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Inspiring Stories from Fort Collins

The heart of our mission at VoyageDenver is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of Denver’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Fort Collins’ rising stars below.

Kelly Fenson-Hood

Red Branch Bakery is a family-owned, home-based bakery in Loveland. Our mission is to deliver happiness through simple, old-world baking techniques.  Our story starts with Kieran, my husband, and the baker. Originally from New York, where the bread is delicious and everyone knows about crumb cake, he was so disappointed in Colorado’s bread scene so he decided to learn to make a proper loaf of long-fermented sourdough. With his cooking background, sourdough quickly expanded to pretzels, rye, tea breads, cookies, and pies. I’m Kelly and coming from an entrepreneurial background, I saw an opportunity to build a business and fill Loveland’s bakery void. But instead of opening a brick-and-mortar store, with high overhead, long hours, and limited flexibility, I wanted to re-envision our business model to support a lifestyle where we could work from home, stay close to our baby and eventually establish the bakery as one component of a larger urban homesteading vision, complete with selling eggs, honey and organic produce.  Read more>>

Miriam Lievano-Montes

I’m a 36-year-old Latina, born to Mexican parents. I became pregnant at the age of 17, and shortly after my 18th birthday, I had my daughter, Alexa. She changed my life completely and turned a once rebellious teen with no path in life into a young mom eager to prove to her daughter that life is what you make of it and how the decisions we make can either elevate you or bring you down. I walked the stage at my high school graduation with her in my arms and made her the promise to always be an example for her and any siblings that would come. A couple of years later, I had my second child Nathan, and I knew then I needed more than just a regular job, I needed to find a purpose. I landed a job working for a small business that did Taxes, Insurance, and Notary. It was then that I found myself helping more and more of my Hispanic community and fell in love with being someone that they could trust and come to for help. Read more>>

Ashley Ruffer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to run a hot sauce shop. When the pandemic hit, I realized that many small businesses needed assistance, so we jumped into action and bought as many small-batch, small business hot sauces as we could find! From then, we decided we wanted to promote the sauces and sell them as well! Now we are a retail company and have every sauce you crave!. Read more>>

Kristen Arnold

In 2016, I launched my private practice sports nutrition counseling business, started coaching cyclists, and became a professional cyclist. This was the summer after graduating from graduate school at The Ohio State University with a degree in Human Nutrition. I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a USA Cycling Level 2 coach. The private practice and coaching pursuits were original to support my lifestyle as a professional athlete. I needed flexible hours and the ability to work on my own time in order to accommodate a heavy training and racing schedule. Through the years my businesses grew into a sustainable career of working for myself. Read more>>

Shana Stolz

After spending 14 years in retail sales my husband and I decided I should be a stay-at-home mom to our two boys. Best decision ever! But I will say after about six months, I was starting to feel a little antsy being just with the kids with little adult interaction. We were also tight on money. Without my extra income buying, extra things like presents became an issue. As a kid, I was always a crafty one so I started making things to give as gifts. It all started with hand painting signs to give to my kids and nephews. They became popular with friends and family and so I started a business in 2015 called Rise & Shine Signs. I loved doing craft shows for the interactions (oh how I love people and getting to chat!!!), Etsy was great then ( not so many people selling the same things), and I even had booth space at a local vintage market for a bit. I could make my own schedule, be home with the kids, and have my creative outlet… I mean, it was honestly like my dream job!. Read more>>

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