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ColoradoBiz CEO of the Year 2015 finalist: Rick Robbins

The sunflower oil business is booming


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CEO, Colorado Mills

Robbins has led the Lamar sunflower oil refinery since 2004. After buying a partner out of a joint venture, sales have boomed, with forecasts of $15 million in 2015 and $20 million in 2016.

“Don’t get too married to your vision,” he warns. “Be flexible and free enough to let your company go where it needs to go, and do the same with your employees.”

Colorado Mills has expanded from an exclusively commercial market in the food industry to the consumer space with bottles of sunflower oil available regionally at Whole Foods and other retailers. “We started selling it in 6,000-gallon tankers,” laughs Robbins. “Now we’re learning to sell it in 750-milliliter bottles.”

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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