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CLS Receives Donation from Quilters’ Guild

CLS Receives Donation from Quilters’ Guild

The Black Canyon Quilt Show & Sale was another huge success for the three area quilt guilds. This year Region 10 Community Living Services was chosen to benefit from the proceeds of the sale. Each spring Community Living Services and our community partners from throughout the region join forces to produce a regional Caregiver Summit. This is a great event that supports family and professional caregivers; however, it is costly to put together. The 2018 Caregiver Summit will be the best yet thanks to the hard work and dedication of our community quilters who collectively created over 500 handmade pieces for the sale to benefit our program. The Caregiver Summit is such an important event for our communities and knowing that this generous donation was made possible at the hands of our Montrose quilters make it even more special.

In addition to the donation, we were also invited to do a brief presentation at each of the 3 guilds which helped us get the word out about the programs we have for disabled and older adults. Making sure our community knows about these resources is so important; we want to make sure that those in need of support know where to get it.

THANK YOU to everyone who made the 2017 Black Canyon Quilt Show a success, we will make you proud with the 2018 Caregiver Summit.

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Kelly and Will Watters were working as skiing and fly-fishing guides when they began searching for functional, yet stylish clothing that would be stretchy, breathable, and water-resistant, and also appropriate for wearing downtown to meet a client.

“We started out of a personal need,” said Kelly, who with her husband founded the active apparel company Western Rise in 2014. “We discovered a lot of clothes were not the style we were looking for. They were not something we’d wear every day. We were hunting for more classic, timeless clothing we could incorporate into our wardrobe.

“We wanted one set of apparel that would perform for all of those things; less is more.”

Looking to grow their company, the Watters turned to Region 10, a Montrose-based nonprofit that offers assistance for new and expanding businesses in six western Colorado counties. The Telluride-based company got a major boost in June after it received a loan from the Rural Business Loan Fund Statewide Collaboration through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“It’s a new funding source available; Region 10 was the first Loan Fund in the state to successfully disburse the funds,” said Region 10 Business Loan Fund director Dan Scinto, noting there are additional funds available for similar start-up projects.

The loans are geared toward businesses in underserved markets (the Western Slope, for example where there is less access to capital). The program also distributes loans based on the companies’ merits – “the people operating the business versus the proven cash-flow of the business,” Scinto said.

Will Waters is a third-generation fiber manufacturer who understands how to custom-design fabrics to be high performing.

“They have a true passion for the fibers and the process of materials that go into their products,” Scinto said.

Region 10 provided valuable business advice and helped them navigate the loan application process, Kelly said.

The loan they received allowed the Watters to grow their team, focus on reaching “higher sales goals,” and purchase inventory. Western Rise generally launches new collections seasonally, but is looking to move toward a monthly collection launch, Kelly said.

The company brought on three new employees this year, doubling its team members from three to six.

“We expect to add two more employees in spring of next year,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to grow our base office in Telluride. It’s been a great community for our business. Telluride is an awesome place to product test – if it holds up in Telluride, it will hold up anywhere.”

Region 10’s Business Loan Fund assists local businesses and non-profits located within Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. The Business Loan Fund focuses on loans that help create or retain jobs, and/or establishes or expands needed businesses in the region.

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

 

Two Western Slope-based businesses were each named a 2017 Colorado Company to Watch – an award recognizing companies that have passed the start-up stage, are growing, and contributing to their local economies.

ShadeScapes in Hotchkiss, and Mayfly Outdoors in Montrose – were among the 50 companies honored this summer at the Colorado Companies to Watch ninth annual Awards Gala in Denver. More than 500 companies throughout the state were nominated.

Jo Edmondson, ShadeScapes founder and CEO, distributes high-quality shade products such as umbrellas and cabanas, for five different companies in Belgian, South Africa, Montreal, and Germany.

With a warehouse in Delta and an office and showroom in Hotchkiss, Edmondson employs 14 people – including two in Delta and 10 in Hotchkiss. ShadeScapes sells to contractors, landscape architects, dealers, designers, commercial businesses and private homeowners.

The Rural Economic Development Initiative awarded a $65,000 grant to Edmondson toward the purchase of a 1905 mercantile building in downtown Hotchkiss because of the company’s potential to revitalize a depressed part of Colorado. The building at 122 Bridge St. was purchased and renovated in 2015, and the company moved in March 2016.

Not only has Edmondson created jobs in the North Fork Valley – an area hurting from coal industry job losses – the showroom has “breathed some life into the community,” Edmondson said, by serving various nonprofit groups after hours. Delta County Memorial Hospital, Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley, the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, and Kid’s Pasta Project have all used the building for events and/or meetings.

Nancy Murphy, director of the Small Business Development (Region 10) and West Central SBDC, Satellite Office in Montrose, nominated ShadeScapes for the award because of the “amazing” things the company is doing for the community.

“They’ve turned the building into a hip, urban style office that showcases their stunning shade structures in downtown Hotchkiss, which has added vibrancy to the community,” Murphy said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch is a big deal, Edmundson said.

“We’re definitely energized by it; we’re grateful for it. It will help get the word out about who we are – we’re a Colorado company, with beautiful products in a small town.  The award helps us to spread our wings.”

Each of the 50 winners is expected to host an event that publicizes their awards.

“We’ll do that in Hotchkiss (October 6) but we also want to tell our story around the state and so we are going to go on a tour,” Edmundson said. “We’re going to have pop-up showrooms in Aspen and Denver.”

The Western Slope’s other Colorado Company to Watch – Mayflower Outdoors – is an outdoor product investment company that focuses on businesses that are under-managed, or under funded, said Mayfly president David Dragoo.

“We take over, operate them and turn them around,” he said.

Dragoo founded Mayfly in Colorado Springs in 2012, from where he already operated two businesses – Abel Reels and Charlton Reels, makers of fly-fishing reels and accessories. He moved his company to Montrose in August 2016 after purchasing Ross Reels, a Montrose business founded in 1983. Mayfly’s office and factory are located at 11 Ponderosa Court. The company employs 50 people  – 33 in Montrose, and 16 in California.

“The award brings recognition to Montrose and is good for the community,” Dragoo said. “And it’s beneficial for local and statewide recruiting. One of our goals is to create more jobs here.”

Dragoo is encouraging other businesses to set up shop in Montrose with the development of a business park along the Uncompahgre River where he has purchased property and is building a new factory for Mayfly. Dragoo is also improving fish habitat along a stretch of the river and is partnering with Montrose, the city recreation district, and Great Outdoors Colorado to construct a walkway along the river.

“One of our goals is to create a nice path, a good place to fly fish, and quality fish habitat,” he said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch shows that Montrose has a “compelling economic environment for business people like us,” Dragoo said.

Both Murphy and Montrose Economic Development Corporation executive director Sandy Head nominated Mayfly for the award.

“They’re working to develop (the riverfront property) into an outdoor recreation manufacturing hub – along with other businesses,” like restaurants and brewpubs, Head said. They’re going to develop a piece of land that has been idle for years. It will attract other manufacturers. Mayfly is most deserving of Colorado Company to Watch.”

Regional Broadband Update

Regional Broadband Update

Construction in Delta and Montrose has wrapped up and final review of each project is underway for official close out of the completed construction projects. Quotes for services have been provided to many of the community anchor institutions in these communities and are under review with their respective teams. Installations have occurred at several locations and live service is being delivered.

Region 10 and FastTrack Communications have entered into a partnership for delivery of Operations and Maintenance services. A Letter of Intent was signed on July 27th to begin service delivery while the contract is under legal review. Both Region 10 and FastTrack are excited about the partnership and are now working on network addressing engineering and design topology to deliver services to the end user.

For Gunnison County the 10Gbps wave (lit service) between Montrose and Gunnison has been commissioned, tested and certified as ready for turn-up by Century Link. Equipment for the Gunnison CNL is on order and will be installed at Western State temporarily as the CNL construction gets underway at the dispatch center. Once installed and tested end to end with Century Link we will immediately be able to provide service to the University in addition to backhaul services for ISP’s in the valley. We have also submitted the engineering order for the Montrose to Crested Butte 10Gbps wave in order to get a prospective turn-up date. The WAPA dark fiber IRU discussions continue to make progress as the WAPA team is involved in internal discussions in trying to assign a value to the resource and their operations. Western State and Bizon Networks continue to lead that process with assistance from the Region10 team.

DMEA continues to work on easement perfections in Delta and Montrose counties and is making great progress. We are currently involved in discussions for fiber access at CNL locations in Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, and Crawford in an effort to eliminate overbuilding existing assets and further developing the partnership. Since the last update, Montrose County has joined the project and we are working to add anchor locations and determining how best to partner to deliver service to Olathe, working together with the county and DMEA.

Fiber access options for Ridgway and Ouray continue to be explored with area partners. An engineering order has been submitted for a 10Gbps wave from Montrose to Ridgway. We fully expect to complete CNL locations in both communities this year.

Region 10 and Partners Lighting Up Broadband in Delta and Montrose Counties

Region 10, partners light up broadband

Photo by Pat Sunderland Officials from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta and Montrose county commissioners, Delta County Economic Development and Delta-Montrose Electric Association grab onto a fiberoptic cable as Irv Halter, DOLA executive director

In a symbolic gesture, state, county and city officials gathered to light up the fiberoptic cable that will deliver high speed broadband to both Delta and Montrose.

Phase one construction, and the building of the fiberoptic network in those two cities, is complete following more than three years of planning, engineering and construction.

“Today marks the start of affordable broadband for our communities,” said Delta Mayor Ed Sisson. “This regional access point in Delta is the culmination of many years, long hours and organizations working together to make it happen.”

The carrier neutral location is housed in the city’s municipal light and power building. It serves the Delta County Library District and soon, the school district. From that location, internet service providers can deliver gigabit speeds to businesses and residents.

Michelle Haynes, executive director for Region 10 League of Economic Assistance and Planning, said it’s fitting the lighting ceremony was held at ML&P, which generated the electricity that moved the community forward in the ’30s and ’40s. “Now this is where we’re locating one of our regional hubs, which will take our community into the next step, into the next century, and help us move forward with economic development.”

The collaborative effort began in 2013 with a planning grant from the Department of Local Affairs. In 2015, DOLA made a $5.2 million investment in the design and construction of a middle-mile system for the Region 10 network. The project became a reality with buy-in from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta County and Delta-Montrose Electric Association. Additional funds were provided by El Pomar Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, in recognition of the economic impact mine closures held for Delta and Gunnison counties.

“Now with the work of DMEA, we’re looking at gigabit-level service to every home in the Delta-Montrose county area in the next five to six years,” Haynes said.

Delta County commissioner Doug Atchley said the county committed $750,000 in the belief broadband is essential to economic development not only in Delta County, but all of western Colorado. He thanked all the partners for their vision and the push to make the project a reality.

“There’s lots more to do, but congratulations!” said Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs. “I can’t wait to see what this will do for your community as you move forward.”

He commented on one individual who did not attend the lighting ceremony on July 24, but is committed to connectivity across the state — Governor John Hickenlooper.

Phase two of the project, which is currently underway, will extend that connectivity to communities throughout Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

Local internet service providers (ISP’s) can leverage Region 10’s network to build strong business models to provide low-cost access for their customers. Region 10 explains gigabit broadband is the next-generation technology that enables the world of tomorrow, including telemedicine and telehealth, improved education and distance learning, more efficient and effective government, economic development and job creation, enhanced public safety, and smart grid and energy management systems.

Additionally, the network can be used by internet service providers, cellular companies, and phone and cable companies, to lower their costs and improve services.

In a press release issued last week, Region 10 broadband project director Chris Kennedy said, “Abundant, affordable, and reliable broadband services are no longer a luxury in rural areas, but are more like a utility like water or electricity. In terms of attracting and retaining businesses locally, we can now compete more effectively with other, larger urban areas.”

Region 10 Broadband in the News!

‘Middle mile’ fiber optics network up and running

A project to bring high-speed internet to select areas in Delta and Montrose counties started offering broadband services this week.

The Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning said those services have been deployed in the cities of Delta and Montrose, said Region 10 Broadband Project Director Chris Kennedy.

New fiber optic lines installed in the two cities as part of a larger grant program to provide high-speed internet to much of the Delta-Montrose-Gunnison region are designed to fill “the middle mile” between the internet as a whole and direct delivery to homes and businesses, Kennedy said.

“Local last-mile providers have an option now to access more affordable broadband so they can build a business case to offer broadband services to smaller, rural communities,” he said. “That’s the idea. It’s an open-access broadband network.”

Those providers would pay Region 10 and its partners, the cities and counties of Delta and Montrose, for the right to use its lines, but because it is a public-private project conducted by a nonprofit group, they will get cheap rates, which they can then pass on to their customers, Kennedy said.

After more than three years of work, phase one of construction of a fiber optic network through the two cities is complete. Phase two of the project will be to extend fiber optics throughout the region, including to the rest of Delta and Montrose counties, as well as to Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

The new network is available to local service providers to offer lower-cost access for their customers, Kennedy said.

The network connects area schools, hospitals, libraries and city and county offices.

This project is being done in conjunction with a similar one being implemented by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

That project is attempting in its first phase to connect about 7,500 homes and businesses, focusing first on south Montrose, Paonia and Orchard City. Cedaredge also just recently joined the ranks of cities with fast internet, according to DMEA. Once completed, the project not only will augment the middle-mile needs of the area, but also act as a direct internet service provider.

It also will be able to offer fast connection speeds, up to one gigabit, at rates cheaper than seen here in the Grand Valley, Kennedy said.

“DMEA is sharing fiber with us, and we’re sharing some fiber with them in order to help them deliver services, and for us to then be able to take a regional approach outside their original footprint,” he said. “Then we’re looking to establish (connections) in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Ridgway and Ouray. Farther down the line, we’re working with San Miguel County.”

BLF Helps Boost Power Logic Electrical and Telluride Window Coverings

Most small business owners have a hard time imagining doing more than one business at a time. Not Steve Peirick. This is a guy whose entrepreneurial spirit works like a snowball rolling downhill—starting off small, quickly growing as it gains momentum, and becoming a force to reckon with in due time.

As owner of Power Logic Electrical and Telluride Window Coverings, Peirick has become a fixture in the Western Slope business community over the last decade. And he is working to increase his investment into the Western Slope with some help from Region 10’s Business Loan Fund.

Peirick first crossed paths with Region 10 back in 2013. He reached out to the organization’s small business development wing when he was looking to grow Power Logic Electrical, his electrical contracting business that served primarily Telluride.

“I first worked with Vince Fandel, who helped me with cash flow for Power Logic Electric,” Peirick comments. “I got to know Region 10 well, and enjoyed working with them because they were focused on creating jobs and supporting small business.”

Shortly after ramping up operations at Power Logic Electrical, the wheels in Peirick’s mind started turning. While installing and wiring custom, motorized window coverings, he noticed a niche market that was ripe for the picking.

As he built relationships with interior designers for high-end homes, Peirick found that he could better serve the Telluride marketplace by supplying the vendors himself. So he launched Telluride Window Coverings, which grew and became the premier retail provider and installer of all window treatments (blinds, shutters, drapery, etc.) in the area.

Several years after the launch, Peirick decided it was time for a change in scenery.

Being so remote, Telluride was difficult to supply. Most shipments were coming from out-of-state, which created gaps in delivery time. On top of that, Peirick was experiencing some quality control issues. Not only were products taking forever to arrive, but they were also incorrect.

“So I decided to try it myself,” he laughs.

Yes, that’s right—ANOTHER business venture.

Peirick relocated to Montrose, moving into the old Jeans Westerner building after it was subdivided. The new building gave him the space to create another offshoot of Telluride Window Coverings, which focused on manufacturing window treatments and interior products. Rather than shipping his products in, he hired a seamstress to build his own unique, custom products.

Region 10 again helped Peirick secure the loan that helped him with the real estate and cover some capital costs.

Since Peirick’s business presented the opportunity for job development, Region 10 jumped at the opportunity to support him again. Shortly after the partnership, Peirick was able to hire another four people: one full-time and three part-time. His goal is to keep growing and potentially hire more down the line.

Peirick considers Region 10 to be a vital component of his success.

“Every experience that I’ve had with Region 10 has been beneficial and pleasant,” he adds. “They are in for your best interests and you can definitely feel that when you work with them. They want your business to succeed.”

Tri County Health and Nucla High School Team Up to Build Wheelchair Ramps

Tri County Health and Nucla High School Team Up to Build Wheelchair Ramps

While most students spend spring break catching up on sleep and their favorite TV shows, six Nucla High School (NHS) students woke up early Tuesday morning and set out to build a much-needed wheelchair ramp for a local Nucla resident through Tri-County Health Network’s (TCHNetwork) Bridging Generations Project. The students learned how to measure out and cut wood with a circular saw, plan out appropriate spacing between support beams, determine how much concrete is needed to secure the posts in place, secure posts together with the proper length screws, determine the angle of the ramp, and much more. When asked what their motivation for volunteering was, the students all agreed they felt passionate about the cause, and wanted to give back to the community and neighbors they love. Cheyenne Joseph said she volunteered “to give back to those in need, and it’s also really fun to learn about the process such as the different wood cuts that go into constructing a ramp.”  Her classmate, Caitlyn Littlejohn, agreed, adding, “I’m learning a lot about the construction process and how to work together as a team to help others.”

NHS has supported the project every step of the way.  According to NHS principal Clint Wytulka, “We want to give students unique opportunities to learn.  Collaborating with local businesses and nonprofits to give students real-life experiences and a chance to give back is a priority for us.”  He continued by saying, “Some students learn from textbooks, and others learn kinesthetically, such as by finding the horizontal displacement necessary for a ramp to be built with angles that are up to code.” For those reasons, NHS is giving classroom credit to the student volunteers—credit that can go towards a variety of subjects.

Len Spina, a retired Engineering Department Manager in the Aerospace industry and active member of the West End Public Schools Board of Directors, graciously donated his time, effort, and tools to play a critical role in the building of this ramp. He started volunteering months ago, taking measurements at the wheelchair ramp recipient’s home and creating the complicated blueprint for the ramp.  He picked up the supplies donated to TCHNetwork from Home Depot stores in Grand Junction and Montrose, and offered up his home to be the initial construction site.  In addition, he shared his knowledge of woodworking and his drive to give back to his community to the Nucla High School volunteers.

The project was initially started in response to a TCHNetwork employee’s concern for individuals she knew in the West End in dire need of wheelchair ramps that were unable to attain them due to financial limitations (each ramp costs upwards of $1,500 for just the supplies).  The West End community came together with TCHNetwork to start constructing ramps; Len independently built two ramps before partnering with TCHNetwork and NHS on the current ramp.  Len firmly believes that the high school students add a special element to the project.  “Seeing the different generations come together to make a difference is really something. I’m proud of the work the students have accomplished so far—they didn’t hesitate to jump right in and get their hands dirty.”

The next step of the project will be to install the different parts of the ramp that the volunteers constructed at the client’s home.  After this ramp is constructed, TCHNetwork will continue to work to improve the health and wellbeing of West End community residents with limited mobility by building additional ramps with the support of volunteers and donated supplies.

Formed in 2009, TCHNetwork is comprised of a group of healthcare providers in southwest Colorado within the counties of Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel that are committed to improving the quality and coordination of health and health care services in this tri-county region by increasing access to healthcare and integrative health services at lower costs through collaboration and innovation. In 2016, TCHNetwork opened a new location at the West End Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) building at 230 West Main Street in Naturita. For more information, visit: www.tchnetwork.org.

10 Reasons to Start a Business on Colorado’s Western Slope

10 Reasons to Start a Business on Colorado’s Western Slope

Things are hopping business-wise on the Western Slope.  From the reimagined activities of Chambers of Commerce in just about every community and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offices located in Grand Junction, Montrose, Gunnison, and Durango to the recent proliferation of coworking spaces, incubators, accelerators, and innovation centers dotting the “corridor of innovation”, you’re sure to find the support and inspiration you need to reach the dream of running your own business.

  1. Local Chambers serve as the voice for local businesses. While many focus on the promotion of area tourism and retail shopping destinations, many also represent the interest of business at all levels of government, provide networking opportunities, and engage in community development activities.
  2. Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have a presence in Grand Junction at the Business Incubator, in Gunnison at the ICE Lab on Western Colorado State University campus (as well as a satellite office in Montrose at Region 10), and in Durango at Fort Lewis College. SBDCs offer low or no-cost consulting, training, and specialty programs for startups, solopreneurs, small businesses, and small manufacturers.
  3. Region 10’s Small Business Resource Center serves a six-county area including Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. It hosts an SBDC satellite office as well as provides workshops and training for second-stage and growth companies, access to capital through its Loan Fund, and serves as the administrator for Colorado’s Enterprise Zone tax credits. www.region10.net
  4. Voted the top co-working space in the world, Proximity Space is an ever-expanding network of coworking spaces across the Western Slope and beyond. One membership in any location will give you access to their vast network including the Factory in Grand Junction, the Hive in Paonia, ICE Lab in Gunnison, and Collective Mine in Naturita.  https://proximity.space/
  5. Grand Junction’s Business Incubator was voted National Business Incubator Association’s (NBIA) Incubator of the Year in 2012/2013—out of more than 7,000 incubators worldwide. In addition to providing SBDC services, it leases space to client companies and provides access to a licensed commercial kitchen, a makerspace, and light manufacturing area as well as providing affiliate space, with hourly rent and shared services, for those who don’t need a full-time workspace.
  6. Newest in the pack, and still under development, is the upcoming Delta Innovation Center’ s ENGAGE (ENergy, Growth, AGriculture, and Entrepreneurship) a project of the Delta County Public Schools and Delta-Montrose Technical College. Planned to be a combination office space, coworking, workshop, and training venue, it will also serve as an innovation hub for agricultural technology, energy, and value-added food development.  ENGAGE is expected to open in 2018.
  7. ICE Lab, located on the Western State campus in Gunnison, is a mentor-driven program that pairs high-growth startups with industry specific mentors, advisors, and investors. Selected businesses undergo 12 weeks of acceleration programming, mentorship, and training, culminating in a pitch day to investors from across Colorado and beyond. https://icelab.co/
  8. SCAPE in Durango boasts 15 companies launched, 45 jobs created, and $3.6 million in capital raised. The core of the SCAPE Program is an intensive 6-month program with access to mentors, advisors, investors, seed money, and office space.
  9. Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) is leading the conversation around building real companies in mountain towns. Directing and facilitating such conversations has earned the TVA a reputation for being a global hub for entrepreneurial thinking.  Since 2012, eighteen startup companies have graduated the program and raised more than $1 million with the help of a world-class network of more than 90 mentors spanning the globe. As a result, more than 87 jobs have been created. http://www.tellurideva.com
  10. Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC) is a neutral coordinator, convener, and capacity-building initiative of the Telluride Foundation. Its purpose is to create a coordinated hub of innovation by bringing together efforts to inspire idea creation, cultivate business innovation, and build an eco-system to support sustainable outcomes. SWIC serves new and existing entrepreneurs and innovators in an eight county area, including Delta, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Montezuma, Dolores, San Juan and La Plata counties, and partners with the Telluride Venture Accelerator, Ft. Lewis College, Regions 9 & 10 Economic Development Districts, Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs, co-working spaces, and SBDCs.
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