By Eric Peterson | Aug 01, 2017
Fort Collins / Laporte, Colorado
Taproom design and build, custom furniture, and cargo bikes
Fort Collins, Colorado
Industry: Built Environment; Brewing & Distilling; Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Taproom design and build, custom furniture, and cargo bikes
"We started YendraBuilt because I wanted to branch out and do a little bit of everything," says Yendra of his namesake company's genesis.
Coming from a background in metal fabrication and custom automotive projects, Yendra has done just that with his brewery-focused shop. He started with custom barstools for Funkwerks and other breweries, and the jobs got bigger and bigger. In 2015, Yendra began focusing on turnkey interior design and build projects for brewery taprooms and bars. "Your bar, your back bar, all of your elements are made from the same wood or even the same tree," he explains. The end result? "Everything matches exactly.
YendraBuilt also makes custom jockey boxes as displays for festivals and other beer events; "We ship those all over the country," says Yendra. "It's fun when I go down to Great American Beer Festival in Denver. I can point out my boxes."
Jockey boxes start at about $1,000, custom furniture is typically $400 or more per piece, and full design-build projects start around $10,000.
The company handles all woodworking and welding in-house, and outsources sheet-metal, waterjet, and plasma-cutting work out to local shops.
With distribution only in Old Town Fort Collins, Yendra says, "It doesn’t make sense to have a truck." A little research by Yendra revealed a market void. "There was nothing out there that's a stable, fast, and efficient cargo bike that can handle any weight."
The Bootlegger is all of that and more. "I've hauled two kegs, and kegs weigh 165 pounds each," says Yendra. "I've got thousands of miles on my prototype Bootlegger."
He handcrafted a few Bootleggers for Equinox and other buyers before the project took a backseat to bar design-build work, but is currently looking for manufacturing partners to increase volume.
New technology has helped improve performance of the bikes in the meantime, says Yendra. "There's no way we could have built the Bootlegger we have now back in 2011."
He's now looking for contract manufacturers to cut, bend, and machine various parts. ""We quickly realized we can't do all of this in-house," explains Yendra. I'd like to keep everything local."
Favorite beers: "I try to stop myself from ordering Fort Collins beers," says Yendra. But it's a hard habit to break. He remembers looking at a beer menu on a recent trip to Hawaii. "Odell IPA? I'll take it. It's a challenge to branch out."
Adds Yendra: "I'm a big fan of everything Little Machine's done as well." Odell's St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale is another go-to. "It's my wife's favorite beer as well," he says.
Challenges: "Moving," says Yendra. YendraBuilt is in the process of consolidating from a shared industrial space in Fort Collins to his 3,000-square-foot shop on Yendra's property in Laporte. "Here we can work outside," says Yendra, noting that space is needed for parking in other uses outside the Fort Collins facility. "We're going to renovate this building here."
He's planning on raising the roof in Laporte to accommodate even bigger projects. "We like to do big stuff," he laughs. "Big stuff is cool."
Opportunities: With the move, YendraBuilt is shifting its focus from big design-build jobs to custom furniture until mid-2018. "I'm excited to focus on smaller custom furniture pieces for a little while," he says. "
He also sees the Bootlegger as a potential driver to growth.
Needs: Funding for the Bootlegger launch. Yendra is looking into crowdfunding and private investors to help finance the necessary parts inventory to scale up production.
But beyond that, he says he's happy with YendraBuilt's trajectory. "I feel I've got everything I need. It takes years to put that together."
With his Laporte shop and a longer-term vision to expand into a company-owned commercial space in the area, he adds, "For any business owner, the biggest opportunity is to own your own space."