November 14, 2013

Unique Consignment Store Available in Alamosa

Bottom Feeder Emporium Helps You Sell Your Old Treasures

If you have any antiques or unusual items you might be thinking of selling and donʼt know the value, consider checking into the Bottom Feeder Emporium located on 3330 Clark Street (Just south of Walmart) in Alamosa. Since 2001, Linda Falkenthal and her daughter, Lynn, have been selling and buying unique items through eBay and now have opened a store to showcase their expanding wares. Their motto - Helping you sell your
old treasures and find your new treasures.

Linda puts a lot of time and effort into researching the items her clients bring in to find the appropriate value. The best part of doing the research, Linda says, “I love learning about the history of a doll or piece of furniture and sharing that with my clients. This is
the heart and soul of what I enjoy the most.” Linda does in depth searching through Google, Twitter, collector groups on Facebook and much more. She has learned in order for her client (the person who brings in the item), to do research before taking the item, to ensure that she and her client makes enough money. Therefore, she loves educating her clients. There was a “Alice in Wonderland” 29 piece set that a client was planning to sell for only $9.00 at a garage sale, when she learned about the Bottom Feeder Emporium. Linda researched this unusual item and was able to sell this set for $4,700!

What makes the Bottom Feeder Emporium different from other consignment stores is that they take furniture, dolls, china, books and other collectibles. Where as, most other consignment stores, which are usually in the larger cities, mostly sell clothes and jewelry. This is not a pawn shop or non-profit thrift store, the Bottom Feeder Emporium
is a consignment store that doesn't negotiate prices and there is no haggling like a yard sale. A layaway policy is available along with a consignment agreement. Furthermore, they comply to city ordinance is case something comes in stolen.

Lindaʼs attendance to the Small Business Development Center Leading Edge Class
(589-3682) several years ago was instrumental in getting clear on her path of selling
this type of item as well as getting support from encouraging staff members.
At least once a month, they attend auctions in Denver or around the San Luis Valley.
Therefore, there is always fresh merchandise to check out in their store on Clark Street
making it a great place to shop for birthday or Christmas gifts. However, the store is
only a fraction of what the Bottom Feeder Emporium offers. 

To view more items, please
visit or

For more information, email- or call 719-937-8098.

September 30, 2013

What Your Business Needs to Know about Health Care Reform

Presented by Donna Wehe
 Hub Coordinator for Health Coverage Guides, SLV Health

Wednesday, October 2

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Bistro Rialto, Downtown Alamosa

Free and Open to the Public-Bring a Friend!

Sponsored by Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce

New to Alamosa- Smoothyʼs Juice Bar!

Do you remember hearing your mom mentioning to always eat your greens? On June
8, 2013, Smoothyʼs Juice Bar opened in Alamosa on 504 West Ave. (Corner of Hwy
285 and 160), Smoothyʼs Juice Bar offers an easy way for you to incorporate your daily intake of greens through tasty smoothies. Donna Chappell decided to open this business mainly for the health of the people. She feels because of her experience of owning and managing the Healthy Living Shoppe (also in Alamosa), that she knows the community and what they are asking and looking for, to stay healthy.

Smoothyʼs Juice Bar offers green and fruit smoothies, wraps, spinach salad, ice cream, milk shakes, coffee and baked goodies. Donna also uses the juice pulp to create a popular carrot cake that has no refined sugar. Another asset is the drive thru on the south side of the building for people on the go or if you have called in an order.

Since opening her retail business, Donna has been working with the Small Business Development Center (589-3682) and was encouraged and supported with the many challenges that face new business owners.

Donnaʼs goals for the future are to keep educating people on the value of smoothies and how easy it is to incorporate them into your life. A basic green smoothie consists of OJ, apple juice, spinach, choice of fruit or banana, but you can also make your own with one fruit, one juice and one green.  Donna now also offers, Orange Smoothieus with vanilla ice cream and fresh oranges. Plus, there are specialties smoothies such as peach almond, blueberry nut and coffee almond breakfast.

Her biggest challenge is just getting the word out that Smoothyʼs Juice Bar is open. Satisfied customers may be her best advertisement as Donna is already receiving positive feedback. 

Donna said, "One of my employees lost 13 pounds in two months drinking green
smoothies every morning. It was a gradual loss but now she watches her food intake more, doesn't crave sweets as much and feels so much better. Now she wonʼt go without her smoothie every morning and is feeding her grand-babies husband, and daughter green smoothies as well."

Smoothyʼs Juice Bar is open: Monday -Friday 7 am - 7pm, Sunday 10 -6 and you can reach them at  719-496-7339.

September 25, 2013

San Luis Valley SBDC Welcomes New Director

Jeff Owsley

Director, San Luis Valley SBDC
Jeff Owsley's roots in small business and the San Luis Valley go back several generations, making him a dedicated and insightful director for the San Luis Valley Small Business Development Center.
Owsley's small business experience includes helping to launch a regional franchise in Colorado and Wyoming and a high tech start-up in Colorado Springs. He was a market manager for more than 30 retail stores in 13 counties in Colorado and consulted with hundreds of businesses in advertising through the Valley Courier and the Colorado Springs Gazette. 
Owsley spent five years in a rural area of Albania just after the fall of communism, where he advised three levels of government on the transition to the free enterprise system and helped dozens of Albanians start small businesses. 
Before joining the San Luis Valley SBDC, Owsley was the director of La Puente Enterprises, where he supervised numerous small businesses and helped to found an initiative for individuals to start micro-enterprises in the San Luis Valley.
Owsley is a graduate of Adams State University’s business program with a concentration in marketing and a masters degree in cross cultural work. His education helped him to launch a career that has been balanced between business and non-profit management. 
719-589-3682 |

July 17, 2013

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance

Release Date:  July 16, 2013

Media Contact:  Richard Jenkins
Release Number:  CO 13662-01
Phone:  (916) 735-1500

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Colorado Small Businesses

Economically Impacted by the West Fork Fire Complex

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Karen Mills, Administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), today announced that SBA is making low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses economically impacted by the West Fork Fire Complex that began June 5, 2013.  SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. John W. Hickenlooper on July 10, 2013.

The declaration makes SBA assistance available in the primary Colorado counties of Hinsdale, Mineral and Rio Grande and the neighboring counties of Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Gunnison, La Plata, Ouray, Saguache and San Juan.

“The U. S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Colorado’s small businesses with federal disaster loans.  We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of this disaster,” said Administrator Mills.

“Beginning Tuesday, July 23, SBA customer service representatives (CSRs) and counselors from the San Luis Valley and Western Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to help small businesses impacted by the West Fork Fire Complex,” said SBA’s Colorado District Director Greg Lopez.  “The centers are designed to provide key financial and counseling services to businesses impacted by the fires,” he continued.  The centers will be open on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary.

Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Carnegie Library, South Fork Branch
31 Mall Street
South Fork, CO  81154

Tues., July 23 thru Fri. July 26
10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce
904 S. Main Street
Creede, CO  81130

Mon., July 29 thru Thurs. Aug. 1
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Lake City DIRT
231 N. Silver Street #5
(Upstairs from the bank)
Lake City, CO  81235

Mon., Aug. 5 & Tues., Aug 6
8:00 am to 4:30 pm

According to Lopez, SBA CSRs will answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, explain the application process, and help each business owner complete their application.  Colorado SBDC State Director Kelly Manning said, “Our SBDC counselors will provide free counseling on a wide variety of matters designed to help these businesses overcome the effects of the disaster and plan for their future. Services include assessing business economic injury, evaluating the business’s strength, cash flow projections and most importantly, reviewing all options to ensure each business makes decisions that are appropriate for its situation.  They will also help businesses apply for this much needed financial help.”

“Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” Lopez continued.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.  Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Lopez added.

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage.  These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for small businesses and 2.875 percent for private, nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years.  EIDLs are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at

For owners of these impacted small businesses, SBA disaster loan information and applications are available by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s Web site at Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 15, 2014.

SBA Field Operations Center - West, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841

July 11, 2013

Chamber Business Network Meeting

 August 7, 2013

Bistro Rialto,
Alamosa, CO

6:00-8:00  p.m.


Chamber Business Network Meetings are held once a month. You do not have to be a Chamber Member to attend.  This is a great opportunity to network with other local businesses and promote your business.
  Bring your friends!  

Or call the SBDC at 589-3682

July 10, 2013

Open Skies Acupuncture is a Community Style Clinic New Business in Alamosa

It seems like one business closes and another opens quite frequently.  At 407 State Avenue in Suite D, that is exactly what happened to allow Tanner Fritscka an opportunity to locate his new clinic, Open Skies Acupuncture (former business was Open Skies Yoga Studio).  Tanner is professionally educated in acupuncture and Chinese medicine but wanted to try a different business model.  He wanted to make his practice affordable and accessible to everyone who could benefit from multiple treatments.  In working with the Small Business Development Center (589-3682), he received assistance in setting up and managing the bookkeeping and other logistical issues.  He was provided networking and relevant marketing ideas and assistance with finding a location.  He attended the workshop “Starting Your Own Business,” which he found helpful in guiding him on the steps necessary to get the venture started.
                Tanner identified his own challenges in becoming a small business owner: “Being a great acupuncturist does not always mean that a person has the personality or skills to market, network, and thrive on the business end of the spectrum.  I had to learn how to market my services and myself. It was not an easy task, mostly because I don’t like to be a “salesman.”  In overcoming this challenge, Tanner decided to try a different business model that allows him to offer affordable care without being pushy.  He said, “The more my clients can afford to come back, the more they feel better.”
            When speaking with the SBDC Director, Donna Wehe, Tanner described how his atmosphere will be different from other places.  Tanner explained, “I decided to streamline and simplify a lot of things, which allowed me to lower my prices.  The ability to come in for treatment as much as a person needs to has made a huge difference in the health of my patients.
                At our clinic, people pay whatever they feel comfortable with on our scale of $15 to $45, keeping in mind that folks often need a series of frequent treatments for acupuncture to be the most effective.  We can do this because we provide Community style acupuncture.  This means that treatments are given in a large, quiet, comfortable room; in a recliner, rather than lying on a table; and people do not need to disrobe, they just need to roll their sleeves up to your elbows and their pants up to your knees; people can stay as long as they want, and there are other people getting treated at the same time in the same way, in the same room.  People love it because it makes it easy for people to get treatments whenever they want, to be treated with their families and friends, to feel comfortable rather than isolated, and to create a palpable calming and healing energy that makes the individual treatments more effective.”

                The best way to find out more about the business is the website:, or his Facebook page, Open Skies Acupuncture. People are always more than welcome to call Tanner as well.  His number is 719-588-7113.

July 8, 2013

Mineral & Rio Grande Counties Business & Employees Disaster Assistance Center

Disaster Assistance Center

Creede Community Center
503 Forest Service Rd #9
Tuesday, July 9, 10 am - 4 pm.

Services will be directed towards businesses and employees who are being affected by the fires.

Services/Resources will include:

 Department of Labor and Employment/Workforce Center
 Small Business Development Center
 San Luis Valley Development Resources Group/Council of Government
 San Luis Valley Mental Health & San Luis Valley Victim Resource Unit
 Rio Grande/Mineral Department of Social Services
 Mineral County Public Health
 Department of Regulatory Agencies/Division of Insurance
 Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association
 Colorado State University Extension Service
 Chambers of Commerce
 USDA Rural Development
 Colorado Rural Housing and Development Corp
 Local Financial Institutions
 Red Cross

June 27, 2013

Grampa's Gourmet Honey opens Retail Location in East Alamosa

Brent Edelen is a sixth generation beekeeper and a fourth generation domestic beekeeper.  He was recently telling Donna Wehe (Small Business Development Center, 589-3682) about how his family ended up here in the Valley:
“My great grandfather, Edward Haefeli, passed through Elis Island around the turn of the former century. On his way from Switzerland, he had come to America to seek work and medical help for Tuberculosis. He made his way to Illinois, where he had family, but found the high humidity of the area aggravated his T.B. He continued west towards California. While crossing the Rockies he found the high dry mountain air helped this condition considerably. He eventually settled in the San Luis Valley.”

Today Brent manages about 500 colonies of bees.  They have two brand names for their company: Grampa’s Gourmet and Simply Honey.  They strive to produce real varietal honey for real people and educate people. They bring a quality honey product to the market.  I asked them if there is a difference between locally produced hone and something commercially produced.  Brent replied, “You have to be careful and understand the source.  Sometimes when you buy honey in the store you do not know exactly what you are getting. I have been in business in Alamosa now for about 10 years, selling honey exclusively wholesale and at various venues. This year, through acts of fate, we opened a retail location. The store is not just to sell honey, but rather to help educate.  The popularity of bees has exploded, and our goal is to provide a platform where people can come and learn about honey, bees, and most importantly heritage, sustainability, and showcase what makes the SLV so special.”  A story about Brent’s business ran in the Cooking Light magazine in August, 2012.  For more information or to order their products online, go to

At Brent’s location in east Alamosa (across from the Southway Crane, one mile east of the bridge), Karen Lemke will be using part of the building to offer Honey Lab Workshops, where participants can make their own beeswax lip balm, candles, cooking techniques and much more.  Email Karen at to get a list of classes.

The SBDC and Consultant Esteban Salazar have been guiding Brent in the new retail venture, with assistance from marketing to sales tax and much more.  In fact, Esteban is going to be working there part time, so stop by and greet Brent and his crew at their open house.  The open house is scheduled for July 5th (free sopapillas & honey samples) and 6th (free barbecue).  The regular hours are Wednesday-Friday, 8:00 – 6:00 and Saturday & Sunday 10:00-4:00.  They can be reached at (719) 588-5863.

June 26, 2013

Mineral & Rio Grande Counties Business And Employee Disaster Assistance Center

Rio Grande County Annex
965 6th Street, Del Norte, CO 81132. 
Friday, June 28, 10 am - 7 pm.

Services will be directed towards businesses and employees who are being affected by the fires.

Services/Resources will include:
· Department of Labor and Employment/Workforce Center
· Small Business Development Center
· San Luis Valley Development Resources Group/Council of Government
· San Luis Valley Mental Health
· Rio Grand County Social Services
· Department of Regulatory Agencies/Division of Insurance
· Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association
· Chambers of Commerce
· USDA Rural Development
· Colorado Rural Housing and Development Corp
· Local financial institutions