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Success Stories

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 BANAna muffin. To quote the judges, “All of Yumbana’s products displayed exemplary quality for appearance, aroma and taste. They have demonstrated extraordinary ability in formulating gluten-free baked products that bake well and are delicious.” It was truly an honor coming from Chefs in America, the oldest third-party professional food judging organization in the U.S.

Chris started out introducing his products locally at Farmers Markets. But “launching a new business can be lonely and intimidating. Having a resource like the SBDC helps you focus on what’s important and lets you know that you are not alone.”

Chris recalls that the Aurora-South Metro SBDC brought the Small Manufacturer’s AdvantEDGE program to Yumbana from day one. SBDC consultants helped develop an initial business plan, including industry and market information, and align Chris with business professionals to keep the business moving forward at little or no cost initially.

With one $250,000 non-commercial loan for the expansion of its manufacturing facility in Castle Rock, Yumbana remains profitable and privately owned, growing by 50 percent each year over the past three years. Besides Chris’ full-time commitment, Yumbana now employs three part-time employees as baker, assistant baker and packager, with additional part-time help as needed for packaging and cleaning.

Since those early days seven years ago, Yumbana has grown organically from repeat sales, with customers choosing Yumbana’s growing list of products over the competition, and the potential is limitless. Extrapolating from trends since 2014, Statista, The Statistics Portal, shows that “In 2016, the U.S. gluten-free products market was valued at $7.28 billion, and is forecasted to reach about $16 billion by 2025. According to a 2017 international study done in India on the demand for gluten-free food, North America’s share of the global gluten-free market is projected at 59%. Unlike other diets or consumer food trends, gluten free is here to stay as the industry continues to increase in size with more consumers making decisions to buy gluten free.

Given the potential, Yumbana has a mission to become a premier supplier of the best gluten-free products on a national scale and offers one of the widest varieties of gluten-free products on the market today. The business will have its official Gluten-Free certification later his year, and hopes to establish strong distribution beyond Colorado soon. While growing, the business maintains a sense of community by donating product to the Task Force for disadvantaged families that need to eat gluten free and supporting several local charities throughout the year. Be sure to visit www.yumbanaglutenfree.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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Vintage Theatre Productions

Starting out 15 years ago in a basement as a touring theatre group for small audiences, Vintage Theatre has grown from that “tiny” beginning to currently reaching over 20,000 patrons each production season. “It has been amazing to see the growth,” beams Cr aig Bond, Founder. Since moving to Aurora in 2012 into an existing black box theater, Vintage immediately added a second more intimate theatre to augment the season’s offerings. Creating a greater draw

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Leatherneck Precision Machine

Leatherneck Precision Machine is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that specializes in precision machined components for the aerospace, defense, medical, dental, injection molding and other commercial industries that need precision machined parts for their product lines.  Sometimes people’s lives depend on special machine parts, such as aircraft structures, automobiles, and human-rated spacecrafts, and Leatherneck is an AS9100D- and ISO9001-certified company able to do that technical work.  He also has SDVOSB and SDVBE certifications (for small

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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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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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Grandma’s Rockin’ Rolls

It was Laura Neilson’s grandmother who spent hours teaching her children and grandchildren how to bake – while sharing life lessons and family stories. Grandma and her sister-in-law sold cinnamon rolls ‘in town’ to help supplement the farming income. Can you image the commute on horseback during the depression in a Minnesota winter?! Laura had been making Grandma’s rolls and giving them as gifts and holiday treats for over 30 years. But as Laura’s career

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