Success Stories

Western Power Group, Inc.

As the owners of Western Power Group Inc., John & Janet Fink want you to consider what you will do when the lights go out. Recent natural disasters and an aging power grid are constant reminders that government, health care, communications and other industries must be prepared to operate through more than just a few hours of power outage.

Western Power Group is in the business of generators and related equipment. They offer Baldor, MTU/Katolight and Kohler generators and services such as periodic maintenance, diagnostic and repair to generators and transfer switches. From the cell phone tower on the mountain top to the generator providing backup power to the office building downtown, Western Power Group Inc. can get the job done for you!

Janet is President of Western Power Group Inc. and was introduced to the SBDC when she attended the Leading Edge Program, a twelve week program that allowed her to prepare a successful business plan and obtain a line of credit for the business. Over the years, Janet continues to attend business workshops sponsored by the SBDC with topics that cover marketing, business policy and healthcare as well as many other topics. She has had opportunity to meet the governor, senators and others involved in legislative policy through SBDC. Government regulations and tax reforms are always a challenge to keep up with and Janet depends on SBDC workshops, periodicals and business associations to keep up-to date.

John and Janet have had previous success in small business. For 25 years they owned a construction business that installed navigation and communication equipment at airports across the United States. After years of traveling with the business, they decided they would like more “stay at home time”. It took a few years of working for others to realize that they enjoy working and owning their own business.

In 2002 the economy was experiencing a downturn and the business that John was working for in Denver decided to close their generator sales division. When John lost his job he immediately contacted the generator manufacturer that he had been selling for and asked if he could continue to sell their products. John and Janet already had a shop building and office near Walsenburg from their previous business so it didn’t take long to set up shop.

Most of their competition is located in the Denver area, so Western Power Group is able to offer more competitive pricing and less travel time to fix and service generator equipment in Southern Colorado. Their generator technicians are factory trained and they have an EGSA certified technician. Because of their knowledge of generators and their great customer service the business covers the entire state of Colorado.

One of their greatest accomplishments this year was their generator sale to Colorado State University. Western Power Group Inc. was introduced to the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) through the SBDC and with the resources Western Power Group Inc. was able to obtain a government contact to sell a 2000kW diesel generator to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. This generator is used to provide backup power to the veterinary hospital at the University. The unit was brought to the University on two semi trucks and was then assembled on location.

Janet and John are looking forward to retirement in the next few years. Our goal is to continue to grow the business so it will be attractive to the next generation of business owners. Western Power Group Inc. is celebrating 10 years of business this year!

There is no doubt the power generation business will continue to provide innovative power solutions to our world as our world’s hunger for reliable and cost efficient energy continues to grow.

You can find more information about Western Power Group Inc. and see pictures of some of their units at www.coloradogenerator.com.

Sit Means Sit Dog Training

Sit Means Sit Dog Training was opened in November 2008 by Jori E. Pollard who serves as the owner and head trainer. Located in Pueblo, CO Sit Means Sit Dog Training is located at 2424 N. Freeway, Pueblo, CO 81003. Sit Means Sit Dog Training is the fastest growing dog training company in the U.S. specializing in off leash training, aggressive dogs, and difficult issues. They provide an opportunity for dog owners to develop a great relationship with their dogs and allow them to be good members of their families. They offer in home lessons, indoor training facility, and life time training, including group classes. They also have the GO TEAM Therapy Dog team as well as offer Canine Good Citizen testing and Advanced Canine Good Citizen. Additional services to be added this year include puppy classes and the STAR puppy testing through AKC.

In December 2012, Jori and her team expanded the business with a purchase of a facility and opening of A Country Canine Resort. A year later Country Canine Grooming and Pet Spa opened in December 2013. A Country Canine Resort offers a wide variety of services including boarding, doggy daycare, dog supplies and food. They have a state of the art kennel that has cameras to view your dogs, radiant heated floors, indoor and outdoor dog runs. They are the only kennel in the city limits of Pueblo and the only kennel that co-mingles the dogs to allow them to play outside in a supervised dog park atmosphere. A Country Canine Grooming and Pet Spa is a full service grooming shop with a self-serve dog wash area. Specializing in Poodles and Labra doodles they are experts in keeping dogs breed specific and natural. They have a groomer with over 25 years of experience, offering full service “Spa” days for your pets. They also offer Doggy Daycare and Spa day packages with multiple dog discounts.

Jori’s journey with small business ownership began when she decided to open her own business because she wanted to offer a service she felt the community was in need of while offering the best service to clients in a homey atmosphere. Jori felt it was important to allow dog owners to be able to have the best relationships with their dogs and be able to make them be true members of their family. With a commitment to provide outstanding customer service and quality care for their customers ( 4 legged ones) and families, Jori and her team want their clients to consider the Canine Report to be their home away from home.

Jori and her employees have faced many challenges and their biggest challenge was taking an eyesore 60 year old dilapidated building and remodeling it into their dream. They had to overcome many obstacles including a sewer system that was not recorded in the city plans because of the age of the building. It was a treasure hunt for a sewer and quite a challenge. They continue to remodel and improve the building daily. Jori loves hearing the stories from the community regarding the history that goes along with it. They were vandalized and the building was broken into many times during construction. The building was persevered and opened after many hours of clean up, construction, and hard labor. The dedication of her employees, the community support and good old fashion hard work helped them to achieve one of their biggest accomplishments.

Part of the community support provided was services and training provided by the Southern CO SBDC. Jori is a graduate of the CO SBDC Leading Edge Program, a twelve-week entrepreneurship program that helped her prepare a successful business plan and obtain a small business loan to assist in operations. The program gave Jori the opportunity to network with other business owners and members of the community to help mentor and assist her in opening her business. Jori also learned to work well with the State Regulatory agencies, the local shelters, and other business in Pueblo to enhance services provided.

“I appreciate all of the support I have received from the SBDC,” said Jori. “They have encouraged me through the long process of obtaining the property. They were available for consultation and advice. We worked for almost a year to get our building open and it was the most challenging thing I have ever accomplished. I could not have gotten the banking help I needed it I hadn’t taken the Leading Edge Course. I learned so much about our community leaders and other business people through that class. I always look at the courses offered and I feel the SBDC is an asset to our community.”

In 2014, they plan to expand the kennels, add a dock dog pool to teach the sport of dog jumping, swimming lessons and swim therapy, and also looking to build an agility course. They also have plans to complete “The Cathouse” to provide boarding services for cats. Jori and her team hope that providing outstanding customer service will leave an impact on their community and have a place where their 4 legged customers feel at home and where their families feel good about leaving them. They want to continue to offer an alternative to the dog park where people can be members of our resort and use the facilities as their own.

Pueblo PC & Mac

Pueblo PC & Mac is in the business of servicing, repairing, and selling of PC and Mac products. They offer classes on how to use the products that they sell and repair. The sell and repair computers, monitors, printers, mobile devices, ipads, iphones, gaming consoles (such as XBOX, Playstation, Gameboys), and more!

Muriel Tincher is the owner of Pueblo PC & Mac and came to the SBDC when the previous business owner was looking to retire in 2009. Muriel had been an employee of the store and decided that instead of watching the current owner close the store, she wanted to research the feasibility of purchasing the business and keeping the doors open for their Pueblo community customers. Muriel attended the Colorado SBDC Leading Edge Program where she was provided entrepreneur training and assistance in preparing a business plan. In turn, Muriel was successful in completing a plan to purchase the business and obtain a small business loan to assist. On August 1, 2009, Muriel reopened the computer services and repair shop as Pueblo PC & Mac Inc. and continues to offer personalized services while always striving to improve and learn more to help their customers.

Although the economy and business have been challenging during the years, Pueblo PC & Mac have continued to sustain and grow. Muriel continues to attend business workshops and events sponsored by the SBDC on business topics such as marketing, health care, finances and customer service to continue to grow as a business owner running a business versus just working for a business. “The SBDC has kept me going when I felt like giving up,” shares Muriel, “the QuickBooks class showed me some areas where I needed to improve and the seminars continue to provide information that I can use to improve myself and my business.”

Muriel will be celebrating Pueblo PC & Mac’s 5th Anniversary in August this year! Their goal is to continue to provide their customers with quality services and expand services offered as technology and needs change. Dedication and hard work have both been an asset of Muriel’s and her Pueblo PC & Mac team and the Southern CO SBDC continues to enjoy working with such a business asset in the Pueblo community!

American Wiping Rags, Inc.

Shelley McPherson will be the first to tell you that starting her own business from scratch was very challenging both mentally and physically. Even with Shelley’s past managing experience at a wiping rag business her father started in California, there were still challenges. Incorporating her dream of operating her own business with her desire to make a difference in the world through recycling led her to create a line of unique and practical products she offers for retail sale.

Before Shelley set off on her start-up business adventure she contacted the Southern Colorado SBDC and began working on a business plan. Shelley identified immediately with the importance of a business plan and was able to begin working on one while receiving entrepreneur training through the state certified SBDC Leading Edge Program.

American Wiping Rags, Inc. (AWR), manufactures six different types of disposable cotton wiping rags. The rags are manufactured from 100% recycled, clean cotton material that is sorted, cut to size and packaged. In 2006 the company also began offering a product line of microfiber cleaning cloths, mops and dusters. The durable cloths can handle at least 200 washes and are biodegradable. In 2009, AWR added their latest sorbent line which is a product made of paper, wool and cotton and is designed for containment of oil-based spills and hazardous liquids.

By continuing to participate in SBDC business development offerings, Shelley continues to receive on-going and invaluable business advising, support and encouragement. “With all the changes in the economy and just the business itself, it’s important for any entrepreneur to continue to educate themselves and incorporate new ideas. The SBDC is a great resource to do so.”

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