Small Businesses Finding Room To Grow

Companies Finding Recession Is Time To Take Chances

Sometimes you just have to take a chance and follow your gut.

That's what Boulder's Justin Perkins did last year. And, so far, he is finding out it has been the right choice.

Perkins began Olomomo Nut Company last year. It was one of many changes for him. He moved from Washington, D.C., back to his hometown of Boulder and he also became a father for the first time.

"Last year, there were a couple of times where we almost threw in the towel," Perkins admitted. "It's just so much work, especially on top of a full-time job."

But Perkins found all of the hard work is paying off. The nut company, though only selling at a handful of farmer markets, made a profit.

Perkins also put together a solid business plan that pocketed him $10,000 for winning a business contest put on by the University of Colorado Denver's Bard Center for Entrepreneurship.

"You never know how something is going to work until you have it out in the world and test it out," Perkins said. "That's been the driving philosophy here. And so far it's working."

More people are taking that chance of being their own boss. The Small Business Administration has handed 40 percent more small business loans since the stimulus bill passed in February, said SBA Colorado District Director Greg Lopez.

It is happenstance that the second place finisher in the Bard Center's business plan contest was the company that Perkins rents kitchen space from, The Organic Dish.

Owners Toby and Beckie Hemmerling opened the company three years ago. The business provides healthy, organic take-home meals for the Boulder area.

The company sprung out from a need the Hemmerlings had. Beckie battled through a medical condition. During her health scare, the couple found there was no company in Boulder that provided ready-to-cook organic meals.

"If you're always thinking about doing something but not doing it, it's never going to happen for you," Toby Hemmerling said.

Hemmerling added that besides having a solid business plan and a passion for what you are starting, it is vital to have a strong support group of friends and family.

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