Jacob Shirar and Ryan Hass knew they wanted to come to the mountains.
They weren’t sure exactly where they would end up, but when the couple of friends since childhood – Shirar, two years older, was Hass’ mentor in second grade when Hass was in kindergarten when the two were kids in the Iowa – decided it was time to team up and go it alone, Yampa Valley – Craig, in particular – was the answer.
“I grew up coming to Winter Park,” said Shirar, CEO and president of Craig-based new company Rocky Mountain Finishes. “I’ve always wanted to be in the mountains. Winter Park doesn’t have a large population, and we need it for what we do. So we looked. Steamboat Springs has about 10,000 year round residents, but I can’t afford a 5,000 square foot building in Steamboat. But Craig — Highway 40 runs through here, there’s a population base, it’s near Steamboat, Avon, Durango, Grand Junction, where housing is booming. Craig was the destination.
Rocky Mountain Finishes is a pre-finishing company that will ship anywhere, but will focus on the West Rim as much as possible given the location of the shop. Steamboat’s real estate market and proximity to the Craig store particularly excites partners.
Prefinishing is the process of taking a product (siding, flooring, crown moldings, trim, etc.) and coating it prior to installation. What makes Shirar and Hass’ company special is the breadth of color choices and the quick turnaround.
“Most people buy it from a company in Wisconsin called Diamond Coat,” Shirar said. “They’re doing a good job, but they have four to six weeks of turnaround time left. We shoot things in a week or two. We’re local, faster, it ships closer, and we have a lot more custom colors too.
Shirar said the company offers 2,000 solid colors and a handful of other stain-like finish options. They’re lean now – it’s just Shirar and Hass at the moment – but with the space they’re renovating at Craig, they hope to have up to 10 or 15 employees in about five years.
It all started for Shirar when he was only 7 years old. His parents, he said, founded and own a company called Deimco Finishing Equipment, which produces the equipment needed for finishing. He started there as a child and has worked there ever since. A chance in college almost arose for Shirar to lead an acquisition her parents were considering, but it didn’t pan out, although the seed of running a business was planted.
Meanwhile, Hass was doing just about everything.
“I can talk product, sales, business,” Shirar said. “But Ryan – and he can do all that too – he has experience in electricity, pneumatics and hydraulics. He can fix anything. I’m no monkey, but he’s good.
Growing up, Hass took on all sorts of jobs, including setting up a stump-crushing business which he says gave him the business experience he needed to be a partner to Shirar in that business.
“Over the past five years, I’ve had no less than two jobs so far,” Hass said. “It’s the first time.”
But both men are, as Hass said, wearing a lot of hats right now with their new venture.
“Books, sales, receiving, product assembly, everything,” Shirar said. “It keeps us honest, for sure.”
Friends and business partners moved to Craig a few months ago and bought a house in town. In the meantime, they have been working to get the building modernized and ready for their production processes.
“Once all the equipment arrives, I like to say it will be like big kid LEGOs,” Shirar said. “You just have to put the pieces together. We should be operational (January) 24, then it will be sales and operations. We try to make connections now, to meet people, to help them know what we offer. But with our turnaround time of a week or two, that means I can’t really start selling until I know I’m up and running. »
Rocky Mountain finishes are available online at RockyMountainFinishes.com.