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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).

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Dry Dock Brewing Company

The award-winning Dry Dock Brewing Company is Aurora’s first microbrewery. Established in October 2005, Dry Dock is co-owned and operated by Kevin DeLange and Michelle Reding. The brewery began with just two employees in a 900 square-foot space with less than 20 seats in the back of Kevin and Michelle’s homebrew supply shop, The Brew Hut. They brewed less than 500 barrels of beer in 2006. How-ever, Dry Dock has enjoyed tremendous success and growth

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Colorado Safety Supply

Starting out as a dream in 2012, Valerie Boyd developed her knowledge and contacts within the safety equipment industry to move forward with confidence in 2014. Valerie started to make the dream a reality. Coming from a family working in the structural steel industry, Valerie’s top priority is to keep families safe by keeping workers safe. Colorado Safety Supply does just that, providing safety training and equipment for construction job sites. Located in Aurora, Colorado

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Petersen Custom Glass

After 15 years in the glass industry, Kris and Valerie Petersen opened Petersen Custom Glass, LLC in 2014. Kris has extensive experience designing and installing custom glass products. His specific areas of expertise include high-end frameless shower enclosures, ADA accessible showers and other custom glass projects. With his leadership skills gained from the military and her executive skills, Petersen Custom Glass has become a successful local business in Parker, CO, serving a 25-mile radius in

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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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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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Pirate Chef LLC

“Aurora-South Metro SBDC gave us the empowerment, guidance, and connections to realize our dream of owning our own business with sustainability.” Ian and Vanessa Reeves believe that sharing good food is the best way to show love.  Pirate Chef specializes in bespoke catering, private parties, in home, and corporate dining. Taking experience from lives well-lived, they bring their clients a gastronomic encounter unlike any other.   Their business venture has been a longstanding dream, and they can’t wait to share it with

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