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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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