COCTW 2013: Circle Fresh Farms to Green Garage

Circle Fresh Farms LLC

Snapshot: Denver’s own Circle Fresh Farms is a marketing group that assists a network of local farms to distribute fresh organic produce across the Front Range.

Leadership: Richard Naha is CEO. Revenues increased 194 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 286 this year.

Work Force: After its founding in 2011, the company had 16 full-time employees in 2012 and expects to have 20 this year.

Pivotal Moment: Since the demand for organic produce is high, Circle Fresh opted to retrofit abandoned greenhouses instead of building new roofs, fixing up interiors and planting new seeds within two months.

Tech Edge: The farms maintain proprietary growing methods and hydroponic technology that use less water than conventional agriculture. Circle Fresh developed a Track and Trace System that allows the retailer and the consumer to know where and when the food was harvested and where it traveled before reaching them.

Community Involvement: The company has a farm called Growhaus, a nonprofit in the Elyria Swansea neighborhood, which sells lettuce.


Citron WorkSpaces LLC

Snapshot: Louisville’s Citron Workspaces plans office interiors, sources and supplies new and used office furniture and helps liquidate excess furniture for commercial clients.

Leadership: Kathey Pear founded Citron in 2004 and serves as president. Revenues increased 24 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 9 percent this year.

Work Force: The company expects to reach 20 full-time workers this year.

Pivotal Moment: Citron recognized the need for a “blended furniture solutions” program that uses a combination of existing furniture, used furniture, and new furniture to provide options for environmental and budget-conscious clients.

Community Involvement: Citron sponsors and attends events such as Taste of Louisville, Louisville Parade of Lights, Bonfils Blood Drive and Relay for Life East Boulder County. The company offers a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program, which grants each employee two days off annually, in addition to their vacation time, to volunteer for a nonprofit of their choice.

Company Culture: The company offers team building activities such as mountain ski weekends, happy hour get-togethers and pot-luck lunches. Other group activities include wine/painting sessions and museum tours.


Cycla LLC

Snapshot: Cycla is a family-run professional thrift recycling company servicing local and national thrift stores, commercial laundries and penitentiary textile recycling. The company was founded in 2007 and is based in Federal Heights.

Leadership: Patricia McCully is company president.

Pivotal Moment: Leadership recognized there was a large untapped volume of landfill waste and associated disposal costs in the thrift store environment. Cycla expanded its recycling services beyond textiles, to books, plastics, metals and electronics.

Tech Edge: Instead of offering single source recycling, Cycla made a decision to identify expert third party suppliers to offer a tool box of options to better manage multiple waste categories.

Community Involvement: In 2011 Cycla provided the seed money to start a Colorado company, Recycle That LLC, to partner with nonprofits and help raise funds through textile recycling. Today Recycle That supports nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Hospice of Saint John and others. Combined efforts of both companies nationwide have diverted more than 230 million pounds of textile waste from landfills.

Discovery Outsourcing LLC

Snapshot: Since 2003 Discovery Outsourcing has offered small and mid-sized businesses a single-source for benefits, payroll, human resources and risk management. Revenues increased 17 percent in 2012 and are projected to grow 12 percent this year.

Leadership: Todd Beutel has been CEO of the Greenwood Village-based business since 2009. 

Pivotal Moment: Leadership decided the company is not a product or sales provider but a service organization.

Tech Edge: Discovery Outsourcing runs on ASP systems that are housed at data centers across the country and are fully SAS70 compliant. The company provides full Web-based solutions for clients, so they can hire new employees without wasting paper. Instead clients use a secure Web portal to access personal information including paystubs, W2 forms and benefit packages.

Community Involvement: In 2012 Discovery launched its corporate volunteer program. The first event took place at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Discovery employees participated in arts and crafts with patients and their families. The company also made a holiday gift donation to Children’s Hospital on behalf of clients.


Doc Popcorn

Snapshot: Doc Popcorn is a popcorn retailer out of Boulder with more than 80 franchised units in 25 states.

Leadership: Husband and wife team Rob and Renée Israel cofounded the company in 2003. Rob is CEO or Big Pop and Renee is Mama Pop. Revenues increased 84 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 46 percent this year.

Work Force: The company expects to have 18 full-time workers in 2013.

Big Break: Doc Popcorn needed a high-traffic venue to test the product in time for the 2003 winter holiday season. A property manager from Macerich offered a space for free that a cookie vendor had occupied at Flatiron Crossing.

Community Involvement: Doc Popcorn launched the Popping for Pink program, raising more than $15,000 for the Foxy Lady Fund, which provides free breast cancer screenings through Boulder Community Hospital.

Company Culture: A Pop-It-Forward program empowers employees to give a free bag of popcorn a week to someone in need as defined by the giver. The team can do impromptu activities such as closing down early to go to a Rockies game or go bowling.


Snapshot: Easter-Owens is a custom metal fabrication shop providing design, manufacturing and custom product solutions for the oil and gas, solar and wind, defense contracting, correctional and mining industries. The company was founded in 1955 and is based in Arvada.

Leadership: David Easter has been president and CEO since 1980. Revenues increased 82 percent in 2012 and are set to increase by another 25 percent this year.

Work Force: The company expects to employ 98 full-timers this year.

Pivotal Moment: When David Easter took leadership of his father’s company, David decided the corrections market would be the path to the company’s prosperity. Later Easter-Owens ventured into the world of oil and gas.

Tech Edge: Easter-Owens kept up with technological advances in manufacturing by purchasing state-of-the-art machinery such as high-powered lasers and superior material handling equipment. As such the operation went from simple, local fabrication to manufacturer of medium voltage buildings and programmable logic controller panels.

Community Involvement: Easter-Owens is a regular contributor and supporter of the Arvada Police Departments, fire stations, churches, high schools and the Arvada Food Bank. David Easter is an active member of the Jefferson County Economic Council, offering his assistance by providing leadership and direction to city decision makers.


Ecosphere Environmental Services Inc.

Snapshot: Ecosphere Environmental Services is an environmental consulting firm that has specialized in environmental compliance and permitting, natural resources consulting, public outreach and participation and environmental planning and monitoring since 1982. Revenues increased 40 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 16 percent this year.

Leadership: Mike Fitzgerald has been president of the Durango-based business since 1997.

Work Force: The company had 35 full-time and four part-time employees in 2012.

Pivotal Moment: Ecosphere recently hired a professional human resource and organizational management specialist, re-engineered the company’s computer network and adopting process and quality improvement applications.

Tech Edge: This year Ecosphere developed a company-wide, all-inclusive training program for project and process management. The company leveraged technology such as SharePoint, which allows the team to effectively track the status of 350 projects annually.

Community Involvement: In 2009 the Board of Directors voted to focus on giving to local nonprofit and community development organizations. Ecosphere provides in-kind environmental services and financial support to the Durango Discovery Museum, public radio stations, La Plata County Economic Development Alliance (Enterprise Zone) and others.


EnerHealth Botanicals

Snapshot: EnerHealth Botanicals manufactures health products such as food, supplements and herbal medicine to help customers achieve optimal health.

Leadership: Steve St. Clair and Darren Craddock founded the company in 2005. St. Clair is president and CEO and Craddock is vice president of product development. Revenues increased 20 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 100 percent this year.

Work Force: The company had eight full-time equivalent employees in 2012 and expects to have 11 this year.

Pivotal Moment: The company recently moved from Internet-based sales to stores, and signed a distribution agreement that will put the products on thousands of store shelves across the country.

Community Involvement: EnerHealth supports Evergreen High School’s sporting and philanthropic activities. Also a friend of Sales Manager Ryan St. George climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for cerebral palsy research, and EnerHealth provided him with herbs, supplements and supplies to help him train and complete his climb.

Company Culture: Staff members occasionally get together on the weekends and donate time to various projects from diabetes charity walks to planting gardens.


Freenotes Harmony Park Inc.

Snapshot: Since 2010 Freenotes Harmony Park has manufactured durable outdoor musical instruments out of Durango that are permanently installed in the ground for parks, schools and playgrounds.

Leadership: Owner Christy Cooke experienced a revenue increase of 36 percent in 2012 and Freenotes projected to increase 32 percent this year.

Work Force: Freenotes expects to have nine full-time and five part-time employees this year.

Pivotal Moment: The company switched from direct to wholesale sales through a national network of distributors, which helped it create a national brand for the products and a wider reach among industries in Europe, Canada, Australia, Chile, Israel and Singapore.

Tech Edge: Richard Cooke, Christy Cooke’s husband and the company designer, created durable acoustical designs for outdoor environments. Freenotes instruments are tuned, wheelchair accessible and designed for any age, gender, ethnicity and physicality. For architects and site planners, the company’s website has state-of-the-art 3D CAD drawings available in nine formats to facilitate a drag and drop function.

Community Involvement: Freenotes strives to be a green manufacture, so it looks for local suppliers first for all goods and services.


Green Garage

Snapshot: Green Garage is a vehicle repair and maintenance provider in Boulder that uses new technologies to save money, time and the planet.

Leadership: In 2009 Ryan Ferrero founded Green Garage and has gone on as CEO and chief carhugger. Steve Kirchner is president.

Work Force: The company had 25 full-time and three part-time employees in 2012, and expects to have 75 full-time and three part-timers this year.

Pivotal Moment: In 2011, after testing and measuring technological, operational and customer acquisition models, the company converted an existing garage to a Green Garage and customers responded positively. Last year the company built Green Garage V 2.0 with the help of advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Oz Architecture.

Community Involvement: Green Garage supports academia with internships primarily from the University of Colorado Boulder and from high schools as well. The company tries to teach students business strategy, work ethic and sustainability.

Company Culture: Green Garage offers innovative employees empowerment, promotions from within and general respect. Rather than refer to a technician as a tech or mechanic, the company has carhuggers, and instead of a service adviser, the garage has greenskeepers.