IGNACIO – Nine new businesses have come to Ignacio since April, and the surge seems to be led by women.
Eight out of the nine businesses were registered or co-registered by women, according to town of Ignacio business registration sheets. Nationally, women entrepreneurs receive only 4% of the total dollar value of all small-business loans, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
However, women-owned businesses seem to thrive in Colorado. Three of the nation’s top 10 cities for women’s entrepreneurship are in the state – Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins – according to a 2015 survey by Nerdwallet based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration.
This summer, the trend seems to have found its way to Ignacio.
“Why I love being a woman entrepreneur is that we really bring community aspect to it,” said Rebecca York, who bought Garcia Chiropractic and reopened her own business, Ignacio Chiropractic, in April.
Many women business owners have multiple obligations and offer services, like child care, to help balance those responsibilities, she said. York has also found a sense of community from resources such as the Small Business Administration and the 2019 Women’s Small Business Conference held July 18 at the Sky Ute Casino, organized by the Colorado Small Business Development Center.
In addition to Ignacio Chiropractic, Southwest Rainbow Youth, a nonprofit co-owned by Trennie Collins, Precious Collins, Edward Box III and Anthony Box, also registered with the town of Ignacio on April 23. Southwest Rainbow Youth, located in the ELHI Community Center, is the first of its kind in the Ignacio area and provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and plus youth opportunities to feel empowered and safe.
Then, days later, Kymberley Pierce registered Back Alley Boutique and Diesel Armour with the town. Pierce runs the boutique, while her husband manages Diesel Armour, said town clerk, Tuggy Dunton.
In May, Savannah Nichols registered Coastline Sunrise, a handmade vegan soap and skin care product business.
In June, Elizabeth Herring began offering gymnastics and tumbling instruction at Ignite Gymnastics at ELHI. Jen Anderson opened Ignacio’s newest restaurant, CJ’s Pizza, on Goddard Avenue, and Loretta Velasquez registered BeautymarkSS salon June 17.
On Monday, Devon Rockwell registered his new business, Ignacio Lawn Service.
For CJ’s Pizza owner Anderson, Ignacio offered cheaper rent, less competition and less financial risk than Durango, where she originally thought of opening. Now, the town has shown its support for the pizza shop. They are “slammed” at lunch and dinner during the work week – even tripling Anderson’s financial projections.
Town staff made the process easy, but working with the county, state, health inspectors and others involved a learning curve and some delays, Anderson said. “It was really discouraging at first.”
For Anderson and York, they also decided to bring their businesses to Ignacio because of the community itself.
“I absolutely fell in love with it,” York said. “Everyone’s very welcoming, and it’s just a small community. Everyone just seems to be a part of everything.”
Still, opening a business is not without challenges. While taking care of her own family, paying quarterly taxes, managing her business and joining the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce, York’s biggest challenge is time.
Another challenge is just having the confidence to go for it, Anderson said.
“I was scared because if you fail, it’s all on you,” she said. Now, Anderson wants women to give themselves more credit.
“I would love to see women take more chances. Women are a lot more powerful than they think they are.”