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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.

Big Sky Aerial Technology

In business, the sky is the limit for Big Sky Aerial Technology—literally. This start-up company captures high-resolution aerial images for use in precision agriculture, allowing farmers to analyze the health of their crops. Founded in 2015 by Ron Lester and Jerred Lane, the idea to launch Big Sky Aerial Technology was inspired by the years Lester and Lane spent working with land and air-based remote sensing technologies in the Middle East. “With some of the

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Paleo Meals To Go

A few years ago, Ty Soukup went on his first multi-day backpacking trip around the Maroon Bells 14ers in Colorado. But, his biggest challenge wasn’t the terrain – it was figuring out what to eat. He couldn’t find any backpacking meal options that would fit with his Paleo diet. “I thought to myself, why isn’t someone making a backpacker meal that appeals to folks on alternative diets?” Soukup recalled. “It was in that moment that

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Gel-Oh Dolly!

Do you want a fun, easy-to-use way to consume your favorite craft cocktails and deserts? That’s where Gel-Oh Dolly! comes in. Gel-Ol Dolly! is a grown-up twist on an old favorite. They provide a gourmet Jell-O shot mix for you to create your own fancy shot. For Dolly Fiedelman co-founder of Gel-Oh Dolly!, running her own company seemed natural coming from a family of entrepreneurs. The desire was always there – that’s why Fiedelman took

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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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Sky Blue Builders

When Mowa Haile set out to build a business with a couple of friends, they agreed on one fundamental principle: customer service. “The opportunity to be customer focused is what motivates us and differentiates us,” said Mowa, President of minority-owned Sky Blue Builders, LLC. “As consumers, we see the mistakes that big companies make – and we want to change that. Everything we do, we consider it from the perspective of the customer. If it

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Wong Way Veg

When Lisa Wong stepped foot into the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center in 2011, her dream of starting a food truck in Denver was just that – a dream. Wong envisioned herself running a business that would marry her love for vegetarian food with her passion for building community. Two years later, her dream became a reality. But Wong’s dream didn’t come to life without hard work. In the fall of 2012, she enrolled

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