Estes Park EDC Offers Free, Confidential and Tailored Business Consulting

Supporting local businesses has long been a pillar of economic development. According to a study commissioned by the Lowe Foundation, 71% of economic growth in the United States from 1990 to present came from existing and expanding companies.  Since its inception, the Estes Park EDC has been committed to supporting local businesses.

As part of our continued strategic plan, the Estes Park EDC Board of Directors agreed to initiate a Business Expansion and Retention Program called the BEAR Program. The goal of this program is to directly work with and help our existing businesses grow. To do this, we reach out to as broad a representation of businesses in our community as possible, utilizing site surveys, business consulting and conducting group business projects. 

One of our key allies in this program is the Larimer Small Business Development Center (Larimer SBDC.) The Larimer SBDC combines information and resources from federal, state and local governments with those of the education system and private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the small business community. Certified Larimer SBDC Consultants work in partnership to provide businesses and entrepreneurs with crucial information that can mean the difference between success and failure. Estes Park EDC Vice President Adam Shake, Smith Sign Studios owner Kent Smith, Windcliff Homes Owner/Operator Rich Chiappe and Entrepreneur and Business Coach Jason Owens have all received training and certification as consultants through Larimer SBDC. Consulting is free, confidential and tailored to businesses and these consultants can advise business on a wide range of business opportunities and challenges to include:

Starting Your Business

·         Business Planning

·         Demographic and Industry Data

·         Licensing and Registration

Sustaining Your Business

·         Disaster Preparedness

·         Strategic Planning

·         Lean Manufacturing

·         Capital Formation

Growing Your Business

·         Financial Analysis

·         Marketing, Advertising and Sales

·         Social Media and Websites

·         Pricing Products and Services

Helping You Prosper

·         Expanding Locations and Products

·         Business Valuations

·         Rebranding and retooling

·         Exit Strategies

To schedule an appointment with a business consultant, please visit

Estes Park EDC Board Member Spotlight – Kent Smith


Kent Smith, a fifth generation sign-craftsman, is a Colorado native who grew up in Englewood, attended Colorado State College and the University of Northern Colorado with degrees in history, historical research, economics and geography.  Smith Sign Studios was opened in 1928 by Kent’s father Howard.  As a result, Kent has been continuously active in the sign business for over 60 years. Kent returned full time to the trade in 1972 (taking over for his father) after a few years in education. The Smith family sign and gilding heritage can also be traced to Howard’s father Abner, who was the sign and “varnish coach” painter for the Rio Grande Railroad.  Abner gained his sign and gilding training in his own brother’s sign business and his father’s wheelwright business.

Kent is no stranger when it comes to civic engagement and volunteering.  He’s had memberships or been involved in the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce, National Civic League Vision Together Program, Weld Citizens Action Network, Greeley Urban Renewal Authority Citizens Board, Economic Development Action Partnership, Lions Club, Colorado Historical Society, Civil War Roundtable, National Railway Historical Society, Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, Greeley Area Sign Association, Evans Area Chamber of Commerce, Estes Valley Partners for Commerce, Estes Area Lodging Association, League of Women Voters and --believe it or not-- other organizations, associations and committees.  

He’s also a Certified Larimer SBDC Consultant. “The reason I decided to become a business consultant is that I’ve been doing so for over 50 years,” says Smith.  “We encounter many businesses that need some direction and advice when we’re doing sign projects for them. I’ve learned businesses not only need help with signs but also with most of their other business operations.”        

Kent joined the Estes Park EDC Board of Directors in 2015 and has since held the position of Chair on the Business Incubator Committee. “Everyone doing business in the Estes Valley should be attuned to economic development because it’s not about just helping a single business succeed.  Every economic gain benefits everyone else. That’s why it’s important for me to be involved in the Estes Park EDC.”  Kent also believes that economic development shouldn’t be left to chance. That’s why he believes supporting Estes Park EDC and engaging the issues is so important to our community.