19 Dec 2017

Looking Forward to 2018 at Colorado Yurt Company

By | 2018-03-02T07:10:07+00:00 December 19th, 2017|

Our 2017 was a year of great changes here at Colorado Yurt Company.

We began the year with one of the biggest changes in our company history. Dan and Emma, the founders and owners of Colorado Yurt Company, took a step back. They spent over 40 years at the helm, taking care of the day to day operations. They paid the bills, made decisions small and large, worked with customers, managed employees and even shoveled the walks.

In January, they handed over much of that responsibility to Doug Severson, newly promoted president of Colorado Yurt Company.  We have an experienced management team to help out: Cliff Connaughton (VP of Sales), Henry Wolfe (Production Manager) and Ivy Fife (Marketing Manager).

In the months since Dan and Emma handed over the day to day responsibility, we’ve been impressed with just how much time they spend outdoors with friends. They have enjoyed time with their grandson, traveled a bit, gotten more involved in the community- and we still see them several times a week.

The business thrived this year. We did some large-scale projects in some exciting places, as well making yurts, tipis and tents for families and individuals.

To start the year, we made yurts for a resort in Mongolia. Ayanchin Four Seasons Resort received their yurts in the spring- and sent us some of the most spectacular yurt photos we’ve ever seen. We loved working with them, and hope to hear more in the future about how their guests are enjoying the “American-style” gers (yurts).

    

Toward the end of the year, we made and installed six new yurts just across the state line at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. It was a great project, installing our beautiful yurts overlooking the canyons of Southeastern Utah.

On the tipi side, it was a boom year. We had many camps order multiple tipis early in the year- and summer was full of building tipis for ranches and resorts. Our tipi artist was super busy all summer and fall, creating some spectacular designs for our customers. As the year ended, we kept busy with lots of tipis for family holiday giving.

Our tent business was steady and strong in 2017. We shipped many tents to glamping resorts and campgrounds all over the country. Looking ahead, we already have lots of summer camp work on our schedule for the spring of ’18.

We always like to answer the phone and listen to the stories we hear from our customers. It’s been the way we do business from the start: listening to our customers, learning their stories, recommending the best solutions and making their plans and dreams come true.

As we wind down another year, we’re grateful for our friends, appreciative of our crew and excited to come back and do it all again in 2018.

17 Nov 2015

Colorado Yurt Company Customer Stories: Ranch Yurt on Colorado High Plains

By | 2015-11-17T21:50:15+00:00 November 17th, 2015|

Horses, cattle, sheep, working dogs, cowboy hats, spectacular sunsets, wind across the prairie… and a yurt.

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Kevin Hall and Mindy Bower are living their dream on a working ranch on the high plains of eastern Colorado. They raise cattle, sheep and working dogs… and they live in a yurt. In 2007, when they bought their 27’ yurt from Colorado Yurt Company, they thought it was going to be a temporary living space (until they built a more-traditional home).

Here is their story:

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We bought the yurt in 2007, after we had sold our place with a 5 bedroom house. We bought another piece of land but it had no place to live.  So we lived in a camper for a month until we decided to buy a yurt.  

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We had a little herd and so a yurt seemed an appropriate dwelling.  We joked about getting a yak so we could live off of yak milk and lamb!  

It took us a while to get the yurt deck finished and the floor in, then we had a few friends over and put up the yurt in a couple of days. We put in the wood stove and the waterline, and little by little it started to be a home. We had been without running water in the camper, so it was a glorious day when we got the sink and the shower!  

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This will be our ninth winter in the yurt, and we can’t imagine living in a traditional house.  We love that we can hear things going on outside… birds singing, sheep baaing, horses galloping, cows mooing and of course the 15 dogs!  The first big prairie thunderstorm with hail was a bit unnerving, but we realized the yurt could endure.  The hail wrecked the vehicles and the metal roofs on the barns but didn’t do anything to the yurt.  It just bounced off.  It is a real treat when snow slides off the roof- like being inside an avalanche but safe.  The wind just seems to sweep around it, and it never feels vulnerable. 

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The cool thing was to find a company right in Colorado that manufactured yurts, with a great website full of cool photos and easy information to place an order.  It was delivered and the directions were easy to follow.  We loved working with Colorado Yurt Company.

We never got a yak but we have many more sheep, and we happily reside in the yurt.

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Visit Kevin and Mindy’s website: www.uhohranch.com to see more photos of their animals and land.

18 Feb 2014

Yurt Questions Answered: Who Pitches My Yurt?

By | 2017-05-16T10:46:25+00:00 February 18th, 2014|

You want to buy a yurt. You love the look, the feel, the space, the image. You have a spot picked out and you’re savvy enough to build your platform – or you’ve hired a contractor. But, you can’t get past some big questions… Who is going to set this thing up? Is it a daunting task? Can you actually do it yourself?

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Most of our customers pitch the yurt themselves with a small group of friends. Depending upon the size of the yurt and the skill of the crew, it takes 3-6 people. We send you a list of tools you’ll need (mostly just ladders, a cordless drill and a few wrenches). With the larger yurts, you will want scaffolding. You should schedule enough time to put it together without rushing- usually a day or two depending on the yurt size and options.

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The first step is to have your deck in place. The yurt needs to be on a solid deck that is a circle the same size as the yurt (a “simple” deck) or on a larger deck with a circular raised area that is the size of the yurt. We have plans available on our website.  If you want a warmer, four-season yurt, you can add insulation in the deck under the yurt. Utilities—water, drains and electricity—come up through the deck too.

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Next, watch for that truck. We ship most yurts by freight carrier. It’s going to be a sizeable load, so it helps to have a forklift or tractor with a fork. If you don’t have access to that, you can hand unload with the help of friends, or you can unpack the crates.

We have clear instructions that work for most people (It helps to read them ahead of time). We also have several videos and slide shows where you can see the process.  And, we are available by phone on weekdays- just in case you need to check something with us.

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But, what if you don’t want to tackle it yourself?

No problem. You can either hire a contractor or hire our crew. Most economical- if you live far away from us- is to hire a local contractor. Perhaps the same person can build the deck and the yurt.

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If you want our help, we are the experts! We have two options: an expert assist or a full pitch.

With the expert assist, we send a knowledgeable and bossy person out to supervise your crew. You get some strong, capable friends and our crew boss will make sure the yurt is pitched just the way it should be.

If you choose to have our full crew- you sit back in your lawn chair with a cool beverage and watch our skilled crew set up your yurt. They’ll do a great job, usually finish quickly- and you’ll have the yurt ready to use.

Call us for a quote and to check our schedule for pitching.

19 Dec 2013

Yurts, Tipis and Tents: Handmade in a World of Mass Production

By | 2017-07-22T07:34:31+00:00 December 19th, 2013|

Handmade. Custom. Uniquely yours.

There are many ways to communicate what we do at Colorado Yurt Company. But, what it comes down to is this: we don’t have a factory across the globe making our products. Instead, we have talented craftsmen and craftswomen who put their hands on each structure, and craft each element. People often ask where our products are made, and are surprised when we answer- right here in Montrose, Colorado. We’re a small business in a small town in a very beautiful spot in Colorado.

Colorado Yurt Company will not be the same.

Colorado Yurt Company offices in Montrose, CO

In a world where retailers are talking about drone deliveries and products are stacked to the ceiling in chain stores, we are a rarity. We aren’t against modernization and technology- we just prefer to maintain a personal touch- with quality, customization and professionalism in everything we do.

Maya has been sewing in our tipi/tent department for over 7 years

Each of our options is chosen with quality in mind. That means a handcrafted door on each yurt. That means windows placed to maximize the view and breezes on your land. That means hand painting each design on your tipi and each tent fly finished by hand.

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Marina cuts fabric for a new tent

We work with each customer to decide what options are best for their yurt, tipi or tent. That’s why we don’t have an online order form. It’s a conversation when you order. We ask where you live, how you are using your dwelling and often learn a lot about you. It’s the start of a relationship in many cases. After that, we schedule the crafting of the structure in our shop.

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Brandon works on a valance for a yurt

After the process starts, we build what you’ve ordered. We don’t have inventory of yurts, tipis and tents in a warehouse ready to ship out. We make each one – with your fabric choice, your options and your special requests written on each work order. It has your name on it from start to finish. When there is any question, one of our crew members walks across the shop to the office and asks whomever you talked to on the phone.

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Rick (shipping) and Donald (sales) confer on a shipment

We always like to hear from customers after the sale, too. We share feedback with the whole company. Our crew especially likes to hear stories of how the yurt, tipi or tent is being enjoyed. We believe we aren’t just making canvas structures, but we are making dreams come true.

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Chris and Jerry start the hand-finish on a door

We understand the culture of bargain hunting that is prevalent in our culture. However, we also believe in delivering the best product possible, at the most competitive prices while giving our valuable employees a living wage and utilizing their unique skills.

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Anna has worked in our yurt department for over six years

As another year winds down, we look forward to a growing number of people who agree with us.

 

 

 

14 Nov 2013

Colorado Yurt Company Partners with Community Options

By | 2013-11-14T19:32:11+00:00 November 14th, 2013|

“Oh, it’s you again.”

When my friend Daniel says this to me, it’s always accompanied by a huge smile. Sometimes he also calls me “Grandma”, Daniel’s idea of a friendly insult. Then, he’ll ask when I’m going to come watch him bowl.

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Daniel

Robbie tells me how he’s going to start playing basketball on the Special Olympics team, if his knee feels better. But first, he is wrestling, and he shows off the vinyl and plastic version of a championship wrestling belt he has over his shoulder.

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Robbie

These guys are my muscles.

When I am unloading boxes of catalogs, I ask “Can I get some muscles?” The boxes are pretty heavy, and I need assistance getting them into the workshop. Daniel and Robbie are right there to lift them out of my car.

The workshop is the Day Program (Silver Mountain Enterprises), a program of Community Options. Over the years, Silver Mountain’s workshop has done work ranging from sorting feathers for a fly fishing company to cutting shapes for a craft company. The program also places people at different businesses in the community, such as restaurants and retailers for competitive employment.

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Colorado Yurt Company began working with the developmentally-disabled adults at Silver Mountain Enterprises over 20 years ago.

Our first employee from Community Options was Joann. When the shop was in Ridgway, she rode the Greyhound bus from Montrose every day to work at our company. Then her family moved to Denver. A few years later, she saw Dan and Emma at an event with six big tipis. Joann was so excited, she actually spoke for the first time in years.

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These days we send out catalogs and price lists every two weeks or so, and we need them to be collated and put into mailing envelopes. As our demand for catalogs grew beyond what our office staff could handle, we hired Silver Mountain Enterprises to help us out.

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Opal and Jackie put the yurt catalogs together.

For Colorado Yurt Company, it’s been such a great fit. The work is always well done and on time. They deliver the completed envelopes to us, or sometimes they stop by our office for supplies. We appreciate all they do, and we are contributing to their goals.

The muscles are just a bonus.

7 Jun 2013

Good Neighbors: Colorado Yurt Company & YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch

By | 2013-06-07T15:15:26+00:00 June 7th, 2013|

 

Good Neighbors.

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Over the years, our local customers come back time and again for our quality Colorado-made structures. Whether it’s a campground, resort or ski area- our neighbors have come to rely on their “home state” yurt, tipi and tent company- just like customers all over the world.

 

The past few years, one of our best neighbors has been YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby. Colorado Yurt Company crew makes the yurts for the Y in the spring. Then we load our trucks and trailers, drive over to Granby and a skilled group stays around for a few days to pitch them on site. It’s an assignment that is highly sought after for our crew- a week away from their usual routine in the beautiful springtime weather in the Rockies. If it didn’t involve long days and hard work, some people would call that a vacation.

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In 2009, the Y decided to start their yurt village. They developed a master plan to install yurts for guests who wanted a camping type experience, with more comfort than traditional tent camping. Snow Mountain Ranch selected a hilltop site, overlooking the valley, with a view of the Front Range Mountains to the east. Twenty-four yurts are in the master plan- two villages of twelve yurts each.  With the addition of the five new yurts we installed this spring, the first village is complete!  Snow Mountain’s yurts have been donated by generous families, and completing the second village depends on finding more interested families.

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Snow Mountain Ranch has seen a great response to the yurts. Occupancy in the summer is nearly 100%, and they have reservations for months in advance. Guests have left guest book comments about their yurt stays, such as:

  • “We liked seeing the stars at night through the skylight!  We would definitely stay again!”
  • “We enjoyed staying in our yurt as much as we enjoyed saying the word”
  • “We were very impressed with the yurt.  It was great for the six of us.”
  • “Thank you so much for this unique opportunity- I may actually want to put a yurt on my property now!  Beautiful!”

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Ranch guests aren’t the only ones impressed with Snow Mountain yurts. The press has been intrigued enough to feature them in several articles. The Denver Post featured the yurt village in a 2012 article, and they’ve been mentioned in Outside Magazine and Barrier Free Travels:

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21776526/ymca-expanding-yurt-village-at-snow-mountain-ranch

http://barrierfreetravels.com/2012/09/cherrie-goes-yurting/

http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/north-america/All-Ages-Show.html

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It’s been a neighborly relationship for both Colorado Yurt Company and Snow Mountain Ranch. We send some of our potential customers to Snow Mountain to see the yurts via our webpage and personal referral, and some become repeat guests of the yurt village. The Y has been a champion of our company with their site and customer referrals. It’s a relationship built to last. We’ll keep working together toward the completion of the two yurt villages at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in future years.

 

19 Jul 2012

Colorado Yurt Company and Reality TV

By | 2012-07-19T21:49:31+00:00 July 19th, 2012|

We recently had a very positive experience with reality television. No, we weren’t featured on Swamp People or Jersey Shore. A little classier programming for us- HGTV’s Design Star, in fact.

In the spring, we were approached by the producers of Design Star. They wanted to use yurts as the challenge format for their final three interior designers. We were intrigued- and thought it was a great opportunity to show a significant number of people our yurts.

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Originally, the production company was going to buy the yurts. However, as we’ve seen in the past, the structures are often warehoused or discarded after the shoot is over. We thought that was a terrible waste of yurts. So, we arranged to “rent” the yurts to them. After the shoot, we brought them back to our shop and sold them at a discount (remember the “gently used yurt sale”?). This way- we were able to guarantee the yurts would be enjoyed for years to come.

Clint, Jon, Anna and Ricardo spent a couple of dreary rainy days in L.A. setting up the three yurts for the show. (Yes, we heard it never rains in Southern California- not true apparently). The skies cleared for the actual filming with the designers, and they did a pretty awesome job with the challenge- which was to create a luxury bedroom in a yurt.

We were excited to hear one designer say our company name on camera- and the film crew got a great close up of our logo. That night, after the episode first aired, our website lit up! A ton of people were intrigued by the yurts, and visited our site to learn more. We saw increased activity on the facebook page, and our phone has been ringing too.

So, we don’t think we’re ready to start appearing on Big Brother or Survivor- but we are really pleased with our brief foray into reality TV. Design Star did an exceptional job showcasing our yurts, we saw some creative solutions to the challenge and we had a blast with the whole experience.

Did you watch the show? You can watch it again this Saturday, July 24 at 8:00pm Eastern time. Or- here’s a link to the HGTV website- where you can see the episode online: http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv-design-star/show/index.html

 

6 Jul 2012

Colorado Yurt Company: Working Small AND Delivering Large

By | 2012-07-06T15:07:24+00:00 July 6th, 2012|

Colorado Yurt Company definitely qualifies as a small business. We have one location in Montrose, Colorado. We are family owned by Dan and Emma Kigar, who founded the company in 1976. Colorado Yurt Company employs about 30 people in four different departments: office, wood shop, tipis/tents and yurt fabric shop. We each have our job to do, and we all take pride in our work. We have employees who have been with the company for over 20 years, and have couples where both husband and wife work for us (and sometimes their kids too).

Anna, Ricardo and their son Gus. One of the families that work for Colorado Yurt Company.

In a world where so many things are made in far away places and shipped across the world to a big box store, we are proud to make everything right here in western Colorado. In a world where you are much more likely to get a recording asking you to “press 1 for sales”, we are proud to answer each call with a real, live, friendly person and exceptional service.

Rebecca is the newest member of the office staff.

We hand craft and inspect every yurt, tipi and tent in our shop. Each structure is custom made to your specifications. We place the windows, choose the fabric, paint the canvas, locate the stove pipe outlet… all according to what the customer wants. Our skilled craftspeople take pride in each stitch, wood joint, phone call and shipping crate. Our sales people get to know many of our customers’ stories and take a personal interest.

Henry and Maya working on a large tipi.

Despite our diminutive size, we work on large scale projects. We’ve delivered large yurt orders for state parks, resorts and campgrounds around the world. We recently shipped a substantial order of uniquely-designed yurts to a new project in Greece, produced 100 tipis and 200 tents within a five week period for the Coachella Music Festival in California, and we are currently working on several other major jobs.

Tipis at Coachella Music Festival

We’ve achieved what we feel is the perfect balance. By utilizing some cutting edge production management techniques, while staying small and flexible, we are able to meet the needs of each customer. Whether it’s a resort that needs 30 yurts or a family that wants a small tipi for the kids, we will deliver just what the customer orders. We do it on time, professionally and with the best product quality and customer service in the industry.

Yurt at dusk- Ridgway State Park, Colorado

 

26 Apr 2011

Earth Day at Colorado Yurt Co

By | 2011-04-26T22:18:06+00:00 April 26th, 2011|

Colorado Yurt is a company that prides itself on being environmentally responsible. We have the solar panels on our roof, we recycle everything we can, use bio diesel in our trucks and try to be conscious of our impact on the environment in our day to day operations and decisions. So, when the City of Montrose started an adopt-a-street program, we thought it was a perfect fit for us.C  Documents and Settings Ivy My Documents My Pictures 2011 04 22 001 100 0463 resized 600

Our adopted street is Rio Grande Avenue, which runs just east of our shop. It’s a busy road, traveled mostly by locals who use it to get across town a lot faster than on the main drag. It’s not very picturesque, certainly not a lovely tree-lined boulevard. It’s basically a road that runs parallel to the railroad tracks just west of downtown. The shoulders of the road are bare and unattractive with dirt and a few weeds. A large prairie dog colony on the west side is perhaps the most notable feature of our stretch of Rio Grande.

We celebrated a cloudy, cool Earth Day with a barbecue at lunch time, and then we worked on Rio Grande Avenue picking up the trash from Main to 9th street.

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Emma and Dan, the owners, cleaning up our street.

We think we made the street more attractive, and we’re proud of the sign that says the street was adopted by The Colorado Yurt Company.

Some of us also got in to the spirit of springtime and Earth Day by spiffing up our campus around the shop. C  Documents and Settings Ivy My Documents My Pictures 2011 04 22 001 100 0458 resized 600 C  Documents and Settings Ivy My Documents My Pictures 2011 04 22 001 100 0453 resized 600

Margaret, Ricardo and Anna cleaning up around the shop.

Our jobs included: getting the vegetable garden ready to plant, weeding and mulching flower beds, clearing an area for a platform tent to go on display, picking up trash and washing the yurts. We are also going to replace our tipi’s canvas this spring- so the entire place looks great and ready for spring and summer. After the work was done, we relaxed with a cold beverage from our friends at Ska Brewing in Durango.

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Clint, Steve, Jon and Duane enjoying a beverage.

If you are in the area, please stop by and see us. We worked hard to make our campus look nice, and we want to show off a bit. We’ll be happy to spend some time with you- showing you the yurts, tipi and tent. As you drive in, we hope you’ll notice the adopt-a-street sign out on Rio Grande with our name on it. As you cross the tracks and head over to the shop, be sure to wave at the prairie dogs.

 

15 Oct 2010

We’ve Gone Solar

By | 2010-10-15T22:11:41+00:00 October 15th, 2010|

On Friday, October 1st, the Delta-Montrose Electric Association literally flipped the switch that completed our solar project!  From now on, nearly a third of our energy use is offset by the sun (the remainder is wind generated).

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As far as we know, we’re the first yurt, tipi and tent manufacturer to do so.

This project was feasible thanks in part to the experts at Alternative Power Energy in Ridgway, Colorado, a USDA Renewable Energy grant covering 25 percent of the total project, a tax rebate from Delta-Montrose Electric Association(DMEA) who benefits as our meter runs backward, and our dedicated staff who saw the project through.

Why go solar, in the midst of an economic recession?

Here are a few reasons Colorado Yurt went green:

  1. Solar energy is clean, renewable and good for the environment. Our 5kW PV system significantly reduces our carbon footprint.
  2. We increase awareness and educate others, at work and in the community.
  3. We decrease our annual utility costs.  Less money wasted is a great thing!

We believe that living simply is simply better living. Going solar helps us practice what we preach.