Incubator continues to turn out success stories after 25 years

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Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite businesses came to be? For some in the valley, Those business ideas have come to life through the Business Incubator.

The Incubator is hitting a major milestone. In its 25 years of existence, it has become one of the top 2,000 incubators in the world, and it hopes to continue its successful trend of turning out new companies and business men and women.

A passion for cooking and a change of scenery led "Craving" creator Jonathan Rashleigh back down the food and business path in his hometown.

"I do what I call contemporary comfort food," Rashleigh said of his food truck. “Through the food truck, I also do catering which is part of the reason I use the [Business] Incubator here."

The business incubator first opened its doors in 1987. Now 25 years later, it's provided more than 250 start up businesses the tools they need to graduate their companies into successful enterprises.

“A group of civic leaders got together in the 80s after Black Sunday," Business Incubator executive director Jon Maraschin said. "[In the program] you have to meet with counselors monthly, financial providers semi-annually."

"They can help you with writing a business plan, for people who don't know how to obtain financing,” Rashleigh added.

Over the years, the local incubator has offered its office space, manufacturing office and commercial kitchen to a gamut of clients with some moving on to much bigger things.

"With the help of the folks down there, they were very, very helpful instrumental in getting me to where I am today," HRL Compliance president and owner Herman Lucero said.

Four years ago, Lucero went to the Business Incubator. He's now the president and owner of HRL Compliance with offices in Grand Junction, Greeley and Pennsylvania.

"[We’re] a turn-key environmental consulting firm. We provide probably 95 percent of our business to the oil and gas industry," he said.

Lucero used the incubator for business and marketing decisions, something he still trusts today.

"I still rely on a few of those folks down there to bounce things off of,” Lucero said.

As for the incubator, it hopes to be doing the same thing in the next 25 years and more.

Incubator officials tell me there have been numerous success stories which have come out of their programs including businesses that have been bought out by national retailers.

The Business Incubator is serving 64 clients right now. Most businesses are on a five year plan.

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