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Success Stories

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GradePower Learning

Robert and Olga Mead, the owners of GradePower Learning, started out with a vision to help build children’s confidence and self-esteem. They found an opportunity to do that not only through tutoring students, but also in teaching them how to learn. The LEADING EDGETM Strategic Planning Series was the perfect tool for Olga to test her business model. She graduated from LEADING EDGETM in 2015 and continued on as a client at the Aurora-South Metro SBDC. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, the Meads obtained advice about purchasing a PreK-12 learning center franchise. They also sought assistance for researching the industry and customer base.

GradePower Learning opened a year later. Just before the soft open in April 2016, GradePower Learning received a commercial loan with the help of the SBDC financing consultant, and the Meads put equity cash into the business as well.

GradePower Learning offers supplemental proprietary curriculum for students, prekindergarten through high school, to help students catch up as well as get ahead academically. High school students focus on college preparation and filling any learning gaps they may have acquired through years in school. In just over a year, the business has been able to break even, with steady growth in enrollments via word-of-mouth and networking.

The business is veteran-owned. Olga served in the U.S. Army, CO National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves. Robert served in the U.S. Navy. Olga Mead is the Center Director for GradePower Learning. There is one other full-time employee and seven part-time employees who are specialized coaches for the students. Their next step with GradePower Learning is to provide Spanish and Sign Language classes. Olga has also recently received additional consulting in obtaining contracts with schools.

Olga and Robert have a passion for helping students in need and thoroughly enjoy enriching students with new cognitive learning skills. They welcome you to visit their center in the Southlands community of Aurora (http://gradepoweraurora.com).

Yumbana, LLC

To be declared a U.S.A. Taste Champion by the American Masters of Taste national judging panel, especially when the category is “Gluten Free” baked goods, is quite an accomplishment. Yumbana was selected as a winning product line in 2017 and, since its beginning in 2011, has been committed to making products that don’t require self-discipline to eat and enjoy. ‘Yum’ is in the name and comes from the owner Christopher Lehn’s first creation, a YUMmy

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Havana Street Tattoo and Legacy Tattoo Collective

Havana Street Tattoo opened 15 years ago in Aurora.  The tattooing industry has shown its potential for significant growth in the past 10 years and continues to do so, because the customer base and artists offering the service have evolved past an old stereotype into a market of true professional artistry and serious collectors. In mid-2019, business partners and co-owners, Larry Foussat and Gilbert Ledesma decided to open a new location in Aurora to expand the shop’s client base and

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Trunk Nouveau | Squadron

Trunk Nouveau /t^nk/ ‘nju:’veo/ noun:  A curated monthly showing and sale from an independent maker who offers handcrafted wares.  Trunk Nouveau in Aurora started with a remarkable dream:  a busy aviation studio, industrial in nature, doused in the smell of engine oil and creativity.  In the back, a room with steam trunks and suitcases filled with forgotten treasures–the kind that people hold on to, handcrafted and meaningful. A trunk showroom was created at Aurora’s Stanley

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cranellis
Cranelli’s Italian Restaurant

In the restaurant world a successful business often begins with family. When Cranelli’s Italian Restaurant, a new hotspot in Lone Tree, opened, the whole family pitched in to help owners Jim and Lasinda Crane make their dreams come true. Hours after the ink was dry on the restaurant lease, the couple began updating the décor and kitchen with the help of friends and family. Lasinda’s father David, a retired electrician, helped build a bar and

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ContractsRx

ContractsRx is on a mission to make legal contracting seamless, accessible and repeatable.  Shannon Leonard and Ramon Rhymes, co-founders, make it their aim to reduce the time, cost and risk associated with business contracting and business outcomes. The abrupt uncertainty that COVID-19 brought to ContractsRx and other small businesses resulted in an overnight shift from the known to the unknown.  While Shannon and Ramon are fortunate to be in a technology industrywith the tools in place to work at home, they

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Prieto’s Catering

Prieto’s Catering is an Aurora-based food truck selling authentic and delicious Mexican food.  Prieto’s serves a variety of tacos, including the famous birria tacos that everyone is excited about!  They also serve other popular Mexican dishes made fresh, such as tamales, tortas and burritos.  Fully aware that the business needs to be responsive to customer needs during the pandemic, they offer home delivery and pick up from 9AM to 3PM daily. As a family business

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