Eat, Sleep, Work, and Be Married

How Three Local Couples Make Being Married and Owning a Business Together Work

Article by Amy Hallagan

Photography by Flourish Branding Studios At TPC Colorado Clubhouse

Originally published in Loveland & South Lifestyle

It’s one thing to love your spouse. It’s another thing to spend all of your time together because you choose to go into business with one another. That’s A. LOT. OF. TIME. TOGETHER. Do you think you could do it? If not, why not? If so, how? We interviewed three Loveland couples who are making it work to find out what it’s like to be in business together, what is the biggest challenge and how do you deal with it, and what’s the best part about this lifestyle.

Billie and Ron Colson

Billie and Ron Colson are each experienced business owners in their own right. They know what it takes to run a business, and the challenges of doing it all on your own. 

Billie, an artist and the owner of Independence Gallery in downtown Loveland, opened the co-op style gallery in 2007. Ron’s career was as a solopreneur running his own insurance business until his recent retirement. Although they've always had separate businesses, they are aware of each other's strengths, and have helped the other out in their respective business as needed.

The recent shift in Ron’s status has been an opportunity for Billie and Ron to join forces and work together at the gallery. Both agree the connection has been a helpful and positive arrangement. 

Ron is an artist in woodworking, so taking on the gallery’s framing service has been a great fit. The assurance that customers are in good hands for their framing needs has freed Billie to focus on her sweet spot—engaging with gallery artists and visitors. 

According to Ron, what makes the new set-up work so well is that they’ve agreed that Billie is the decision-maker for all things gallery, which provides clarity and eliminates confusion about who is taking the lead. Billie appreciates how Ron’s participation helps him see first hand all that is involved in running the gallery. Not only that, as Ron puts it, “You’ve got someone who will always be honest with you and who has your best interest at heart.”

The couple is gearing up for their annual, “65 Roses for Cystic Fibrosis” event, February 1-29, in support of their granddaughter who was born with cystic fibrosis. They have raised over $140,000 to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 

Billie and Ron will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this month - Happy Anniversary!

Independence Gallery | 233 E. 4th St, Loveland | IndependenceGallery.com | 970-669-0889

Christy and Kyle Coberly

“It’s all about balance,” say Christy and Kyle Coberly, co-owners of The Tranquil Spa, a full service day spa where guests experience all manner of relaxation services including massage, facials, advanced skin care, manicures and pedicures, and other body treatments. 

The pair opened their venture in 2019 as a one room massage business that has flourished exponentially over the past three years. The growth has been fantastic, but the increased workload means a lot of long hours and late nights to keep things running smoothly. 

How do they do it? They divide and conquer. Having clear roles in the business helps them achieve the balance they need for a successful outcome. They really respect each other so while they may not see eye to eye 100% of the time, they trust the decisions the other makes in his or her area of expertise. 

Accountability is another important rule of engagement; they keep each other on track in support of what’s best for them as a couple and for the business. 

Not to mention, even after eighteen years together, Christy and Kyle are still having fun. “Sometimes there are shenanigans in the office when I get the girls to gang up on Kyle!” says Christy. The example provides further evidence that balance - in this case between work and play - is key to successfully co-operating a business and nurturing a relationship.

The duo has known each other since preschool. Their long history together has helped them to understand each other very well. “We’re both so driven, and we make a great team,” says Christy. 

But above all else, the #1 factor that makes it work is their mutual respect. They are intentional about self-care and about giving each other their separate space when they need it, while also carving out time together and as a family.  

The Tranquil Spa | 295 E. 29th St, Suite 130, Loveland | TheTranquilSpa.com | 970-689-9811

Brandon and Lauren Harrington

This is not an act. Brandon and Lauren Harrington, founders of Harrington Arts Alliance, a community based, non-profit theater company, have a genuine partnership from the inside out. 

The thespian couple shares a passion and purpose for bringing creative and personal development opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds. The two are individuals, but their shared goals and aspirations pave the way for a thriving marriage and a robust business. 

Somewhere along their 26 year relationship history they started talking about a dream, and they brought it to fruition in Loveland. From the outset, Brandon and Lauren worked together on everything from setting up the business to preparing for and leading the shows. A theater business can be a lot of high-stress work, says Brandon, “but while the business is tricky, the relationship is not. We’re on the same page and have the same goals, drive, and dedication,” he says.

As the Harrington’s family has grown, Brandon and Lauren have revised their roles with Lauren taking the lead behind the scenes and Brandon leading in the business. To them, it’s all part of their ‘together’, and because it's all a family affair, one blends into the other. Even so, keeping family and business balanced is essential. “Lauren is so good at seeing the big picture, which helps us prioritize our family and our relationship”, Brandon says. 

They make it work through honest conversations, self-reflection, and by not quitting when times are stressful. 

Brandon and Lauren are also thankful for the support they receive from the community, and from extended family living in the area.

Brandon emphasized that what makes the most significant difference in their relationship and business working so well is patience. “Patience and understanding, and keeping the bigger picture in mind makes all the difference; and not to sound cheesy but - love.”

Harrington Arts Alliance | 575 N. Denver Ave, Loveland | HarringtonArtsAlliance.org | 970-568-8370

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