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.
A common motif in Lori’s entrepreneurial journey is the need to bounce back. Coming from an Italian heritage, Lori has fond memories spent in the kitchen as a child with her Gram, lovingly referred to by those closest to her, cooking for the whole family. Taking great pride in her cooking, Lori was deeply hurt when her brownies were overlooked, and even thrown out, in favor of store bought packaged brownies at a company picnic. Bouncing back though, Lori used this frustration to spark her desire to start her own business.
Fast Forward and we find Lori in the middle of intense battles with her physical health, recovering from brain surgery and many more surgeries still lying ahead of her. Relearning how to walk, balance, and use her peripheral sight after brain surgery was a challenge that required her to slow down, but she knew she needed to recover… so she took this time to fine-tune her brownie recipe. After an encounter with extreme generosity and kindness, Lori had a newfound perspective of gratitude and a new direction for her career – Lori was really bouncing back.
Lori knew she wanted to help others, especially those who are often overlooked, and knew she had an amazing brownie recipe that was just asking to be shared. Queue Rocky Mountain Brownies. Catching the attention of potential investors in her opening pitch Lori says, “These are the greatest brownies I hope you never eat…Because if you eat my brownies you’ve done something wrong.” Hook set, she continues to explain that her main customer at the time was CCi, Canteen Services at the Colorado Department of Corrections. Her business was providing a sense of home to Colorado’s incarcerated who rarely had options for their sweets.
Since then, Rocky Mountain Brownies has continued to grow and gain more customers, including other sectors of the government, and recently a subcontract for a summer event to feed 4,000 Denver employees. The start of 2023 has brought more surgeries and health challenges to Lori, but she has used her experience with the SBDC to spur on this growth in her business. She dove head first into several courses with the North Metro SBDC to grow her business knowledge and continue developing her business strategy. Starting with the Digital Marketing Boot Camp and most recently with the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs course, Lori has made great strides in her business. Of her recent experience, Lori says, “I am blown away and the consultants are so great.”
Lori stands by her bake-to-order business model. Making use of commissary kitchens, high quality ingredients, and her 60 quart mixer, Lori is able to accommodate large scale orders and guarantees every batch. As Lori continues to bounce back from all life has dealt her, she continues to bring smiles to her customers’ faces. Of her experience running her business Lori says, “It’s really nice to create something that brings joy because there’s not too many things that do.”
To learn more about Rocky Mountain Brownies, you can contact Lori at Rocky Mountain Brownies here and click on the pink bar. To connect with a North Metro SBDC consultant, schedule an appointment here.