Success Stories

Golden Aspen Bilingual Preschool

Sisters, Marta and Anna, began dreaming about starting a bilingual preschool together, while living in different countries in 2020. They were working in preschools and shared their experiences, views, and learnings with each other. They wanted to create a preschool that offered bilingual, quality education with a multicultural perspective. Marta and Anna’s dreams materialized into a project once they moved to Colorado and found a community to offer their child care services. In March 2023, Golden Aspen Bilingual Preschool was opened in Gunbarrel, CO.

The center is bilingual (Spanish/English) and follows a play-based education philosophy. Much of the program is based on Reggio Emilia’s approach to early childhood education, and classrooms are mixed-age with children between 2 and 5 years. Multiculturalism is a strong component of the program, and the founders believe, “being exposed to different cultures enriches human beings”. Children are also provided with opportunities and tools for developing social-emotional skills in order to form healthy relationships.

At Golden Aspen Bilingual Preschool, children are offered a multicultural, quality education through an immersive, fun experience. The children are provided a safe environment to explore, learn Spanish, and grow among different cultures, races, nationalities, and backgrounds. The founders’ favorite aspects of their business are the interactions with the children and overall challenges and accomplishments that come with running a preschool. They are proud of the progress they have made along the way, “we started with a dream, and we now have a preschool”.

Marta and Anna first began working with the Boulder SBDC through its Spanish-language early childhood education provider training program and continue to participate in workshops and one-on-one consultations. They have received assistance with starting up, managing an early child care business, sales and marketing strategies, including best uses of social media, and other topics. Marta and Anna are grateful for the support they have received from the Boulder SBDC team and appreciate the variety of resources available at no cost, especially online and in Spanish, “SBDC has been accompanying us along the way, and it has been very helpful and a great support…They are very professional and supportive and have an amazing disposition to help small businesses”.

Golden Aspen Bilingual Preschool has found success in its receptivity in the Boulder community and is looking forward to its future growth. After only 9 months of opening, the preschool has a waitlist and will open its next classroom in 2024, “we are supporting the community, and the community of Boulder is supporting our growth; it has been an amazing journey! Thank you, SBDC”.

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Full Stop. Bakery

In November 2020, amidst a period of deep reflection, the journey of Full Stop. Bakery began. The founder Sadie Stutzman, then a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at CU, realized a need For change in her life trajectory. The desire to prioritize people and connections led to the pivot into the food industry. This shift was further fueled by the creation of The OG: Parm & Herb Sourdough Cracker, a collaborative effort with the founder’s mother and sister.

Full Stop. Bakery specializes in artisanal sourdough crackers, offering a range of five savory and one sweet seasonal variety. These crackers are unique for their versatility, pairing well with wine or serving as a snack on hiking trails. The sourdough aspect not only adds a distinct taste but also benefits easier digestion and promotes a healthier gut biome. The heart of Full Stop. lies in its people-centric approach. The founder cherishes the connections made with customers, colleagues, and mentors, viewing these relationships as the core motivation behind the business. This focus on people has been a guiding force, inspiring the founder to envision their crackers bringing joy to various life moments. The journey of Full Stop. has seen significant progress. Starting as a home bakery, it evolved into a commissary kitchen, with a growing team dedicated to the founder’s vision. The business has marked its growth through increased revenue, capacity expansion, and a widening customer base. Comfort zones are continuously challenged, paving the way for new phases of growth.

Sadie Stutzman’s participation in the Boulder SBDC’s Leading Edge course in 2023 was a pivotal moment. With an engineering background, the course provided foundational business
knowledge, networking opportunities, and a platform to develop an investor pitch. The guidance and mentorship from seasoned professionals at the SBDC have been invaluable,
offering insights and support in navigating the business landscape.

Full Stop. Bakery’s future is ambitious and bright. The founder envisions the brand achieving global recognition and establishing a Full Stop. Crackery in the United States. This space aims to educate visitors about sourdough, create lasting memories, and offer a variety of sourdough products. As Full Stop. Bakery continues to grow, its commitment to bringing
people together through food remains steadfast.

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MFB Fertility Inc. (Proov)

After three years of infertility and miscarriages, Dr. Amy Beckley used her own science expertise to uncover her own luteal phase defect – a problem with ovulation quality. With help from her doctor and a simple supplement, Amy was able to get pregnant with her daughter.

After her experience, Amy started Proov, a series of at home fertility tests, supplements, and guides. She wanted to create a better way to conceive that was faster and less costly. Proov is dedicated to helping couples conceive and empower women at every stage of life to track their own hormones quickly and easily at home. Amy says her favorite part of her company is, “seeing all the success stories and cute little babies Proov helped create.”

With the help of the Colorado TechSource program, Amy was able to apply for and be awarded multiple federal SBIR grants totaling over $2 million. According to Amy, ”The grant writing resource was amazing. It helped [Proov] apply for grants [they] wouldn’t have been able to. Grant income was the first money into the company and really helped [them] grow and be successful.” She also notes that, “Colorado is an amazing place to own a business,” with great resources and people.

In 2021, Proov was awarded FDA clearance and has since rolled out their own mobile app, raised millions of dollars in venture capital, and launched in Walgreens stores across the US. They are now working to get into hormone health for menopause to help women in their 40’s navigate the “tricky perimenopause transition so they can thrive”.

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Dulceria BomBon

Linda’s passion for Mexican culture and traditions, along with her enthusiasm for cake making, inspired her to open her dulceria (candy store) in 2016. She wanted to share the vibrant and delicious aspects of Mexican culture with her local community. Through her business, Dulceria BomBon, Linda brings unique candies, piñatas, and custom cakes for all celebrations and everyday enjoyment to Longmont, CO.

Dulceria BomBon offers a wide variety of Mexican candies, authentic piñatas, and customizable cake orders for all occasions. Linda’s favorite part of her business is bringing joy to people’s celebrations through her business’ unique and tasty products. Since opening the store, Dulceria BomBon has expanded its product range and is continuing to grow its customer base.

Linda was introduced to the Boulder SBDC through its one-on-one, bilingual consulting program and was connected to additional Spanish-language resources for her business. She participated in the Insight market research training program and has received assistance with business development, marketing strategies, and financial planning and shares, “their [SBDC] guidance has played a key role in our growth”.

The resources through the Boulder SBDC helped Linda develop a solid business plan, understand market trends, and connect with local resources. The combined support through the one-on-one consulting and workshops helped Linda address specific challenges in the food and events industries.

Looking ahead, Dulceria BomBon is exploring new avenues for growth and is interested in expanding its online presence and partnerships. They are excited to introduce new products to their customers in the future and strive to continue to be a go-to destination for Mexican candies, piñatas, and custom cakes for all celebrations in the community. Linda says, “I would like to express gratitude to our loyal customers and for the support we’ve received from the community. Our commitment to quality products and personalized service has been key to our success, and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers”.

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Plains To Peaks Chocolate

Plains to Peak Chocolate Company is run by Sunni Sylvester and her husband Jeff. The two did not always have aspirations to make their own chocolate, but like many businesses today, a simple passion and idea can be all it takes to start something great. The direction of your business career can be random, and that is exactly what happened with Sunni and Jeff.

“We started randomly. I would buy chocolate, look at the ingredients, and question the fillers in the chocolate. This led me to do some research and experimenting, and eventually I figured out how to make chocolate using the whole cacao bean,” said Sunni. “Now, we make our own bean to bar chocolate. We roast the beans at home, we crack them, winnow them to get the nibs, grind the nibs, add the coconut sugar, temper it, mold it, and hand wrap every one of our bars.”

A couple of years ago, when Plains to Peak was just an idea sprouting into action, Sunni decided to reach out to Boulder SBDC. Sunni, a registered nurse who still works full time, and Jeff, a designer working for the Saint Vrain School District in Longmont, did not have much of a business background when starting Plains to Peak. According to Sunni, “I didn’t understand how to set up an LLC, how to pay taxes, or any of that stuff, so I reached out to the SBDC. In our first meeting, [an SBDC staff member] listened to our story and aspirations, and later that same evening sent me steps on how to establish an LLC, and how to register with the state and the city. These clear steps were exactly what I needed.”

The Boulder SBDC places a large emphasis on maintaining relationships with its clients, and encourages attending our workshops, which is what Sunni and Jeff did. They took both Startup Roadmap and Startup Essentials workshops through SBDC, which Sunni described as “invaluable.” Sunni further explained “Since the workshops, we have reached out to one of your presenters several times, just asking for assistance with setting up the legal parts of the business. She has been very responsive, very supportive, and very helpful for us.”

As Plains to Peak Chocolate continued to develop, they began to think about the expansion process. Expanding a business can be extremely difficult if you do not have an explicit plan, and a strong grasp on finances. The SBDC set Sunni up with a consultant to talk over any expansionary plans. Sunni reflects, “The consultant talked to us about scaling, getting investors, taking out loans, our different options, and what we had to be ready for if and when we wanted to expand. It gave us reassurance that we were on the right path and that being cautious and using income right now to save up for our business down the road was a good idea.”

A further step the SBDC took to help Plains to Peak was connect Sunni and Jeff with other people who were in the process of setting up their business, and who are in different stages of growth. According to Sunni, “This helped us talk about scaling, and potentially getting a commercial space. Hearing how other people expanded their businesses was huge for us.” Sunni continued, “Someday we could see ourselves teaming up with other small food producers and maybe share a space. We’re always having those conversations and keeping our eyes open for opportunities.”

Right now Sunni and Jeff sell their chocolate every Saturday at the Longmont farmers market. They have come a long way since their initial decision to start selling chocolate. They have invested in new equipment to make production easier and truly feel that they are experiencing success. The two understand that while working under cottage foods law they can only sell direct to consumers, but they are looking to add more markets to their repertoire this year. They are constantly reevaluating their goals, and remaining cautious, but are very excited to grow their business and maintain their values.

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