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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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