On serial entrepreneurship in Grand County: A look at local business owners
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Granby-based entrepreneur Lucas Harville over the last three years. It’s been a pleasure because he’s evolving into a classic serial entrepreneur.
That’s not meant to have the same negative connotation as in “serial killer.” To be a serial entrepreneur is a good thing and the evolution of Lucas’s serial entrepreneurship in Granby says a lot about starting, expanding and even folding businesses in Grand County — and about helping to create a new active business hub in Granby.
Mad Munchies is the business he’s folding . . . for now. Lucas has owned and operated that Granby mainstay for the last one and a half years. But closing there isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s opening the door for many new and exciting things to come.
We started working together when Lucas set his sights on Granby and wanted to buy Jill Miles’ drive-through coffee shop in Granby. Lucas worked up plans and evaluated the business while we found some resources in the area who could help him out and he ended up buying the shop, changing the name to Lion Head Coffee.
One look at Lucas, with his majestic dreads, and you’ll know where the “lion head” comes from.
Lucas grew the business, was expanding into roasting and coffee consulting, when he saw the opportunity to buy Mad Munchies, the sub shop that has been an off-again, on-again mainstay and popular restaurant in Granby.
That Lucas was considering Mad Munchies was fascinating to me because I had helped the owner at the time, Ed Landa, re-start Mad Munchies after he had left the business due to health issues several years prior. But Ed wanted to get back into the business he loved. We wrote a business plan together and arranged a lease and managed to get him back up and running on a very short distance from where Mad Munchies was located when he stopped running it seven years ago. It was déjà vu all over again. It went well for Ed until his health issues cropped up again and he had to move to a lower elevation.
That’s when Lucas came along. Lucas bought and then ran the business for one and a half years until he decided to stop operating just before Christmas.
As Lucas says, he had to decide if it was worthwhile to run the sub shop during the seasonally slow time from Christmas to May. He was pretty sure he’d have to leave that spot in May as the property there is in the process of being purchased for new development that at a minimum wouldn’t have allowed him to operate there in the near future.
Due to the seasonal nature of the economy in Granby, which means it would be slow from January through April, he just decided “it wasn’t worth it.” He also had concerns about being able to pay employees enough to make it worth their while.
In mean time, he’s still running his coffee shop with even more expansion plans in mind.
First, he’s exploring partnering with Ed at R and J Liquors to purchase and set-up a food truck restaurant in the area south of the traffic light at the intersection where R and J Liquors and Lion Head Coffee are located. They’re in the hunt right now for another partner who could operate the food truck, which they propose would have a barbecue component to it.
Not only that, he’s expanding his roasting and coffee business to work with the new operation going in on main street only 200 feet from Lion Head Coffee. That building, currently going under extensive remodeling, is planned for an outdoors-related center that sells stuff related to outdoor activities and arranges tours and outdoor experiences. In that space Lucas plans to roast coffee and from that grow his wholesale coffee business while also selling coffee, drinks and participating in artisanal coffee tastings and sharings, all in the new outdoor experience building right on main street. This is all in the same area where Lion Head Coffee, the new food truck business and R and J Liquors are located.
That’s all exciting and interesting stuff that’s going to create a fascinating new hub of outdoor and Colorado-type activity right in another area of Granby’s main street. It will be fun to see how these new, entrepreneurial endeavors in the middle of Granby take-off.
All because Lucas saw that location and paying the right overhead is critical for the survival of any business in Grand County. He’s not sure if he’ll keep the Mad Munchies brand as he moves forward, but he admits that it is a good brand and probably worth keeping alive.
So there you have it. Serial entrepreneurs aren’t like serial killers at all. They are serial starters.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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