Located just south downtown Boulder at 10th and Arapahoe the Boulder Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a fast-paced, hands-on, economic development nonprofit – a public/private partnership.
The SBDC support the growth and resiliency of small businesses in Boulder County by providing free business consulting, practical workshops & events and connection to resources, including financing. The SBDC helps all types of small businesses – from startups through 2nd stage, from “Main Street” through highly scalable technology ventures. Some programming in both English and Spanish. 1
Over the last 20 years, Boulder SBDC has worked with over 5,000 businesses in Boulder County. In just the past two years, the Center produced 130 workshops and events with over 2,000 attendees. Our team provided over 3,100 hours of one-on-one business consulting to 1,100 businesses and entrepreneurs. Those businesses created and retained over 850 jobs, infused over $15 million of capital and reported sales increases of $10 million and contract awards over $11 million.2
What can the SBDC do for you? It isn’t a one-time ongoing counseling, consulting and paired professional work with you one-on-one and in your company setting. The SBDC network is current and engaged with many different programs or mini-grants to help small business thrive and sometimes survie!
Here is a success story the SBDC wrote about Icebox Knitting.
Icebox Knitting is an outdoor lifestyle manufacturing company based out of Longmont. Icebox emerged from its parent company, Alpine knitting in 1993. Initially located on Seventh and Walnut street in Boulder, Icebox has been around for over two decades.
Icebox Knitting has two core brand lines, Dohm and Xob. Dohm is a traditional yet vibrant textile brand, made from yarn imported from Italy. Xob’s line is sustainably created from upcycled materials. Initially, to create Xob’s products, the Icebox team repurposed old wool sweaters from thrift shops. As the company grew, however, they needed more material than just what they could find in small local stores. Now the Xob brand sources its thrift material from Texas, where Icebox’s partner factory separates the old items by color and content. Once the upcycled material is shipped to Colorado, its spun into the sustainable products they currently sell.
Scott Baker, the owner of Icebox has worked with the SBDC in order to enhance his business. According to Scott, “I came onboard with the company ten years ago, and as soon as I did we secured an SBA loan. With the SBDC, we did monthly seminars and got advice on what we should and should not be doing. We’ve had a real nice relationship with the SBDC for the past three years and got some really helpful advice.”
Scott continued, “The SBDC has generated the best results we’ve had in doing this outreach for business counseling. Compared to the various organizations who have given us counseling the SBDC has really stood out in regard to its resources and consulting.”
Scott and his team have been utilizing the Boulder SBDC’s resources since 2012, but with more frequency in the past two years. Although Icebox certainly is not a new business, times and the market are ever changing. Recently, the SBDC has worked to see what direction Scott wants to take his business. According to Scott, “We’ve been talking about our new marketing strategy and how we can deliver our end product directly to the consumer. It has been difficult to service the retail buyer with all the new competition in the textile industry. Being a small brand, it is hard to get marketing dollars to generate a big presence, especially with the increasing number of firms.
Despite the tough competition, we at the Boulder SBDC think that Icebox has great potential for growth, particularly in regards to the development of their e-commerce platform. Scott is in concurrence and explained, “We’re looking at an e-commerce platform, and how we can deliver our product directly to the end consumer at the best rate. Our current model is wholesale, so evolving from business to business to business to consumer, and brining individual orders to customers could be a great way to generate revenue.
Like all small businesses, the development of industry and changes in demand will lead to unexpected challenges. It is important to adapt to the ever-changing times, and to keep a pliable mind when looking at your businesses future. Scott and Icebox Knitting are doing just that, and we at the Boulder SBDC are excited to see what direction they take. We are happy and proud to support a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable small business, and wish Scott and his team the absolute best.3
1 http://www.bouldersbdc.com/about, “Welcome to Boulder SBDC”
2 http://www.bouldersbdc.com/about “Welcome to Boulder SBDC”
3 http://www.bouldersbdc.com/success-story/icebox-knitting “icebox Knitting”