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SUCCESS STORIES

Denver Bouldering Club

The Denver Bouldering Club (DBC) started in 2009 when three local climbers – Thomas Betterton, Lee Payne, and Kevin Brown – decided that Denver’s passion for climbing and the outdoors deserved a better indoor training facility.

What began as a dream to construct a small training center has now grown into one of the best climbing gyms in Colorado – a gathering place where climbers can learn, train and share their love of climbing. “It’s a place for strong climbers to push themselves and for passionate beginners to learn from the most experienced in the city,” says Payne.

Since its humble beginnings, the DBC has doubled in size and created eight jobs for local climbing enthusiasts. “Listening and responding to members has been a guiding principle for growth and has led to many valued and effective business and facility improvements,” Betterton says.

With incredible training opportunities including expert climbing instruction and classes, the top-notch DBC facility now features over 7,000 square feet of climbing space, 15-foot bouldering walls, a training area and workout equipment, 24/7 hour access for members, free Wi-Fi and a climbing media center.

The DBC has become a preferred place for local climbers to learn and hone their craft. And, the owners, employees and members all take pride in their space. Payne says, “Our members are amazing. They have lent a hand to everything from donated coffee pots and climbing holds to bringing in cupcakes and other baked goods! It’s their gym too, and they take pride in its well-being by giving back in special ways. Which is good, ‘cause none of the owners are very good at baking.”

Throughout the DBC’s journey, Betterton says the expert advice he received from the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has contributed to his growth and success. “We came into this with a lot of climbing-related knowledge and very little business expertise. [Jim Olp] is a great sounding board and has given me the best business advice I have ever received,” Betterton says.

Thomas says SBDC Business Consultant Jim Olp taught him “not to get discouraged when things don’t go as planned,” regardless of expenses, timing, and workload. Despite any challenges along the way, the DBC is a great example of a local business that was built from the ground up by local entrepreneurs who are passionate about their industry, their community and their energizing workspace.

Lori J Photography

Entrepreneurs are known for having to perform many different roles. Many struggle with the financial and accounting aspect of their business, while others have a hard time understanding the power of social media. For Lori Johnson, owner of Lori J Photography, she’s the first to admit that her nemesis is marketing. Lori J Photography provides a boutique photography service experience for Denver wedding photography, family portraits, and lifestyle headshots for entrepreneurs in Denver. The business

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Snooze

On any given morning, Snooze’s retro, 50’s-style space is jam-packed with people clamoring to get their names on a lengthy wait list. The draw? A stack of sweet potato or cinnamon roll pancakes, or what some have dubbed “the best breakfast burrito in the world.” A touch of upscale flair makes Snooze owner Jon Schlegel’s fare stand out among fellow bringers of breakfast and lunch. Offerings include “Vanilla Almond Oatmeal Brulée” or “Pork’s Benediction,” a

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Create Cooking School

Create Cooking School has actively engaged with the SBDC community for two years by taking advantage of Leading Edge, Trout Tank, financial classes and multiple consultants within the network. And now, owners Erasmo Casiano and Diego Coconati are on the brink of opening Create Cooking School in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver. Leading Edge played an important role in the growth of the company. Casiano learned that adapting and pivoting is beneficial to your business,

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Collective Counseling Solutions

Collective Counseling Solutions serves clients and therapists across 10 states, from Colorado to New York, by providing high-quality care to patients and being a resource for their network of therapists around the country. An SBDC client since 2018, Collective Counseling Solutions has shown exceptional growth since completing the Trout Tank Pitch Accelerator program and becoming a finalist for Start-Up of the Year at the 2022 Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Business Awards! Founders Nicholas Mancini

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C-21 Project

Keaunna Figgers, Denver’s newest fashionista, is raising awareness of Down syndrome and doing so in style through her company The C-21 Project, which refers to the extra 21st chromosome that she was born with. Born with Down syndrome, Figgers faced obstacles from the start – she had open-heart surgery at just 3 months old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. Growing up with arthritis, Figgers would spend hours coloring in

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YAK Hospitality

Yak Hospitality Group is a unique social club creating a range of activities for party-goers, music enthusiasts, foodies, and beyond. Not only are their entertainment services diverse, but their clients too, serving guests in both Denver and Miami. Learn more about the exciting work of the latest Trout Tank winner, Yak Hospitality Group: Having started other businesses before, founders Yonnick, Antonio, and Khiry were prepared to meet the challenge. They commented on one of the

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