Colorado entrepreneur in the business of giving back to the community

In 2018, Lauren Coleman started The Sursy with the vision to build a bespoke hospitality brand that owns, designs, and operates a portfolio of unique properties across the Southwest. She owns the White Swan Motel in Lakewood, Colorado (to become Loveland House Hotel) and Mellow Moon Lodge, Rodeo Mercantile, and the Moon Bar & Lounge in Del Norte, Colorado.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Lauren worked for a technology start-up and an experiential marketing agency. Additionally, she comes from a family of entrepreneurs, with her dad encouraging her “business brain” and passion for building something from nothing from a young age. She’s learned that being a business owner means that she has to wear all the hats and that “change is the only constant.”

This knowledge served her well during the pandemic, which forced her to make a big pivot. After going under contract on the White Swan Motel–her first commercial property–her plans for immediate redevelopment fell through amidst economic challenges brought on by the pandemic. Noticing a need, she chose to pursue a partnership with Jefferson County Human Services to instead operate the 23-room motel as a shelter for families experiencing homelessness in her community. She’s been partnered with the county ever since and says it cemented her “for profit, for purpose” ethos as a business.

Lauren is pioneering a “double bottom line” business model where she intends to create a financial handhold between luxury tourism and local causes. When redevelopment happens and the Loveland House Hotel comes to be, all reservations will be charged a “give back fee.” This small added charge (a percentage of a guests' room rate) will be directly contributed back to local non-profit organizations that support the effort to end homelessness in Lakewood. While Lauren has been able to carve out a path to success in her commercial real estate pursuits, she wishes there was more capital available to aspiring female entrepreneurs in particular. The barrier to entry for starting a business–especially one like real estate development that requires substantial upfront capital–is steep. Although there is help available through state offices like Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, she shared that it is “still extremely challenging to get your hands on the level of cash needed to really move the needle when in the startup / concept phase. You've got to love the grind!”

Her best advice to other small business owners? “Remain clear and focused on your long term business goals, but don't be precious about how you accomplish them. There’s a million and one ways to get from point A to point B if you remain determined yet flexible.”