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Small Business, Coffee at the Point Makes Big Impact

The neighborhood coffee shop is awarded as Small Business of the Year by Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce


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WINNER

COFFEE AT THE POINT

​As of one of Denver's most storied neighborhoods, Five Points, is rich in culture and history, yet has grappled with challenges to maintain a sparkling reputation in recent years.

Betting on its spirit and community, and certain they could provide a service and a platform, brothers Ryan and Donovan Cobbins crafted Coffee at the Point in 2010, providing an extensive menu and even more expansive space, with a sprawling 3,000 square feet.

Transforming the former Blackberries location at 710 East 26th Avenue, Ryan Cobbins talks of originally designing a positive, safe spot for his young daughters, though Coffee at the Point has evolved into so much more. The buzzing cafe is a versatile community meetings area, offering up enough room for meetup groups, business meetings, open mic nights, beer tastings with local breweries such as River North Brewery and Dry dock, and much more.

"For a variety of people, this is their home away from home – their office away from the office," Ryan Cobbins says, calling himself an "eternal optimist." "We realized that not everyone works 9 to 5 anymore. Whether you are coming to enjoy yourself after work or just starting your work at 8:30 p.m., we can get you a coffee or a beer. We want to accommodate that.

Last year, Coffee at the Point raised $25,000 in six weeks during a community crowdfunding campaign to buy a new espresso machine for the shop.

"Community Inspired – Community Driven," Coffee at the Point serves Novo Coffee and puts all its baristas through training classes at Novo to continue learning and refining their process. Moreover, Ryan Cobbins talks of professional development more broadly than just coffee, looking to enhance the lives of his teammates. 


FINALISTS

BRIEBUG SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS

Launched by Jesse Sanders in 2009, BrieBug operates a customer computer programming services consultancy, striving to "drive Denver technology foward." The business focuses on guiding companies in developing their own proprietary software solutions, using the latest application frameworks.

Sanders learned to code BASIC at 13 years old on his TRS80 Color Computer and started his career as a professional developer more than 20 years ago. Today, Briebug's team of talented developers are dedicated to delivering cutting-edge enterprise solutions, focusing on MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js) stack development to bring full-scale enterprise applications to life. 

In its process, BrieBug developers do an audit of a company's IT department and the products and applications being used and deployed at the outset of an engagement. Briebug's client list ranges from Fortune 1000 companies to local startups.

BrieBug concentrates on sharing a education as well as tech products. "We want to share with the community and teach clients how we do what we do," Sanders says. "Our goal is to leave company developers with the knowledge and confidence to continue creating new and exciting products for their business."

The Denver-based small business gives back to the community by conducting local meetups and learning opportunities to train and advise Colorado developers on the latest technologies. BrieBug also sponsors programs like the Icon Eyecare Tour of the Moon biking event in Grand Junction. 


STICKERGIANT

It all started in 2000 with an idea for a bumper sticker the read: "Not my president," in the aftermath of the election that fall. Founded by John Fischer, a one-man, basement business has transformed to become a 50-person Longmont operation that manufactures and prints high-quality custom stickers and labels with a quick turnaround and excellent customer service.

StickerGiant produces products using digital printing and laser finishing equipment, today calling 50,000 small- to medium-sized businesses around the globe its customers. That include ski resorts, rock bands, pizza parlors, yoga studios, and Colorado company, OtterBox.

Working toward a "culture of transparency," according to Fischer, StickerGiant uses Open Book Management practices, sharing financials and other trade secrets with his entire staff as of 2012. This creates an environment where employees are invested in the goals of the business.

"We know where we're going and what success looks like," Fischer says. 

StickerGiant mans a sophisticated social media marketing strategy, reaching hundreds of new leads and ultimately customers per week. 

The Longmont-based small business has seen revenue of $72 million to date, and focuses on its community give-back and social good, such as environmentally friendly processes. 

"Letting go of the vines," is Fischer's greatest challenge, he says. After hiring "great people ... [you] just have to get out of their way."

2018 Business Awards - Small Business of the Year Finalists from Denver Metro Chamber on Vimeo.

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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