Meet the Female Entrepreneurs Paving the Way for Women-Led Businesses in Fort Collins

According to data from the National Association of Women Business Owners, things have never looked better for female entrepreneurs. In fact, more than 11 million U.S. firms are now owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales. However, women-owned firms are still in the minority, and the hurdles faced by women who have embraced entrepreneurship are vast and often very different than those experienced by their male counterparts. In Fort Collins, however, female entrepreneurship is soaring. With our city growing by leaps and bounds, these ladies are at the forefront of what it means to be a modern woman in business in Northern Colorado, and Lifestyle is proud to partner with these incredible powerhouse women and feature them in this issue. 

Sora Gagne

FIT5 STUDIO

Sora Gagne, a busy mother of two beautiful children, understands and appreciates the importance of incorporating fitness and health into her everyday life, which is why she opened FIT5 STUDIO to bring the women of Fort Collins the Lagree Method and the Megaformer M3. FIT5 Studio is Sora’s passion, and her mission is to spread her love of fitness and the Lagree movement. It was love at first sweat the moment Sora experienced her first class at MECHA in Boulder. Shortly after she witnessed the transformation of her own body, she became a Lagree fitness instructor, adding to her extensive training of other methods like Pilates and barre fitness. Sora hopes FIT5 Studio can be a haven of support and a strong community with high-energy trainers, constant positive motivation, great achievements and a foundation of real transformation to inspire, improve and Megaform your body, mind and spirit.

Chris Bensko

Madd Style Boutique

Madd Style inspires creative women in need of a style update. At Madd Style, you’ll find a curated collection of brands, styles and sizes at an accessible price. The boutique specializes in the “One-Minute Outfit” that is both polished and practical. Since 2011, Madd Style’s mission has been to surprise and delight its shoppers with an engaging experience while searching for uncommon, distinctive finds for her closet. In May, Madd Style will offer even more finds at its new, larger location in Scott Pines Village at Drake and Lemay next to Fox and Crow.

Dr. Elise Rigney

Impact Chiropractic & Impact Medical

Dr. Elise Rigney, D.C. and her team of practitioners are one of Fort Collins’ only pediatric and prenatal chiropractor teams. Dr. Rigney, a wellness expert, uses a “whole-person approach” that looks for underlying causes of any disturbance or disruption and implementing whatever interventions and lifestyle adjustments are needed to optimize the conditions for normal function. Using this unique approach, Dr. Rigney and her team are able to help others accelerate and/or maintain their journey to good health. Dr. Rigney wants every woman to feel their best inside and out, and with the launch of her new medical clinic, Impact Medical, she is able to do just that. Impact Medical specializes in stem cell therapy and BioTe hormone replacement therapy. With these treatments, women and men are able to optimize their health and well-being.

Maj-Lis Delgado

YogaPod

Boulder native Maj-Lis Delgado believes that yoga is everything. It’s fitting then, that she and her husband, Joey, co-own YogaPod Fort Collins, a welcoming and vibrant studio in the heart of Midtown. In addition to ownership responsibilities, Maj-Lis, a former dance major at UNC, has taken on management, operational and teaching duties at YogaPod as well. Understanding that business is all about people, she works daily to help ensure the continued success of the studio based not on inertia but complete dedication to the health and happiness of the individuals who create the larger yoga community. Maj-Lis believes “if you ain’t laughing, you ain’t living,” and she applies her kindness, intellect and drive to her every endeavor. A mother of two—a 10-year-old boy and a 7- year-old girl—Maj-Lis prizes family and has made great strides to balance her roles as business owner, wife and mother, bringing laughter, compassion and energy to each of these endeavors—an effort made easier, perhaps, by the studio’s proximity to so much delicious food, of which Maj-Lis is very fond.

Tina Mooney

The Fox & the Crow

Five years ago, Tina and her husband, Alan, decided it would be a great idea to open a small cut-to-order cheese and meat shop. With a beautiful expanded location, their menu boasts scratch-made offerings such as salads, soups, and delectable signature cheese and meat boards. The Fox & the Crow offers an amazing wine and beer list, and happy hour couldn’t be happier. Tina is dedicated to her employees just as deeply as she is her store and customers, and the love of cheese and happy demeanors that exude from her staff is just as palatable as the cheeses they serve.

Andrea Schaefer

The Group Realty

Andrea is truly doing what she loves to do and has been involved in every aspect of real estate since 2001. Since 2005, she has been actively selling new construction and has worked with some of the top builders in the Northern Colorado market. Andrea is currently selling in some of the most successful subdivisions including Bucking Horse (Bellisimo, Inc.), Harmony Club, Heron Lakes, Thompson Crossing (Lifestyle Custom Homes) and Le Jardin (NatureCraft Homes). Andrea prides herself on building long-lasting relationships with her clients and finding them their dream home. Andrea has extensive knowledge and is happy to share her expertise along the way. Her family has a long and successful track record in the real estate business. Both her father, Ron, and her brother, Ryan, are active and well-respected in the real estate industry. One would say real estate runs in their blood, and she is thrilled to continue that tradition. 

Bridta Rowe

Rowes Garden

Bridta and her husband, Brandon, have worked tirelessly to create one of Fort Collins’ most anticipated family-run gardens. Their small but mighty start-up garden specifically caters to local chefs and luxury cuisine in the Fort Collins area. Bridta’s family garden is organically managed to deliver the freshest food in a sustainably focused way. Their mission with Rowe’s Garden is based on the sustainability features of urban gardening with a suburban twist: using a small plot for intensive farming that provides higher density and production without sacrificing quality. The Rowes focus on growing seasonally in zone 5, as well as experimenting with uncommon varieties. Fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown both outside and inside their greenhouse so they may provide the best options to restaurateurs in our region. 

Catie Morgan

Amara Massage Therapy & Wellness

The mission of Amara Massage Therapy & Wellness is to provide excellent massage and body treatment services in Northern Colorado. Amara is an evidence-informed massage therapy practice, offering guests the most up-to-date resources and a sanctuary-like environment where customers can feel relaxed and at ease. Amara prides itself on being a fusion of spa and clinic, open to anyone seeking an exceptional wellness experience, providing clients with a space that is physically and emotionally supportive while also giving them the tools to create a more pain-free existence. These values extend to clients, staff, the greater community and the environment that Amara impacts.

Emily Rose

Emily Rose Florals

Emily’s passions for nature and flowers all play a role in each and every one of her floral designs. While in school at Colorado State University, she worked for a floral designer in Denver, where she learned invaluable lessons on a heightened client experience and going the extra mile when it comes to creative design and how important it is to celebrate special life events. Emily works out of her local flower farm just outside of Fort Collins and uses local and domestically grown flowers in her designs as much as possible.

Jennifer Vicknair

Gonyon Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery

Jennifer realized 15 years ago when starting her career in nursing, a female-dominated profession, that there needed to be more women in health care leadership. This realization encouraged her to return to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.

“I often say that I’m an anomaly: most nurses don’t want anything to do with business administration. But I believe that the current state of our health care environment requires a renewed leadership perspective to include both clinical excellence and financial responsibility,” Jennifer says.

She is passionate about empowering women both directly and indirectly to pursue leadership roles in their career of choice and continues to be amazed by what an individual can accomplish with support from peers, mentors and personal relationships. 

Althea Hrdlichka

Tender Gifts Midwifery

As a mother of four, Althea found that her enjoyment and satisfaction during pregnancy was truly dependent on the support she received. This is why she chose to dedicate her life’s work to assist women during pregnancy and childbirth by becoming a homebirth midwife. Althea is passionate about providing supportive, gentle and loving care to all women and educating them on pregnancy and childbirth so they may experience the birth they deserve.

Heather Goldstein & Cheri Corrado

The Botanique

As founder of The Botanique Fort Collins, Ancient Ritual Spa & H2a Botanicals, Heather has made holistic practices and collaborations a way of life. Heather and her business partner, Cheri, create space for functional and intentional approaches to the wellness of the mind, body and spirit as the path to a healthy individual and community. Heather discovered the human need for functional beauty, community and the potential for change. Creating self-care and healing rituals from the inside out with collaborative partners has become her purpose. She is thrilled to share this with the world.

Jahna Eichel

Higher Ground, The Creative Agency, Editor Fort Collins Lifestyle

Jahna Eichel wears many hats. As a business strategist and coach; a PR and digital marketing specialist through her company, The Creative Agency; she is also a wife, mother of two and the editor of Fort Collins Lifestyle. Alongside her husband, Jason, she founded the first music rehearsal studio facility in Northern Colorado, Higher Ground Rehearsals Studios. Higher Ground was built on the notion that our community thrives when the creatives in our town have a place where they can be themselves, hone in on their craft and make more music and art. Jahna is passionate about the growth of entrepreneurship especially with women and mothers in leadership roles. Originally from New York City, where she gained corporate branding and marketing experience, after moving to Fort Collins she created the first “mom-preneur” community called the Mom Owned Business Association. Six years later, Jahna works closely with women business owners across the U.S. in launching and growing their brand.