Do Gooder Games Cafe

Dan Willman and his wife, Jessica, are co-owners of Do Gooder Games Café, a hybrid games store with an inclusive community where patrons are invited to play games with others while enjoying their favorite beverages and snacks from the café. The store also features new and diverse offerings for customers to purchase games and supplies. To further build community and set themselves apart from similar enterprises, they champion a unique rewards program where customers not only earn points for dollars spent, but also for participating in events such as meetups, art shows, and more.

Building community is really the backbone of the business. Dan remarked that the gaming industry has always had a problem with gatekeeping and the goal of Do Gooder Games Café is to eliminate this status quo and foster inclusivity at all levels. Operating as a woman-owned business (Jessica owns the majority of shares) is just one way they are working towards this inclusive goal.

Dan and Jessica originally started to pursue their dream of Do Gooder Games in 2008, but after realizing the timing wasn’t right, put the idea aside until 2022. After 14 years of experience and knowledge, the couple was ready to leverage the tools of the SBDC to refine their approach and start implementing their business plan.

Dan’s background in IT leadership and Jessica’s background in nonprofit leadership has equipped them both with a business mentality of problem solving and continuous learning, though the process has not all been smooth sailing. As with most startup businesses, some of the biggest barriers have been securing a location, planning for increased costs associated with high inflation levels, and raising capital without the proof of years of financial statements. Luckily, there are some helpful resources for startups in Colorado right now, such as the Startup Loan Fund, which they are considering.

Through researching available resources online, Dan found the SBDC and began engaging with the free webinars on various business topics, participated in the 9-week LEADING EDGE program, and took advantage of the free one-on-one consulting appointments with the North Metro SBDC’s business advisors. Dan describes his experience in consulting sessions saying, “I think I have talked to every consultant now at the SBDC, some of them more than once. There were a lot of different specialties, a lot of different ideas and it really helped validate what you already know. You’ll learn something, and then get you into the next level of what tools you can use to supplement your knowledge and what direction you need to go.”

Another helpful tool Dan utilized to build his business plan is the Denver Public Library’s Bizboost Program. Through this free service, Dan was able to obtain the demographic information he needed to turn theoretical projections into actual data to backup his financial projections. And the good news is, this service is available to businesses across the state.

 Getting this far is already a huge success for Do Gooder Games Café as they have a well thought out business plan, are in negotiations for a lease, have built a strong social media community through their online presence, and hope to officially open their doors in April.

To his fellow startup entrepreneurs, Dan recommends doing your own research (thoroughly!), leveraging all the free tools you can (the SBDC and State resources being just a few), and building your community (networking, finding mentors, and developing your advisory team… it is oaky to be picky). Dan’s evergreen advice rings true, “The more upfront planning you do, the less costly the learning curve is going to be”

To connect with Do Gooder Games Café you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and check out their website.

Watchdog Cleaning Solutions USA

Back in 1979, The Village People recorded the song, “IN THE NAVY”, and that is where the founder and owner of Watchdog Cleaning Solutions USA, Tasia Brick, spent four years of her life on active duty. Tasia served across the globe in various ports and duty assignments. During her enlistment she was able to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Columbia College. Upon leaving active duty she was afforded the opportunity to transfer

Read More »
Rocky Mountain Brownies

There is rarely a linear path to entrepreneurship. Often, it is a series of twists and turns, ups and downs, that wind us through the business journey. That has surely been the case for Lori Christensen, owner of Rocky Mountain Brownies. Lori was sailing through a highly successful law career, when a series of life altering circumstances forced her to reconsider what she valued most and what kind of life she wanted to lead.

Read More »
Mass FX Media

Mass FX Media is a small business that delivers big creativity in the area of video production. Shawna Schultz and her husband, Matt, met in high school, drawn together by their interest in producing videos. After they both completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in film production at the University of Colorado, they got jobs making documentaries for Group Publishing for almost three years. When faced with the opportunity to go on a four-month

Read More »
Core Progression Elite Personal Training

In 2006, Jon Cerf was graduating from Baylor University, working part time at a fitness center and had plans to go on to Med-School. He had done some work in the landscaping industry when he was in high school and had somewhat developed a fondness for the freedom of being involved independently in business. But something happened while working in the fitness world. The bright light of inspiration went off and he kept wondering how,

Read More »
Rheinlander Bakery Success Story

Ed Dimner started glazing doughnuts in his parent’s bakery at the age of nine. The Dimner family started Rheinlander’s German Bakery in 1963 and Ed and his twin brother helped in the shop throughout their childhood growing alongside the bakery. Ed’s parents retired in the mid-1980s while Ed was still in College. After graduation Ed considered his options and realized that he really wanted to go back in the baking business by re-opening in the

Read More »
4th Kind Entertainment

In the age of YouTube and smartphones, how does a small video production company distinguish themselves from anyone who can hold a camera? In the words of 4th Kind Entertainment’s owners and founders, Curt Donohue and Jason Graisa: empathy mapping and humor. “We spend a lot of time with our clients to find out who their clients are,” says Curt. 4th Kind Entertainment, a Denver area video production company, specializes on customer discovery and injecting

Read More »
Skip to content