She means no disrespect to her former landlord at 260 Palomino Trail in Trail Town, but her Avalanche Graphics, LLC business was busting at the seams in her former space. Schroeder has now moved her business into a much larger space, with great frontage and drive-by traffic, at 177 W. Sherman Street (Colorado Hwy. 62) #105 in the new RiverView Plaza building on the north side of the road just west of the intersection of US Hwy. 550 and 62.
The new location, which officially opened its doors on June 25, boasts nearly 2,000 square feet of space. With room to breathe, so to speak, Schroeder, who has nine years’ experience in graphic design, has found it easier to concentrate on the business at hand.
“I want to grow, but I still want to be small enough that it’s still personable working with my customers,” she said. “I love coming to work everyday.” Schroeder currently runs the business by herself, but “down the road I’d like to hire one or two employees,” she said.
Schroeder, a California native who moved to Illinois when she was very young and then to Ridgway in 2005, holds an associate’s degree in computer graphic design. She started her business in 1988 in a spare room of her house back in Elgin, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, under the name K-Graphics, “providing high quality graphic design and printing at very competitive prices,” according to her website.
After a move to a commercial spot just outside of Chicago and seven years of healthy growth, Schroeder and her husband, Scott, decided to move the family west to Ridgway. She closed for two weeks during the move and set up shop under a new name – Avalanche Graphics – which is a story in itself.
“Well, I figured I wanted to be closer to the front of the phone book, then Scott said, ‘Why don’t you go with Avalanche,’ since I was already driving a [Chevy] Avalanche,” Schroeder said. “So I went with that.”
Even though Schroeder is in the advertising design business – magazines, newspapers, fliers, etc. – she has not needed to advertise her own business for nearly the entire duration she’s been operating.
“You know, I just never had to,” she said. “I did in the yellow pages once or twice, but it’s all been word of mouth.”
In fact, Schroeder has been so successful at what she does that she has kept many of her clients back in the Midwest, despite being hundreds of miles away.
“I was very successful back east,” she said. “And those clients didn’t care where I was, they just wanted to continue to do business with me. I do everything from small companies to large corporations.”
Design and printing clients she retained from Illinois alone include RentRite, Damgaard Landscape Management and Century 21 Golden Partners.
Avalanche Graphics could be called a one-stop shop, as Schroeder has the capability to do business cards, letterhead, envelopes, note pads, holiday cards and gifts, receipt books, business checks, postcards, flyers, booklets, promotional items, and more.
Locally, Schroeder produced the Independence Race Meet program and puts together the Ouray County Fair and Rodeo program. She has also done work for local businesses such as Bachelor Syracuse Mine Tour, Orvis Hot Springs, Doghouse BBQ Bistro, Ouray County Historical Society, Deb’s Livery, Bachler’s Stables, Panny’s Pizza, Citizens State Bank, San Juan Realty, Billings Artworks, Western Way Saddlery, San Juan Title, Cornerstone, San Juan Riding Program, Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce, Telluride Window & Door, and numerous smaller businesses.
Schroeder is also an active member of the community, serving as a board member on the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce, as secretary of the Ouray County Rodeo Association and the Ridgway RidgRunners snowmobile club, and is involved in the National Association of PhotoShop Professionals.
Avalanche Graphics is opened 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached locally at 626-4383, toll free at 866/374-GRFX or at www.avalanchegrfx.com.