDC Influence

From the owner:
I started working with the Small Business Development Center at the end of 2018. One year later, I couldn’t see myself getting this far with my business without the guidance from the East Colorado SBDC. I have a lot of respect for those who work at the SBDC. This service has so much value, and it’s free! I have never been disappointed with the service they provide. When you get to know the people there you can’t help but recognize the wealth of knowledge and passion they have for business. This organization has helped changed my life! Take the chance and give them a call- I did.

Hogan Design Group

I’m Richard Hogan, Owner of Hogan Design Group LLC. Hogan Design Group provides website design, hosting, and graphics for its customers. The goals of HDG are to help small businesses in Sterling and Logan County to grow and prosper. Affordable pricing and the ability to build professional responsive websites on our own hosting platform was my goal three years ago when I escaped Denver’s rising rent and settled in Sterling. Building a website for Elements Roofing had allowed me to make the move to Sterling. I found hope and guidance by wandering into the offices of Vocational Rehabilitation and SBDC.

Getting started with the East CO SBDC

Being a Disabled Veteran I found that Vocational Rehabilitation would help fund my new business. They got me started and said I should walk upstairs and see the SBDC people. That same day I met Laurie Jones ( East CO SBDC ) and Trey Miller (Logan County Economic Development). Laurie is actually a very good website designer too and found out that I knew what I was talking about. Her spirit and guidance in developing the initial business plan that was needed for the funding from Voc Rehab got me off to the right start. The humble Trey who took the time out to listen to my story provided inspiration and purpose to the huge task I was about to embark upon. They had seen who I was and my confidence grew that I had found my calling in this good city.

SBDC had set up a workshop at Northeastern Junior College. The seminar was very enlightening. I’m a lousy salesman but enjoy helping people with my talents. The summary of this workshop showed me that helping businesses was what I needed to be doing. No more sales for me, just help them if I could. Everything else would fall in place.

Building a Business

Meeting with Laurie Jones kept me working on the Voc Rehab project. The business plan grew slowly but really helped me solidify the ideas of what was needed to make Hogan Design Group a success.

I set off to help the local addiction recovery community. This resulted in an events calendar that recovering people could use to find meetings or help at any time they needed it. My first real Pro-Bono work. PTSD, depression and my other disabilities became a struggle but working on the Recovery Girls website kept me going. Today, we are working together to turn it into a new website.

Times got very rough financially. Trey Miller announced an SBDC Freelancer Fair. There I meet other freelancers who could help in other areas of my business. Also, Better Electric, a top-notch electrical company based in Sterling asked about my services. We ended in upgrading their existing website BetterElectric.com. The job was finished just in time for me to have a heart attack. I was taking the phrase “Got to start somewhere” to new levels.

Five days in the hospital and I was back to work when I got home. I felt blessed that I was able to do this and was able to work on long term client projects which helped keep me afloat.

Logan County and Trey Miller had gotten very serious about having a coworking space. Having my ideas heard and attending meetings brought me closer to the community of Sterling. With the grant obtained through the Certified Small Business Community, “The Annex,” was opened. This is where I prefer to hold meetings with clients. Soon I will be paying a year in advance for its services. It is yet another inspiration that allows small business owners to feel that they make a difference.

Perseverance – the key to any business model

The true heroes here are those from SBDC, Vocational Rehabilitation, Tarren Riley and Amy Willams who provided the last push on my business plan. After two years and resubmitting it twice though Voc Rehab, it was finally accepted. That allowed me to finalize my website, go LLC, get updated office equipment and start advertising in The South Plate and Journal-Advocate.

Blessings to Callie Jones for writing this story and the newspapers for publishing it. I have already been able to help others because of the article. Because of the help SBDC gave me, my gifts will be allowed to shine on others.

RC Auto Detail & Carpet Cleaning

Building a Business

The fall of Circuit City, where I was a store manager, started my hunt to redefine who I am and what I will do. After spending years in retail and business operations, I wanted to start and run my own business. I thought I could build it, and of course people would use this new company and services that I started.

Wow – looking back now I am glad I didn’t know how hard it would be. I probably would not of started it, but here we are 13 years later with 2 locations in Northern Colorado and growing.

Pivoting RC Auto for Growth

The changes that had to be made helped define me – from economical client to the changes in technology and products. What a whirlwind I could not have know when I started. I have to thank all of my business community, friends, partners, and those I call family in business. Without these resources and support I would not be where I am for sure. It takes a village for sure. Never think you can do it alone it has taken hundreds of folks along the way. Here is to the next 13 years.

The Hipstir Wagon

We are a food trailer with a permanent location as well as the ability to go to special events in the area. The Hipstir Wagon roots are a bakery – making donuts, cinnamon rolls, and good coffee. Our menu has expanded already to include several egg-based breakfast items and lunch sandwiches. The list of pastries we can prepare has also expanded to fruit turnovers, crescent rolls, apple fritters (with a gluten-free version), and fruit and cheese-filled brioche loaves. All of our pastries and other items are made from scratch and baked or fried in the trailer.

Working with the SBDC

The East Colorado SBDC has been very supportive of us along the entire process of thinking about starting a business to planning a business to finding a place for a business to putting all the pieces together and actually getting started. The continuing support that we receive from Troy and Raejean is much appreciated as we maneuver through our first year of being in business.

“Best donuts in the world”

As we are now in our fourth month of business, we are seeing slow and steady growth. More locals are coming to us regularly and we’re getting big growth in the number of wind farm workers coming for our excellent breakfast options. We’re also seeing more highway traffic from those passing through town seeking a non-fast food option. Many visitors comment on the cuteness of our trailer and how it caught their eye as they were driving past. Even more importantly to us, we are hearing things like, “My kids thought those were the best donuts they’ve ever had,” or, “Your donuts are so good! How can all these people just continue to drive by a place that is making the best donuts in the world?”

E C Translations Logo

E C Translations

My name is Curtis Cox. My wife, Elsa, and I had been earning extra money for many years by translating documents of various kinds between Spanish and English. In 2013, we felt that it was time to turn our side sources of income into a full-fledged business. So, in March, of that year, we began E C Translations. the “E” is for Elsa and the “C” is for Curtis; plus, it sounded like “easy.” Not knowing how that was ever done, I looked for help at our local Small Business Development Center, and I’ve continued to go there regularly ever since.

In the beginning, our intention was just to translate documents between Spanish and English. We had been doing so for many years. As we networked with people and businesses, we realized that there was a demand for verbal interpretation. When we included that to our business, things really started to take off. We primarily interpret for workman’s compensation cases, which involves attending doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and other medical appointments – even surgeries. We also provide interpretation services for early childhood intervention. Here we interpret for therapists and families, in their homes, with children from newborn to three years old who have special needs. Although the majority of the appointment are medical-related, it is not the only type of appointment we have interpreted for. We have interpreted for graduation ceremonies, parent/teacher conferences, community events, business conferences, and even church services.

Interpretation and Translation Services

The interpreting branch of our business can be considered the “bread and butter” source of our income because it has been more consistent. While the translation branch is the “cherry on top.” It is more lucrative, but it is not consistent. This year, we are seeing a larger and more consistent volume of translations jobs than in previous years! I have to credit SBDC with assisting is seeing that type of growth in our business.

Since we began in 2013, we have been able to help people with their Spanish translations needs in 10 different countries in North, Central, and South America. The translations branch can be further divided into two categories – individuals and businesses.

For the individual, we have helped many with the immigration process by translating their birth certificates, marriage licenses and other documents that are required of them. This has been not only for individuals who immigrate to the United States. We translate for individuals from the United States, who are planning to go to Spanish-speaking countries. This type of translation is common for us, but it is not the only way we have helped individuals with their translations needs. We have helped people by translating simple letters to entire books!

For the businesses, we have translated a range of items. We work on marketing materials to help our clients reach out to those in the community who are primarily Spanish speaking. We’ve also worked on employee manuals for businesses that have workers who are predominately Spanish speaking. E C Translations provides a discount to organizations that serve the community – such as local museums. For many years we have translated pamphlets into Spanish for the Greeley Museum to offer their visitors to enhance the experience at exhibits. On very special occasions, we have even offered to translate or interpret between Spanish and English pro bono.

Working with the SBDC

As an owner of a small business, you are basically accountable to just yourself – not counting the clients of course. Going to the SBDC has given me a certain degree of accountability – which I need. It is not in any official way, but it is embarrassing to go to the next appointment to see Kyla, our SBDC consultant, and have to admit that I hadn’t completed my “homework!” Throughout the years, with the help of Kyla, we have been steadily growing as a business. A key area in which Kyla has helped us is to better promote our business and have a larger footprint online, which seems to be the most common way for our clients to find us. We have recently reached a point where we are able to transition from a basic partnership to an LLC! We look forward to what the future holds for our business!

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