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Success Stories

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 Marketplace–packed full of love and local, a curious place to discover and explore.  Suitcases are packed with jewelry, cards, charms, gemstones, wooden toys, and other unique gifts from talented local and regional artists.

Although their businesses Pandora on the Hill and Soul Haus have been in operation for over 20 years in Denver, Trunk Nouveau is young, celebrating its third year, and Squadron Co is celebrating its first anniversary at Stanley Marketplace.  Who knew that a business in the middle of a field with no major intersections could succeed, along with 50 other businesses, in the local economy.  In fact, Trunk Nouveau has now exceeded sales over their businesses in Denver.  When a second space became available at Stanley just before the holidays last year, owner Chris Bacorn jumped on it, and opened Squadron Co, a men’s gift and clothing boutique.

Owner Stephanie Shearer recalls, “Before Trunk even had a name, we met with Aurora-South Metro
SBDC to review our finances to make sure that we were liquid enough to open this new venture in a location with zero financial history.  The SBDC helped us trim and tuck, with reserves in place for growth.”

The SBDC gave advice on traffic patterns and location quirks and suggested a rolling suitcase feature filled with products geared toward men.  “It’s that brainchild of Aurora-South Metro SBDC that proved to us that we needed a men’s shop.”  In the Fall of 2018, Squadron Co was born and now has the fastest growth pattern of all four shops.

Trunk Nouveau started with the owners plus two staff on a bootstrapped budget.  Today, the two businesses employ seven full-time, three part-time and several seasonal positions.  Since opening, sales have increased 12% (nearly tripling the national retail growth of 4.6% for the same period), and gross profits increased 11.5%.  Net worth has increased, also.

Stephanie and Chris have community heart in hand demonstrated by their donations to local nonprofit organizations and being an environmentally aware business.  They are both proud children of Veterans, and they built Squadron Co as a tribute to their fathers, grandfathers and Chris’s grandmother, who served our country.  They proudly hire veterans at Squadron and offer military discounts.

Trunk Nouveau and Squadron Co have one mission:  to do business honestly and ethically, while serving the community.  “As we say in our ‘Stanifesto’, we’re here for good.”

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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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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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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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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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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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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