We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs. Here are some of their

Success Stories

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 create opportunity to contract additional artists.  Build-out commenced in January 2020 with an intentional opening date at the end of March.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 shelter in place order was a major obstacle to opening a second business, but there were others as well.

Despite the experience of running a reputable business for over a decade, the process of applying for funding and opening a new business was unclear.  Contacting the Aurora-South Metro SBDC was the most beneficial first step possible.  The small business consultant offered direction on a plan of action, creating a comprehensive well-organized business plan and ultimately provided information about optional funding sources, including possible grants and loans offered by the city of Aurora.  The shop took out a commercial loan and line of credit to finance the expansion.

An additional hindrance included a local resident that submitted a complaint to the city of Aurora Planning Commission about a tattoo business opening in the neighborhood.   A zoning hearing was scheduled to rectify this issue, and an Aurora-South Metro SBDC representative provided supportive comments at the hearing.

The new location, Legacy Tattoo Collective, successfully opened in mid-September 2020.  The current growth is generating enough revenue to pay the bills and maintain a steady minimum operational balance, despite the financial impact of responsibly conducting business during the pandemic.  Failure for the new shop was not an option.

“The guidance and assistance that we’ve received from the Aurora-South Metro SBDC prior to opening our new shop, and throughout the process, has been amazing! It has been like having an expert, professional friend who is always available to help with whatever questions or issues that come up.”

The business brothers are looking past the pandemic.  The business has grown from four employees to seven, the commercial loan should be paid off within five years, and federal funding received during COVID-19 will be paid if the pandemic complications ease soon.  A third location in northeast Aurora is the new goal once the debt has been paid and the city builds out a little more in that direction.

Banh & Butter Bakery Café

“The SBDC helped me better understand and prepare my business plan. Growing up in a family business, a business plan was all about going with the flow.  I never knew what a cash flow was, but support from the SBDC has increased my business knowledge.” – Thoa Nguyen   CEO and owner Thoa Nguyen is a pastry chef by day and a culinary chef by night.  Branching out from the family’s restaurant, she studied baking and

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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

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Aurora AutoPros

The Aurora AutoPros mission guides owners Edgar and Reneé Leon’s daily operations:  to provide the highest quality mechanical repair solutions in a professional, honest, and transparent manner.  They keep their environment clean, educate car owners and are family-friendly.  Their customers value AutoPros’ personalized service given by ASE certified technicians.  As a TechNet Professional Repair Shop, AutoPros’ customers receive a nationwide 36-month/36,000-mile warranty on all repairs that also includes roadside assistance for all invoices of $25

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Rustic Nomads

Starting a business in 2020—during the COVID-19 pandemic—has been a journey to say the least, but the owner of Rustic Nomads, Nathan Wiersum, will have bragging rights for life.   “The support received from the SBDC is why I continue to move .” With a loan from DreamSpring to purchase a food truck, the rest of the business has been self-funded.  Originally, the plan was to grow into a restaurant as soon as possible.  With the pandemic, goals were reevaluated.  The

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Launch Pad Brewery

The end of an unexpectedly volatile 2020 is a great time to tell the success story about one of Aurora’s prized businesses.  David LeVesque spent about a decade perfecting his technique of home brewing with some help from The Brew Hut and visiting Colorado breweries.  The idea of opening a business location started ‘brewing’ about six years ago, and Launch Pad’s mission came together after working on the start-up’s financials over several meetings with an

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Fortified Development Trucking

Fortified Development Trucking strives to be an innovative and solutions-driven minority-owned trucking company, challenging their drivers to provide reliable and excellent customer service while balancing their career and family.  Their mission is to become the transporter of choice for construction hauling and short- and long-hauling from coast to coast.  With the byline “Realizing Potential at Every Level in the Trucking Industry”, Fortified Development Trucking offers reliable, safe, timely delivery that is the most cost-effective trucking

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