For Jim Jeffryes, brewing beer had always been a source of refuge from his stressful job in technology. That is, until 1998 when he decided to jump into brewing beer full time. Although Jim had brewed beer recreationally, he had never done it in the quantities he was going to need to support a brewery, so after purchasing land on 9th & Struthers in Grand Junction, he enrolled in beer school and took Leading Edge & How to Start a Business. Unfortunately, by the time Jim had finished his education, a major road project was started near 9th & Struthers that would make it difficult to operate a successful business until it was completed, so along with partners, the location near Mesa State College was secured. It took $130,000 in infrastructure improvements from the landlord and an additional $378,000 capital injection to open the doors to Kannah Creek Brewery in October 2005. In the four years Kannah Creek Brewery has been open, it has grown from 25 employees to 35 and is owned by 6 partners.
Jim credits some of his success to working with the SBDC through counseling and Leading Edge. He said it was a real eye opening experience as Leading Edge showed him how complicated running a business could be if a person didn’t have the proper “tools” going into it. He felt Leading Edge and the SBDC provided him with those tools to succeed.
Whatever happened to the original property located on 9th & Struthers you ask? It’s now situated close to a major parkway. Building permits and city approvals have been secured and he’s working on the financing, so expect this business to expand even more in the future!
Jim’s advice to people looking to start a business is, “Have a plan & cash to open a business with. It’s not a hobby and takes lots of hard work.”