Outdoor Recreation Business Is Heating Up in Colorado

It’s no surprise that Colorado is a destination for some of the greatest skiing and snowboarding on the planet. What’s changing though is the increase in emphasis on other types of seasonal recreation in our state. The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) has formed what they call the “Colorado Tourism Roadmap“, and some of the main objectives are to get the input of locations throughout the state and develop marketing campaigns aimed at drawing visitors of all kinds to Colorado. While some of the strategy is to tap into the obvious and abundant natural resources in certain areas of the state, the purpose for CTO is to market cross-region experiences for both in-state and out-of-state travelers. More travel equals more spending and tax dollars into the state’s coffers, as evidenced by the last few years data. According to recent numbers, Colorado leads most states when it comes to the outdoor industry, boasting $646 billion dollars in business.

Key in that has success has been the development of jobs surrounding the outdoor industry, and leading the charge to make sure that happens is the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (CORIA). Established in 2015 the mission is not only to help with economic development, but to help promote stewardship, conservation and sustainability in the use of Colorado’s natural resources. CORIA’s mission is to try and both keep and attract outdoor industry businesses in Colorado. In their words, “We champion industry, communities and people to come to life through Colorado’s Great Outdoors.” Another area of concern is how to slow the departure of businesses, as some outdoor businesses and organizations have left Colorado for Utah, and CORIA is in part responsible for being an ambassador for the outdoor industry in Colorado; part of that work is to show how Colorado is a better option to over our neighbors in the Beehive State.

With these initiatives working in tandem, it goes to show that Colorado is well-positioned to be an attractive location for businesses who run in the outdoor industry space, for both existing companies and those considering making Colorado their home. Something that should work in the favor of those businesses is proposed legislation that could streamline the permitting process that exists now. If passed, the bill would create a special designation for certain prized recreation spots, and in turn, that means support businesses would be able to come into existence to offer provisions, equipment and even accommodations. Colorado is already home to a very strong manufacturing culture, so it’s doubly positioned to provide both the facilities and the workforce to support such industry, should it either come from elsewhere or be spawned locally because of outdoor industry’s growth. Either way, the time is right for small business to make it big in the outdoor industry and at the same time, help continue to grow the Colorado economy.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80209
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM

Colorado’s Cottage Food Industry Grows Stronger

For a small business owner looking to test the waters of entrepreneurship in the food industry, the cottage foods industry option might be just the thing. You might ask, “What are cottage foods?“, and for that, we can consult with the Act itself, but it’s largely limited to a variety of foods that are prepared in such as way as to not require refrigeration and must be sold directly to consumers, versus restaurants or grocery stores. Additionally, the sales of such items must take place at the producer’s location, or at a farmer’s market or other similar community-supported event/venue that deals directly with consumers. Think back to the time where you bought a jar of specialty jam or pickles at your local farmer’s market, and you were most likely supporting a cottage food producer.

When the Senate Bill 12-048 (or the Colorado Cottage Foods Act) was enacted, a cap on the amount of sales permitted under the act made it difficult for a producer to scale up as they needed, should their micro-business experience rapid growth. An additional issue was the short list of approved items, which seemed slightly thin on the variety of products available for making. In 2015, things changed under a few amendments, designed to lift that sales cap and also provide for a greater range of allowed products.

Amendments House Bills 15-085 and 15-1102 improved the original Act to increase items permitted and when a few steps further into defining the products by use of tiers. Those tiers are broken down into the following configurations:

–Tier One Foods: Spices, teas, dehydrated produce, nuts, seeds, honey, jams, jellies, preserves, fruit butter, flour, and baked goods, which include candies, tortillas, and fruit emapanadas.

–Tier Two Foods: Pickled vegetables which have an equilibrium PH value of 4.6 or lower, and other non-hazardous foods. For example, sales are permitted of eggs to a level of 250 per month, so backyard chicken owners might be able to sell a bit of their overflow.

These provisions expand the diversity of available cottage food items for consumers, as well as extend the opportunities for people producing them. Along with these provisions, House Bill 15-1102 addresses the labeling of such products, so consumers are aware of the production classification and its production source, so consumers can easily identify they are purchasing items produced in a home kitchen, versus an industrial site.

While it might seem like the cottage food industry is “small potatoes”, one need only look at a company like Boulder County-based Celestial Seasonings to get the inspiration they need to take their product from their kitchen to a large-scale facility. Starting back in 1969, founder Mo Siegel was hand-picking wild herbs in our local mountains and creating their very first tea, and today, their product line has expanded dramatically to more than 105 varieties of tea, with ingredients being sourced from over 35 countries.

If starting a cottage food industry is something you are considering, keep in mind there are some trainings the state offers in order to make sure you are adhering to strict purity and production standards, as well as making sure you’re compliant as possible with state regulations surrounding your product(s).

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80209
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM

Denver’s Housing Crunch and The Impact on Small Business

News of Denver’s housing crunch isn’t really anything new, as reports of the housing shortage have been in the spotlight for the last few years. What is new is the toll it’s taking on small businesses and the employees that work for them. Current figures estimate Colorado grew by as much as 101,000 residents during the previous 12 months, and with growth like that, jobs and the competition to get them is fierce.

Live, Work, but Where?
With such explosive population numbers, housing becomes a greater concern, as most people prefer to work close to where they live, but as people try to find a place to live, low inventory of properties both for rent and purchase, there are often more people than places to house them. Home-seekers are pushed further and further from the metro in order to locate the housing they need, and this can sometimes drive those same people to chose work that is closer to their new residence. For small businesses, this can spell trouble because the talent they need might now reside too far away to make the drive worth it. This can breed some competition for the employee, and create a type of “wage bidding war”, but not all small businesses are ready for the fight and have to stick close to their compensation budgets to maintain steady footing themselves.

Talent Gap
And speaking of talent, a recent CU-Boulder survey indicated that Colorado businesses overall are concerned about a talent shortage, meaning there appears to be a lack of skilled employees for small businesses to choose from, even though there are a great deal of people entering the state. This means companies will be challenged to do more things than usual to both acquire and keep the best hires for their needs.

The talent shortage cuts across many industries, including tech, as well as construction and medical. However, it’s not all bleak; economic forecasts point to another strong year of job growth, which will continue to help Colorado enjoy unemployment rates and decreased consumer inflation.

A Different Kind of Competition
Despite the pressing issues of housing and a talent gap, small businesses in the Denver area are also presented with a unique opportunity; they can leverage to get the people they want, while at the same time out-witting their competition. Because people aren’t always motivated by just money, employers have a chance to offer other things that could attract the ideal hire. People cite the “Work/Life Balance” as something that drives them towards certain opportunities, as well as versatile framework in which to get the work done. Employers can offer work-from-home or flextime schedules, on-site daycare, and a host of other perks that might help them secure just the perfect next hire. Small businesses that can tap into some of the intrinsic needs of their employees will inevitably be the ones that entice the right people to work for them, even if they have to live out in the suburbs.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80209
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM

A Look Back at Small Business Week: Great Advice from Entrepreneurs

Often, the start of a new year can raise a lot of different feelings in us. What do I want to change? What are my goals? Will 2016 be the year I actually use my gym membership?

You may have turned the corner into the new year determined to cease working for “the man” and ready to strike out on your own. If so, congratulations! While deciding to start your own business is an exciting idea, it’s also important to remember that it’s a significant undertaking, no matter the scale.

Several steps are involved in starting, getting up to speed, and then maintaining your new company. The most useful thing you can do at the outset is make sure you’re as ready as possible.

If the new year has indeed gotten you up close and personal with a switch over to the entrepreneur track, consider these things first.

Jumping in with both feet to a new business takes commitment. Do a gut check: are you passionate about your idea? Do you believe in it so deeply that it will carry you through the long hours and lean times in the start-up phase? Your business concept doesn’t matter as much as your belief in it. That becomes your lifeblood once the initial excitement has passed.

Ask yourself how well you tolerate risk. Some people thrive on it, but for others it’s more difficult. Your business isn’t guaranteed to succeed, no matter how much you think it will. Factors out of your control such as location, political volatility, or cultural change can make or break a company overnight. Will you be able to deal with the ups and downs that usually come with a business start-up — or even its potential failure?

Starting a business means that you will be chief cook and bottle washer for a while — everything becomes your responsibility initially. You have to get your idea out there in front of people and wear several different hats in the beginning stages: sales, HR, administrative, marketing, financial. Is taking on major responsibility a good fit for you? And are you nimble enough to handle it?

Included under the umbrella of responsibility is the ability to make decisions, many of which can be challenging in a small business atmosphere. Do you wear decision-making well? Is this an area in which your strengths consistently show up?

Lastly, the elusive work-life balance. Any entrepreneur who has started her own business can tell you that you go full speed at the outset, and sometimes it doesn’t slow down as quickly as you would like. You may lose time with family, friends, or hobbies that feed you in other ways. Is this the right time in your life to devote all your energies to this undertaking, and do you have the support of others to do so?

Starting your own business is an exciting ride, and one that should be undertaken with realistic consideration. If now is your time, dive in! And let me know how I can support you.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80209
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM

Sweeping Changes to Alcohol Sales Law in Colorado

For many years, a battle has raged on about Colorado grocers and larger scale retailers being able to sell at multiple locations throughout the state. To head off a potential ballot measure come November, Governor John Hickenlooper has signed into law SB 16-197.

The new law allows for a “phase-in”, where grocers and larger retailers can move from selling the less-popular 3.2 percent beer they can sell now, to selling full-strength beer. The law takes effect in January 2017 and further allows these businesses to sell in up to 20 locations over the next 20 years, whereas current law allows permits only one location per business to sell in the state. More sales in more locations can also mean more revenue for the state, as consumers will presumably have a better selection when doing their grocery shopping, so greater sales will be made at that time. More sales = more taxes.

While there have been opponents and proponents to the bill outside the halls of the Senate, the bill had bipartisan support, partially derived by compromises reached during the final days of this legislative session. Opponents have been voicing concerns over the impact it would have on “mom and pop” liquor stores, and the craft brew industry, and proponents have have assured those smaller shops that they too will benefit.

According to the bill’s enhancements, smaller shops and even the tiny corner drugstore would have the ability to have up to four licenses, and the ability to sell other items, such as fresh food products. Additionally, the bill has provisions that encourage (but don’t require) the buying of Colorado products, which would be managed under the auspices of a designated manager.

Even with this significant change taking place, Your Choice Colorado (an opponent to the legislation) is considering a ballot measure in November so voters can weigh in with their own opinion about what they would like to see on grocer’s shelves. It’s not certain if they’re pursue this measure, but supporters of SB 16-197, such as Keep Colorado Local hope they don’t. “This historic compromise protects local small businesses and Colorado’s unique craft brewing culture while allowing the phase-in of alcohol sales in grocery stores.”, states their Facebook announcement, following the Governor’s signing.

Only time will really tell how this new law impacts small businesses and consumers alike, but for now, it looks like at the very least, shoppers will have more choices when they’re picking ingredients for dinner.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80209
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM